Last night, MLS was collectively eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League in the quarterfinals. With Los Angeles Galaxy being knocked out the night before by Club Tijuana, all eyes turned to Sporting Kansas City and San Jose Earthquakes to bring the title home. Sadly, neither club was able to make it to the semifinals, although San Jose was close.
All three clubs had good starts during their first legs, but the second legs did not go as well. San Jose was the club closest to making it to the semifinals as it lost to Deportivo Toluca only on penalties. It was a tough loss for San Jose and for all MLS fans watching around the country.
Galaxy’s match against Club Tijuana was not much better; although they came into the second leg ready to pay for their mistakes, it was not enough to get them through the finals. Kansas City also suffered a devastating 5-1 loss to Cruz Azul. It seems the CONCACAF version of the Champions League always turns into a USA vs. Mexico battle, with Mexico usually coming out on top. Obviously, it’s not pitting national teams against each other, but when an MLS club loses in the Champions League, it’s because “U.S. soccer sucks,” which is not a fair assessment.
The majority of fans just do not care about Champions League. It typically ends up being a final between two Liga MX clubs. The Caribbean and Central Zone rarely make it past the group stage, and it seems to be a repetitive cycle. This year’s quarterfinals gave MLS a chance, but the league’s teams just could not beat out the Mexican clubs. It’s disheartening to fans trying to care about Champions League.
Well, there’s always next year. Kansas City will get a second chance at a Champions League title, and the New York Red Bulls, Portland Timbers and D.C. United will be right there with them.