#CCLol. You know, it’s unfortunate that the trolling tweet heard ‘round the world by the LA Galaxy wasn’t replicated after a second consecutive double defeat night for MLS teams last night. Banter. We’ll leave it here for your reading pleasure anyways: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (or more accurately, ¯\_(?)_/¯).
Both quarterfinal legs are now in the books; Club América’s 3-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake’s 1-1 duel against Tigres (3-1 loss on aggregate) have officially set up the Liga MX final four that we anticipated yesterday.
In the first match of the night, the Sounders jumped out in front at the Azteca in the 41st minute, when an Osvaldo Alonso cross bounced off a tumbling Pablo Aguilar and into the back of the net. But, unfortunately for the away side, Darwin Quintero barely gave us enough time to finish writing our “GOOOOL” tweets before striking back with a glancing header off a super ball in from Rubens Sambueza in the 42nd.
Minutes later, it was Oribe Peralta’s turn to join in the fun, connecting with another cabezazo off a Sambueza cross one minute into stoppage time.
Andrés “El Rifle” Andrade finished the damn thing in the 50th.
For the América faithful among us:
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Real Salt Lake proved to be the most threatening MLS team in quarterfinal play. Joao Plata’s 22nd-minute goal cut Tigres’ aggregate lead to 2-1 and allowed the squad to press and pressure in an effort to find an equalizer. They almost found it in the 74th, but Javier Morales’ stutter-step penalty kick was saved. Then, André-Pierre Gignac sealed the deal in the 91st.
Safe to say that these results have MLS fans feeling some kinda way …
Over a decade-long run of Liga MX sides winning the CCL, something about this just doesn’t sit well.
So how do we alleviate the issue? Is it – as some suggest – a lack of pressure?
The pro/rel argument is a tired one, but there does seem to be some truth in a lack of pressure. In the same way that Arsene Wenger has been immortalized in his immovable position at the helm of Alexis’ Arsenal, there doesn’t appear to be a real fear – and thus, consequently, a real desire – to give a shit about CCL.
Is it – as others argue – a matter of schedule mismanagement?
There’s much to say here, the least of which is that this tweet is pretty spot on:
Yes, MLS’s schedule is hot garbage, but there’s no way in hell that that translates into dramatically changing a CONCACAF competition when the confederation has been doing its best to adhere to the international calendar. After his side’s 4-0 defeat to Santos, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena was quoted as saying the MLS is “the league that does not recognize the international calendar. Therefore, we get punished for it.” He further noted that scheduling has “been a complaint of ours for a number of years.”
Others have argued against the absurdity of MLS salary caps and crazy contracts, asserting that they weigh pretty heavily into the league’s overall development:
What’s true beyond reasonable doubt is that while Liga MX advances towards Copa Libertadores and Club World Cup glory, MLS stagnates. It’s hard to place blame on any one particular problem – given the depth of their difficulties – but one thing is for certain: to do well, you have to actually give a shit about the competition that you’re taking part in. Modifying schedules (including adding fear-inducing components), managing caps and contracts, and aligning team priorities with those of the fans are all elements that have the power to determine regional success and prominence.
This may be a simplification, but it’s everything to me in this moment: