Will MLS Get the Better of Liga MX in This Year’s Champions League Knockout Round?
CONCACAF released the schedule for the quarterfinals of the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday. We already knew that there were going to be three match-ups between clubs from Major League Soccer and Liga MX, but now we know when those matches will take place.
The first leg of each of the three match-ups will take place in the United States starting off on Mar. 11 with the San Jose Earthquakes hosting Deportivo Toluca FC at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The other two matches will be held the next night starting with Sporting Kansas City hosting Cruz Azul FC at Sporting Park in Kansas City, KS followed by the Los Angeles Galaxy hosting Xolos de Tijuana at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. The return legs will all take place the following week in Mexico.
In the five previous editions of the CONCACAF Champions League, clubs from MLS and Liga MX have met in the knockout round nine times with MLS owning a record of 1-8 — the lone win came via the Seattle Sounders FC in the 2012-13 edition over Tigres UANL in the quarterfinal stage.
The biggest problem that the MLS clubs face is the timing of these matches as they will take place at the very beginning of their regular season. Liga MX clubs, though, will have played ten league matches by the time the first legs are played.
This year should be no different than the previous years. Though I do see the Galaxy as the best chance of an MLS team advancing to the quarterfinals, watch out for San Jose. They have the non-MLS/Liga MX tie on their half of the bracket and could make a run to final if they are able to get past their opposition.