2011/12 CONCACAF Champions League Set To Kickoff Tonight

2011/12 CONCACAF Champions League Set To Kickoff Tonight

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On July 26, 2011
  • 2011/12 CCL

Seattle hopes to be the next MLS team to make a deep run in the CCL. (Getty Images)

Back in April the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League ended in a thud for Major League Soccer. The one club (Real Salt Lake) with any dreams of having CCL glory come their way was dashed away as they fell to Mexican side Monterrey in the final match.

What is in the past is in the past though for the five MLS sides involved in the new round of the CCL, which is set to begin tonight. The Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas and Toronto FC all hope to begin their path into the group stage of the tournament to join fellow MLS sides, the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Colorado Rapids.

For the three sides this week, they’ll be favored even though a couple of them will be on the road for the first leg.

We won’t know until the group stage who is the real favorite in this tournament as the preliminary rounds usually don’t give enough context for such a thing. More than likely we can favor the Mexican sides as always and a couple other teams like ones from Costa Rica or Honduras.

Seattle Sounders (MLS/USA) at San Francisco (PAN)

First up is the Sounders trip to Panama. This one shouldn’t be a massive deal for the Sounders who’ve been off in league play for over a week now. They only had a friendly to deal with last week and should be in good shape for this one. The Sounders are the overwhelming favorite in this fixture.

Last year San Francisco was eliminated in this stage of the CCL by Mexican side Cruz Azul by an aggregate score of 9-2. They’ll likely be throwing everything they have at Seattle in this one so the Sounders have to be ready. Knowing how important the Sounders are making this tournament this season I’m sure Sigi Schmid will have his team ready to go.

  • July 26: at San Francisco, 8 p.m. (ET)
  • Aug. 3: at Seattle, 10 p.m.

FC Dallas (MLS/USA) at Alianza FC (ESA)

At first glance we thought this would be a massive challenge for the Toros but seeing how Alianza just lost their best striker for the competition, things look a little bit better for Dallas. The loss of Rodolfo Zelaya should help open things up for Dallas. Alianza still has a couple familiar faces to MLS fans as they currently have former D.C. United midfielder Cristian Castillo and former Chicago Fire defender Julio Martinez. Both flamed out fairly quickly in MLS if you recall.

Dallas should get a favorable result on the road to start out with if their defense shows up like they have this season in MLS. Getting at least a draw or better on the road is what Dallas will need to do but don’t expect them to blow Alianza out of the water in this preliminary round. It will stay close but Dallas should advance to the group stage.

  • July 28: at Alianza, 10 p.m.
  • Aug. 4: at Dallas, 8 p.m.

Toronto FC (MLS/CAN) vs. Real Esteli (NIC)

As bad as Toronto FC has been this season, their draw was pretty darn favorable. Real Esteli is a pretty weak team from Nicaragua, one that Toronto should get by. They have the home match first so Aron Winter’s team will need to do their best to run up the score with some of his newcomers like Danny Koevermans and Ryan Johnson.

I got a feeling however that this could be one of those results that Toronto squanders away like they did a couple years ago to Puerto Rico Islanders in the preliminary round.

  • July 27: at Toronto, 8 p.m.
  • Aug. 2: at Real Esteli, 10 p.m.