Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's CONCACAF Champions League time again

Seems like just yesterday we were watching the Jason Kreis-is-our-savior train spin down the tubes. And yet here we are on the ledge ready to plunge into the group stages yet again next week. Eat your heart out, Europe.

Anyway, the full sked came out today for the five MLS teams that made it through. That's an impressive five out of five for those of you keeping score, polished off through two-legged qualification victories by a somewhat surprising Toronto FC and a not at all surprising FC Dallas. No RSL to uphold the burgeoning virtues of MLS' progress, either. Which is maybe a good thing this year.

Some early games to watch for...

- FC Dallas vs. Pumas, Aug. 17: FCD descends upon the madness that is Mexico City for their first group match next Wednesday. Pumas won this competition three times in its previous format, are the Clausura 2011 champs, and I didn't know this, but they originally drew from a pool of 300,000 college kids... from one school. But right, Mexico City and altitude and all that.

- Seattle vs. Monterrey, Aug. 23: The Sounders have the unenviable task of facing defending champs Monterrey in the group stage for the second straight year. Seattle was embarrassed in the CCL last year, winning one and losing five with a goal differential of minus-5 in group. They'll know where they stand this year mighty quick, methinks.

- LA Galaxy vs. Montagua, Aug 16: The Galaxy are embroiled in the hunt for the Supporter's Shield and are in the midst of what appears to be a legitimate MLS Cup run. How seriously they take their opener against this Honduran side will tell us a lot about how much credence Bruce Arena gives the competition this year. And which goal is more important.

- Will Parchman

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