- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 20, 2014
- 0 Comments
- 2013-14 CCL
What else can you say? Major League Soccer had three good chances to advance to the semifinals and eliminate all the remaining Mexican teams in the CONCACAF Champions League this week. Two sides went to Mexico with a slim lead while the third had a decent shot with their series tied at one goal apiece.
So what happened? The usual ugly play that we’ve seen time and time again out of MLS squads in Mexico when games are important. The LA Galaxy and Sporting KC, the leagues two best chances at advancing were blown out while San Jose lost in a heartbreaker on penalties.
Blame the schedule if you must. The three months of being off while all the rest of CONCACAF is in midseason is hardly an excuse anymore if you look at the level of talent that MLS teams have these days. Blame the money that each MLS sides is spending to compete against the teams south of the border. Blame the travel if you will, but in a way that is possibly the worst excuse of them all this time around.
I don’t see this as a level of play type of thing anymore between the MLS and Mexican teams. Sure they’re spending more money and have deeper talent than MLS sides do but the top level of talent isn’t that far off these days. To be honest, it is a night and day difference from five years ago too.
Sadly, I don’t see the bridge being gapped anytime soon. MLS teams are playing the waiting game at the moment to see exactly how much they can get out of this new reserve and academy systems that are both really young here. Once each team has the depth that can handle these situations like the Mexican sides have at the moment, teams will still struggle in these games.
Same with the money issue – as much as I hate that excuse – the league is going to have to open up this cap a good bit to really get teams where they should be for this competition. Hey, if you really do want to be one of the top leagues, they’re going to have to break the bank a little bit to do so.