CONCACAF Champions League Semi-Finals: Is an All-MLS Cup Final in the Cards?
Can An MLS Team Win The CONCACAF Champions League?
History is on the line on Tuesday night. Two MLS clubs have a chance at making the CONCACAF Finals. No MLS club has ever won the tournament and only Real Salt Lake in 2011, and the Montreal Impact in 2015 advanced to the Finals.
Both Major League Soccer clubs have a great chance to continue on in the tournament. Toronto takes a two-goal advantage to Mexico City, while New York’s home offence should help them rebound from a 1-0 loss last week to Chivas.
Toronto remains the favourite to win the entire tournament at +140, while the New York Red Bulls sit in fourth at +650. With their two-goal advantage, Toronto is more likely to advance to the Finals. However, New York has played as well, if not better than Toronto during the tournament.
Toronto should reach the Finals and should be a slight favourite over the winner between Chivas and New York. Their offensive talent and depth help them play differing styles of soccer, that have matched well against international clubs. Also, they were undefeated against the New York Red Bulls last season. Take the Toronto FC to win the tournament and give the MLS its first CONCACAF Champions League Winner ever.
New York Red Bulls vs. Guadalajara Chivas
Despite a subpar performance and a red card, the New York Red Bulls only lost 1-0 to Guadalajara on the road last week. The Red Bulls had not lost in their first four games of the tournament but took their lumps against a feisty Mexican club.
New York is favoured at home on Tuesday night. The MLS club has five home goals in their two home games in the tournament. Guadalajara has only two road goals in the tournament. They were shutout in their last road game (a 1-0 loss to Seattle in March).
Another thing going in favour of the Red Bulls is the suspension of Chivas captain Jair Pereira. Pereira was suspended two games for placing his hands on the throat of Red Bulls player Sean Davis. The Red Bulls are without Aurelien Collin (as he received a red card in the first leg). However, his importance in this game is debatable. His aggressive style did not work against Chivas, meaning a different approach may spell greater results on Tuesday.
The crowd will be mixed, as Chivas fans are known to live around the Red Bulls’ home. However, with colder weather affecting these Latin and South American teams, the Red Bulls can wear them down in the first half and play more aggressively late in the game. Take the New York Red Bulls to win and set the stage for an All-MLS CONCACAF Finals.
Toronto FC vs. America De Mexico
After a dominating performance on home soil, Toronto FC enters their game on Tuesday night in a very favourable position. Up two goals, Toronto needs to avoid a 2-0 loss or any loss by three goals or more, if they want to reach the CONCACAF Finals.
America De Mexico entered the tournament as the number one seed and certainly looked the part in the first two rounds. America scored 13 goals (with a +10-goal differential) on their way to the Semi-Finals. They did not seem nearly as strong against Toronto.
America made too many mistakes, setting up penalty kicks for Toronto, which led to the club giving up three goals, matching the total allowed in their first four games. America has the firepower to make up the differential, scoring five goals against Saprissa in the Round of 16. However, this Toronto club is much more dangerous than Saprissa.
The continual improvement of the MLS is becoming more apparent to the rest of the America leagues. Even if Toronto gives up a lead early, their depth makes them dangerous and capable of scoring late. Club Mexico will likely win, but not by enough to end Toronto’s run to the Finals.
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