The soccer news starts with what in fairness was the likeliest outcome. Sporting Kansas City exited the 2019 Concacaf Champions League at the semifinal stage, losing to Monterrey 5-2 on the night and 10-2 on aggregate.
Gerso opened the scoring for Sporting in the 6th minute at Children’s Mercy Park. Monterrey’s Rogelio Mori equalized on the night in the 20th with Gerso scoring again in the 29th. That was it for the Kansas City offense with Rodolfo Pizarro scoring for Monterrey in the 39th. Miguel Layun made it 3-2 on the night in the 61st with Aviles Hurtado scoring Monterrey’s fourth goal in the 82nd minute with Mori adding a fifth in stoppage time. Monterrey advances to play Tigers in the Champions League final.
"First off, you can't put yourself in the deficit that we did going down there," Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. "Number two is you have to be much tougher in that you don't give away soft goals like we did. We gave away soft goals there and we gave away soft goals here tonight. The first two were just ridiculous. When you do that and you're playing against a team that's good, they're going to score. It's simple."
It's far too easy to now fallback on the obvious story. Liga MX teams outperform MLS teams at Champions League level, regardless of how close an MLS team ma come to winning the competition. It's tough to argue with Liga MX's run of titles, even with their regular under performance at Club World Cup level.
Though the annual Club World Cup is now history, it's worth considering that. Liga MX teams dominating the Champions League hasn't meant the same at the Club World Cup. Losing to a random team every December was almost tradition for the Concacaf champion. Though Brazil is the only country outside of Europe to win the Club World Cup, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Japan, Morroco, and the UAE have all put clubs into the final. Not Mexico. It's almost as if they don't take a tournament scheduled at the end of their Apertura season all that seriously.
Concacaf's changes to the Champions League still have MLS in preseason and early season. It's directly into the knockout rounds with no meaningful games to shake out a roster or tactics. It's a built-in excuse for underachieving whether or not an MLS team chooses to lean on it. That takes the gloss off of a tournament that still needs all the help it can get.
The Guardian's Nick Miller previews Leeds United in their push for an automatic promotion place. The NY Times' Rory Smith's look at how the Premier League title race is playing out. FourFourTwo's Matt Ladson on what happened to Chelsea's rivalry with Liverpool.
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Photo courtesy of MLS