Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Champions League underway

I go back and forth on this brand spankin' new tournament.

The CONCACAF Champions League gets underway today for MLS teams as Chivas USA visits Tauro FC of Panama and New England visits Joe Public of Trinidad & Tobago.

Part of me is anxious to see how MLS teams do on the road against some regional competition while another part thinks this is a complete waste of time. I guess I could become a regular schizophrenic debating this topic with myself.

On some level, more games against more regional competition is a good thing. We can only truly know how good MLS is in this region by MLS teams matching up against regional competition. SuperLiga doesn't exactly fit the bill since all the games are played on American soil.

The Panamanian national team might not be much but how good is their league? Trinidad & Tobago has a decent national team but is their league up to par as well? We know how MLS teams struggle in Mexico - that has long been documented. But how do MLS teams fare against Central American and Caribbean foes? The occasional Champions Cup series has given us some mixed results as MLS teams have not done well against Costa Rican sides but have been able to get past Jamaican and Honduran teams.

On the other hand, is that really important? Is it necessary to dedicate much of the latter portion of the season on the Champions League? We're talking about six midweek games in September and October, games that could place a heavy toll on the participating MLS teams. Will MLS teams even be able to place their full attention on the Champions League with the league slate bearing down on each club?

Ultimately though I... uh, well, I can't decide. I wasn't in favor of it at first just because it didn't seem necessary but I can't say I'm not intrigued to watch the games tonight and that I won't be interested when the group stage gets here, regardless if Chivas USA and/or New England get through.

What say you?


Anonymous said...

the way i see it if we don't support the champions league here then we shouldn't in any other part of the world. just because the teams are not as good as europe it doesn't mean this region should not have its equal tournament. it then turns into the usual eurosnob crap. they should just pick a format and the calendar dates and stick with it.

Ronald Neef said...

Big fan of your work. I agree with anonymous, however. If we don't support something in it's embryonic stage it will never develop into the equal of other, more established tournaments. Support and interest will cause the cream to rise to the top.

Rudy said...

I think it could work out well, but the league desperately needs to expand the rosters/salary cap for MLS teams to survive the grueling schedule congestion.

CACuzcatlan said...

Teams participating in this tournament should turn down invites to SuperLiga. This is definitely the more important one and has a ticket to the Club World Cup.

starinyourfire said...

concacaf needs this showcase, MLS needs to display that they can hang with other teams in the region especially in mexico. if the league wants to be respected worldwide their teams have to win to get them that respect.

other than the obvious pitfalls concerning rosters and salary cap, it's a meaningful competition that the league should take seriously, superliga is a joke in terms of the payout which for me has overshadowed the play on the field and i really do hope that MLS teams who are involved with that tournament in the future get what is right for them.

hardware is hardware and MLS teams need to add hardware to their trophy cases so in the future you can have those storied franchises that people from other countries can get behind and cheer from far away.

East River said...

One things for sure something has got to give its either Superliga or Concacaf Champions League. I say Superliga goes as Champions League has home and away series and the teams get exposed to more teams in the group stage.

Another point, all tourneys must start somewhere, they all seem irrelevant in the beginning.