CONCACAF held the draw for the knockout stages of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League today, and that picture you see above is the result.
The two MLS teams will be facing off against each other, with the winner going against whichever Central American power survives the Olimpia/Saprissa matchup. Meanwhile, on the other side of the bracket, all four Mexican teams will have to fight it out for a shot at the title.
There are a couple good things going on here.
- The first knockout leg is the worst one for MLS teams. It takes place about 1 month before the season starts again, so teams haven't really even had time to train together yet. By putting two MLS teams together, yes it guarantees one will get knocked out, but it also guarantees that one will be able to get in better form and hopefully compete in the next stage.
- No Mexican teams until the final. MLS teams have performed much better against the Mexican competition this year, but it's still abundantly clear which is the superior league. I'm not saying an MLS team couldn't beat a Mexican team in a home-and-away series, but now they don't even have to worry about that until the finals
First Leg (February 22-24)
Toluca (MEX) vs. Monterrey (MEX)
Cruz Azul (MEX) vs. Santos Laguna (MEX)
Columbus Crew (USA) vs. Real Salt Lake (USA)
Saprissa (CRC) vs. Olimpia (HON)
Second Leg (March 1-3)
Monterrey (MEX) vs. Toluca (MEX)
Santos Laguna (MEX) vs. Cruz Azul (MEX)
Real Salt Lake (USA) vs. Columbus Crew (USA)
Olimpia (HON) vs. Saprissa (CRC)
And yes, I am writing up my thoughts on the other two games this weekend (for all 4 of you out there who care) but suffice to say they can be summarized by "OMGWTFNYRB" and "Let's not start sucking each other's *popsicles* quite yet FC Dallas."