Wednesday, September 22, 2010

4 Outta 6 Ain't Bad; It's Actually Really Damn Good

Two very strong results for MLS teams tonight in CONCACAF Champions League play tonight. It's always nice to play against the top 2 teams in the current Mexican Apertura and come away with a win and a tie.

The early game saw Columbus Crew beat Santos Laguna 1-0 at home to move to the top of Group B with 9 points. A goal by Andres Mendoza in the 87th minute was exactly what the Crew needed. Four games in and Columbus has done what they needed to do at home, hold serve and earn 9 points. They still have games @ Municipal and @ Joe Public to go, but they control their destiny to get through this competition in first.

The Crew didn't put out their best lineup possible, resting Hesmer, Duka, Lenhart, Garey, and Schelotto, but still managed to create a lot of dangerous chances and really take the game to a Santos team currently sitting second in the Mexican Apertura. It was a far cry from their last two league matches which saw them beaten by a combined score of 7-1.

In the late game Toronto FC traveled down to Mexico City and tied Cruz Azul 0-0. Like I said in the weekend wrap-up though, don't get too excited TFC fans. Cruz Azul controlled most of the match but Toronto defended well enough to not allow a goal even though they didn't create a whole lot on the attack themselves.

Truthfully, this result is probably better for Real Salt Lake than for Toronto FC though. Unfortunately I think their 2-0 loss in Panama is going to doom TFC to missing out on the knock-out stage, even if they win out and get to 10 points. They're 9 goals behind Cruz Azul on goal differential right now, and I just don't see how they can make that up. This result does appear to make RSL the favorite to win the group, assuming they take care of business against Arabe Unido tomorrow night.

On a separate note, Cruz Azul hasn't looked that good in either home match against MLS teams. They did beat RSL 5-4 in an incredibly fun game to watch, but I think 3 (maybe 4) of their 5 goals took deflections off of RSL defenders to beat Nick Rimando. That's a lot of luck to eke out 3 points. This time around they outplayed Toronto, but couldn't find the back of the net, or really get great chances despite the possession advantage.

It would be pretty awesome if they lost to Arabe Unido at home since that would open the door for 2 MLS teams getting out of the group, but even with their so-so play I don't think that happens.

EDIT: Not shockingly, I'm an idiot. So it turns out first tie-breaker is head-to-head so Toronto actually has a decent chance of getting through if they can get to 10 points. They'll still need to beat RSL at BMO Field and have RSL to win at home (something their very good at lately) against Cruz Azul. But if Toronto and Cruz Azul both end on 10 points, Toronto gets the nod.

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