Monday, November 1, 2010
CCL: MLS clubs will meet in quarterfinals
By Scott French
CONCACAF's Champions League draw Monday pitted Real Salt Lake and the Columbus Crew in one of the quarterfinal pairings and assured an all-Mexico semifinal -- but, for once, not an all-Mexico final.
Monterrey (Mexico) vs. Toluca (Mexico)
Santos Laguna (Mexico) vs. Cruz Azul (Mexico)
Real Salt Lake (MLS) vs. Columbus Crew (MLS)
Olimpia (Honduras) vs. Saprissa (Costa Rica)
The Crew, along with Toluca, Cruz Azul and Saprissa, will be home for the quarterfinal first leg Feb. 22-24. The second leg in the home-and-home, aggregate series will be played March 1-3, with semifinals slated for March 15-17 and April 5-7 and the title matchup April 19-21 and 26-28.
Mexican clubs have won every semifinal since the current format was introduced for the 2008-09 season -- Atlante beat Cruz Azul in the 2009 final and Pachuca beat Cruz Azul in this year's title game -- and also won the final three championships under the former format, two of them in all-Mexico finals.
Two MLS clubs have reached the quarterfinals but gone no further since the CCL was introduced. The Houston Dynamo lost to Atlante in the 2009 quarterfinals, and Columbus fell to Toluca in this year's knockout opener.
Five MLS clubs were in the current tournament. The Galaxy was eliminated in the preliminary round, and the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC failed to advance from the group stage.