The soccer news starts with a reminder about the bracket for the knockout round of the 2019 Concacaf Champions League. MLS is the only league that can potentially take all of the semifinal slots. Given the history of the CCL, that might be an unlikely scenario but it’s possible and worth considering.
Sporting Kansas City showed in the last round that it’s certainly possible for an MLS team to dominate a Liga MX club home and away. They beat Toluca 5-0 on aggregate, and have to be the favorite in their quarterfinal series against Independiente. That’s also the only quarterfinal that isn’t MLS vs Liga MX.
Atlanta United needed multiple goals at home and got them to advance, a scenario that won’t favor them against Monterrey. Controlling the away leg at Estadio BBVA Bancomer is the challenge for the MLS champions. Given their performance in the 2-0 loss to DC, it’s difficult to give Atlanta the benefit of the doubt right now against the 2nd-place team in Liga MX. They need to show once and for all that they’re a contender in the Champions League, not just a participant. That opportunity comes on Wednesday night.
Houston won both of their legs against Guastatoya, which doesn’t tell us a whole lot about how they’ll handle Tigres. The degree of difficult jumps for the Dynamo, who face that old MLS problem of opening a series with a Liga MX club at home. There’s a handful of highlights for MLS team playing away legs in Mexico for a reason. Sporting KC might have already created those for the 2019 Champions League. Picking Houston against the top team in Liga MX is tough.
Then there’s the Red Bulls, who didn’t face much of a challenge in their round of 16 series with Atletico Pantoja. Santos Laguna is curently in 6th-place in the Clausura, tied on points with 5th-place Chivas and 7th-place Pachuca. All three of them are a point ahead of Club America, Puebla, and Lobos BUAP. That’s an indication of how fluid the 2019 Clausura should end up being. It’s an open question as to how good Santos Laguna is, facing a Red Bulls team that has the components to make a run in this tournament.
MLS may not be the favorites to take all four of the quarterfinal spots, but the Red Bulls could be a favorite for the title. Hedging on “a” vs “the” is the best any MLS team can hope for right now.
Also in the soccer nesws, Julian Green saw red in the 66th minute for Furth’s 1-0 loss at Hamburg. The game’s only goal came in the 85th minute. Furth is 12th in the 2.Bundesliga table.
Did Not Play: Jose Torres (Puebla 1 – Queretaro 0)
Pro Soccer USA’s Dylan Butler points to the weather advantage for the Red Bulls in the Champions League. ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle asks about other MLS players deserving of statues. American Soccer Now’s Brian Sciaretta reviews MLS week 1. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Tannenwald interviews MLS announcer Jon Champion. Yahoo’s Doug McIntyre on how USMNT players are doing in MLS and Europe.
The NY Times’ Rory Smith talks to Borussia Dortmund player Marco Reus. The Score’s Daniel Rouse stresses the importance of Football League clubs’ academies. The DFB has Germany coach Joachim Low announcing that he’ll no longer call up three veteran players. iNews’ Sam Cunningham asks when the Football Leaks will lead to action in England.
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