Friday, April 5, 2013

2013 CONCACAF Champions League Confirms Liga MX's Superiority Over MLS

What happened Tuesday and Wednesday nights in the first legs of the semifinals of CONCACAF Champions League confirmed what many pundits already thought: Mexico's First Division, Liga MX, is a higher quality soccer league than MLS.

Two of the top Mexican clubs went in as visitors to play the Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy and each won their respective match.  Santos (Laguna), behind American-Hercules Gomez, won 1-0 versus Seattle.  Monterrey beat LA on a late-game winner from one of their stars, Aldo de Nigris, in his fifth season with the club.

In these kinds of international matches, the home team needs to get at least a tie.  A loss at home is a troubling result and a difficult obstacle to overcome in home and home aggregate scoring contests.

At this point, with the matches headed to Mexico for the second legs, it appears a rematch is in order for the Champions League Cup.  In 2012, Santos played Monterrey.  Monterrey won last year and is the Cup holder for two years running, as they beat Real Salt Lake, the year before, in 2011.  

What made the matches of this past week so much more significant was the fact that MLS rescheduled matches in this week for the Sounders and Galaxy for later in the season so they could prepare for Champions play.  

For the Quarterfinals of a couple weeks ago, the MLS schedule already precluded any regular season matches from getting in the way.  MLS wanted LA and Seattle to focus and be at their very best so that a team could advance and show the world how MLS continues to grow and where MLS is as a League.

The commissioner, Don Garber, has emphasized these Champions League matches at multiple press conferences.  There was no hiding how big of a deal they are.  

The second legs are yet to be played and still the MLS teams could pull through, but it is unlikely.  Generally, it is expected to be much harder to win on the road and the Mexican teams only need ties to advance.  

There is no way to compare the middle of the pack teams or the bottom teams of each league, so it may not be fair to say Liga MX is better than MLS.  But, at the top, it is fair to say.  

For the past few years, Seattle and LA have proven to be top commodities and representatives of MLS.  Seattle has won three of the last four US Open Cups and LA has won the last two MLS Cups.  Both compete at high levels and are considered with Sporting KC and San Jose to have the most consistency over the last few seasons.  

Monterrey and Santos are winning the battles for supremacy over two of the top American clubs, and thus proving the legitimacy of Liga MX as a Soccer league with higher quality teams at the top of their Division than MLS.

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1 comment:

  1. This will not last for long. Yes the Mexican teams have longer standing, yes they have long histories, established youth programs and solid player development. The one thing they do not have is the scale and the financial potential of MLS. MLS will catch up in terms of youth development and in the kind of salaries they can pay. MLS will soon begin poaching to players from Liga MX by offering salaries that the Mexican clubs cannot match. Parity is not far off.