Yesterday, the MLS had two successful matches in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. Los Angeles Galaxy beat Club Tijuana 1-0, and likewise Sporting Kansas City beat Cruz Azul 1-0. Although these are the results the clubs were hoping for, it is far from over yet. Sporting now has the upper hand with the extra away point, but Galaxy has to beat Tijuana at home, which poses a bigger challenge.
I do think both clubs stand a fair chance against their current Mexican rivals, but it’s a little too early to claim victory. Both clubs have a battle ahead of them if they wish to bring the title home, as do the San Jose Earthquakes, who are also still in the quarterfinals and tied Deportivo Toluca 1-1 during an away match. An MLS club has not won the tournament since 2000, when the competition was known as the Champions Cup instead of the Champions League.
Luckily, Galaxy was the club to win in 2000, and maybe they will be the club to win it again. They made it to the semifinals last year, alongside the Seattle Sounders, and I think they may make it to the semis this year. Last night’s match was seen as sloppy with a lot of missed chances, but with the help of Jaime Penedo, they were able to hold on to their lead.
Clubs still in the running for the Champions League title have the week off regular league play to be able to train for the matches. I hope Galaxy takes advantage of this time, because it was hard to get a goal by Tijuana, and it will be even harder to do so at their home.
Regardless of who wins, it will be a tough competition, but bringing home the title would mean a lot to both the club that succeeds, and to the MLS as a whole.