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MLS Teams Fighting for CONCACAF Championship Lives This Week and Next

We’re still waiting on the first U.S. Major League Soccer team to win the CONCACAF Champions League. In 2000, the LA Galaxy was the last U.S.-based squad to win the title, but back then, the tournament was known as the CONCACAF Champions Cup and featured just eight clubs.

The 57th edition of the North American club championship featured 16 teams after the CONCACAF Champions League decided to scrap the league portion of its competition four years ago in favor of a four-month, two-legged knockout tournament with clubs across North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. This year, 2022, also marks a return to this format after the last two tournaments were forced to utilize a single-match final due to extraordinary pandemic-related scheduling. Current title holders Monterrey did not qualify for this year’s competition, so a new winner will be crowned.

Deportivo Saprissa celebrates its CONCACAF League champion trophy with teammates.
Deportivo Saprissa celebrates its CONCACAF League champion trophy after drawing 0-0 against Motagua at the Tegucigalpa National Stadium in 2019. Jose David Murillo/Wikimedia Commons

Three MLS teams remain out of the eight quarterfinal teams. The New England Revolution and Seattle Sounders are each scheduled for two home-in-home matches against tournament favorites (Mexico City’s Puma UNAM and Guanajuato’s Club León, respectively) and the New York City Football Club has an easier (on paper) throw down with Guatemala City’s Comunicaciones Football Club. Matches will kick off this week and next, with aggregate winners moving onto semifinal matches beginning April 5.

Only two U.S.-based clubs have made the final since the realignment, with Real Salt Lake (2011) and the Los Angeles Football Club (2020) both losing out by a single goal. Canadian sides Montreal (2015) and Toronto FC (2018) also fell short after making it all the way to the final.

By contrast, a Mexican club has won every single edition of the current Champions League format dating back to the 2008-2009 tournament. In fact, a Liga MX side has hoisted 16 straight titles. And right now, three Liga teams own the best odds of winning the tournament — Mexico City’s Cruz Azul and the aforementioned Puma UNAM and León.

Games launch at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8 with NYCFC hosting Comunicaciones at Rentschler Field in Hartford, Connecticut. Led by ​​defending MLS Golden Boot winner Valentin Castellanos, the Cityzens turned in a 6-0 aggregate thumping of Santos de Guapiles in February just over two months after winning MLS Cup 2021. They’ll look to continue this lopsided work before having to travel to play at Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores in Guatemala City next week.

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Following the first match will be live coverage from Lumen Field in Seattle at 11 p.m. EST where the Sounders will be seeking revenge for last year’s 3-2 loss in the Leagues Cup Final in Las Vegas. With a deeper squad than last year, the Rave Green holds its destiny in its hands. The squad features midfielder Cristian Roldan, Albert Rusnak, and veterans Nicolas Lodeiro and homegrown winger Jordan Morris, the latter two of which returned from injury in 2021. A resounding Seattle win would make it tough for León to rebound next week in Guanajuato.

On Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST, the New England Revolution will aim for a rude welcome to visiting Puma UNAM at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Revolution, who qualified by winning last season’s Supporters’ Shield, may be the best hope for the U.S. this year, especially with the recent addition of star forward Jozy Altidore. New England holds a 7-1-1 all-time record against Liga MX foes, but this is the Revs’ first meeting with a Mexican side in CCL action. New England needs to hold up its end of the bargain before traveling to play in dangerous territory at Estadio Olímpico Universitario in Mexico City next Wednesday.

To stream live matches in the U.S., tune into Fox Sports 1, TUDN, or try out a free trial of FuboTV.

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Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
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