CONCACAF Champions League Title Race Leaves Much to Be Desired

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

MLS bowed out of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) after the quarterfinals, which left Liga MX clubs to fight amongst each other for the title. Liga MX clubs are often the ones left battling for the championship regardless of how hard MLS clubs try to change that. I’d love to see MLS win CCL with more frequency; I would have rooted for the San Jose Earthquakes to win, even though it is my club’s MLS rival.

This year’s CCL final was between Cruz Azul and Toluca, which are currently the top two clubs in the Liga MX table; it was truly either club’s game. Cruz Azul’s striker Mariano Pavone scored the only goal of the final for his club, but it was all it needed to claim its victory. It was crowned champions even though both matches ended in a draw because of the away goal rule.

Although some fans debate the fairness in the rule, I am a strong supporter. It has to be a lot harder to score in the stadium of your opponents with its fans rooting against you the entire time. Also, the opposing club has the same chance to do the same in your stadium; so, neither club has an advantage either way.

Although MLS and many other leagues from North and Central America qualify for CCL, it usually seems to boil down to a final showdown between two Liga MX clubs. Also, the clubs are often top clubs from the league — like this year’s finalists Cruz Azul and Toluca.

I think this is what makes CCL boring compared to the UEFA Champions League (UCL). MLS is the only other league that can compete with Liga MX, and it often fails to do well. This is probably why fans tend to sit these matches out and don’t feel they are important. I really wish other leagues were on equal playing ground in CCL like La Liga, EPL and Bundesliga are in UCL. It would make things a lot more interesting.

However, I honestly don’t think any league, outside of the MLS, has the means to get on equal playing ground with Liga MX, at least not for a very long time.

Jackee Arce is a writer for RantSports.comFollow her on Twitter @knackeredwriter, “like” her on Facebook or add her to your network on Google.

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  • Matthew

    You ignore the Costa Rican teams that have also done well in CONCACAF. Alajuelense and Saprissa are two clubs I know that are on par with MLS. MLS has recently only done good. For a while there Central American clubs were just as good. Competition is needed to make this competition better. They can start by giving less berths to the Caribbean as a whole and possibly more to Honduras and Costa Rica. They can also give a spot to the defending champion or a fifth spot to Liga MX. It wouldn’t be unfair, consider that MLS usually gets 5 (Canada plus USA). Then instead of having MLS US teams avoid Liga MX teams, you could have one or two groups be mixed creating competition at the group stage. Until then Copa Libertadores is the best Liga MX is gonna get as far as competition goes.