Editorial (March 13, 2018) – This week, three MLS teams will take on Liga MX opponents in second leg match ups in the CONCACAF Champions League. With the opportunity to knock out three Mexican clubs in two days, this week could make MLS CCL history.
Vanquishing LMX Demons: New York Redbulls, Seattle Sounders, and Toronto FC Could Make MLS CCL History This Week
New York Red Bulls will host Club Tijuana tonight. Later, Toronto FC play at Tigures UNAL and on Wednesday Seattle Sounders FC travel to Chivas Guadalajara. All three teams won their leg one matches and are in position to advance. MLS fans have seen this script before however, with an MLS team crumbling in the second leg to Mexican opposition.
With that, let’s take a look each of the match ups and see where the MLS clubs stand:
New York Red Bulls Hosting Xolos:
The Red Bulls got a huge 2-0 win in leg one and on the road to boot. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored both goals and New York walked out with one of the best road results in CCL history for an MLS club in Mexico. After a weekend match that had a young lineup smash Portland Timbers 4-0, New York are rested and revved up. Expect them to come out flying. If they get just one goal, Xolos will have to score four to advance. Because of this and being at home, they’ve got the best odds of any of these teams to advance.
Toronto at Tigres:
This is the most interesting match up of the quarterfinals. Toronto FC are coming off the first domestic treble in league history. Tigres are regarded as one of the best teams in the hemisphere. The first leg didn’t disappoint as Toronto came away with a 2-1 game in which they were the better team over the 90 minutes. A Jonathan Osorio back heel goal in the final minutes gave the Reds the win. Toronto are in for a dog fight heading down to Monterrey, as Tigres will be fresh and focuses in a hostile environment. This will be a massive test for Greg Vanney and company.
Seattle at Chivas:
Thanks to a late goal by Clint Dempsey, the Sounders are heading down to Guadalajara with a 1-0 aggregate advantage. Seattle were by far the better team in the first leg, creating chances in bunches and nearly scoring multiple goals. Lack of finishing hurt them though. Chivas are on a downturn right now. They’re probably the weakest of these three Mexican sides. On the other hand, they don’t have much to play for in league, so they’ll be able to prioritize CCL. Chivas fans can be fickle, so if Seattle can get off to a good start, the crowd could turn on the home side, giving the Sounders a huge advantage.
Last Words: Predictions
Call me way over optimistic, but I think all three MLS teams have a good chance to advance. New York will get by easily, even if they play the score. I also think one of Seattle and Toronto advance, possibly needing extra time. Both have to play on the road with only a one goal aggregate lead. If Tigres just win 1-0, Toronto will be out. Still, two MLS teams vanquishing LMX opponents will be a huge step up for MLS CCL history.