It's gotta be better than the SuperLiga, right? AS the CONCACAF Champions League kicks off tomorrow for Major League Soccer's clubs, it's worth remembering the point of that quickly forgotten tournament. The SuperLiga was intended to give an MLS audience home games that counted against Mexican clubs. Considering who remains the biggest obstacle for MLS winning a Champions League title, it's the same basic concept. MLS has to beat Mexican clubs in a tournament setting.
The rebranded Liga MX that used to be the Mexican Primera Division has changed nothing when it comes to the disparity between leagues. The influx of designated players we've seen over the last couple of weeks with multiple MLS clubs likely won't either. Mexico's clubs - or at least the ones qualifying for the Champions League - spend on depth and have a stronger developmental system to begin with in a country where soccer is the top professional sport.
MLS's biggest spender this season didn't qualify for the tournament, so New York's latest revamp waits. Los Angeles might not have the record this season, but they do have the berth and a relatively easy group. With the look of a team pulling together at the right moment, the Galaxy is once again the vanguard for MLS.
Is that slightly insulting to Real Salt Lake, a team that's made it to a Champions League final? Maybe, but there's no longer the opportunity for CONCACAF to stack the knockout stages by putting all the Mexican clubs in one half of the bracket like they did in 2010-11, the only year we haven't had an all-Mexico final in the CCL era.
What changes this year? The eight clubs that advance to the knockout stage are seeded based on group stage points. It's a way to make every game count along with mixing up the seeding for the quarterfinal round. In theory and practice, nothing is guaranteed and MLS clubs could be facing Liga MX teams in the quarterfinals. Though the potential for MLS teams once again losing to Mexican teams in a tournament setting looms large, this is the fairest tournament in the CONCACAF Champions League's short history. Whether or not that gets more MLS or Liga MX fans on board is a different question.
Corner Rating: (with 1 CCL interest as usual and 11 with this the breakthrough season for the tournament) 6.
Last Week's Corner: Blame it on the Olympics, but the transfer churn is about where it was last week. Still, we're waiting for the August pay outs. Rating stays 10.