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2016-17 CCL

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3 minutes ago, TRM said:

And so it ends for another year in the CCL for Canadian teams. Onward to TFC and good luck to them for their run.

You've already lost hope in winning the V's Cup and the 1-off?

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There's still a long way to go for MLS to compete with Liga MX but Dallas showed it's possible. Even Vancouver entered the final half of the second leg within a goal of forcing extra time although nobody could argue that they deserved to go through. They were clearly outclassed.

Still, it was fun as a fan to play a side like that. I really like the tournament even if an MLS team is a longshot every year. I hope that will change one day. I'm not entirely sure why it isn't a bigger draw. For me, the two semifinal games were the most anticipated of the season thus far. Definitely the strongest opposition we could face.

As far as the crowd, I was disappointed at first but then I got to thinking about it...

When VW were entering MLS, the plan was to build a 15k seat stadium. At the time I recall thinking that even 15k consistently would be great. I was at the TFC game a couple weeks back and I recall the crowd being about the same as it was tonight. That was a weekend game against a quasi-rival in what seemed to be a winnable game.

Against Tigres, most everyone knew that there was little hope of coming out ahead 2-0 or 3-0. Also, ticket prices seemed unusually high for this one, especially in the areas where I saw most of the empty seats. IIRC, in those sideline areas it would have been around $200+ w/fees for a pair of tickets to see what would likely be a painful loss on a school night.

Anyway, long story long, the fact that 18-20k on a Wednesday night in Vancouver in the semi-final of the CCL is a disappointment shows at least some progress IMO. There's a long way to go, I'll grant you that, but let's not forget where we started from. 

 

 

 

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Major League Soccer may be improving, but so is Liga MX


FC Dallas bowed out of the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday at the hands of Liga MX side Pachuca.
It's a repetitive story: MLS teams can't seem to translate overall improvement on the field into CONCACAF Champions League victories over Liga MX sides.

We saw it again this week as Pachuca overcame FC Dallas and Tigres brushed past the Vancouver Whitecaps in the CCL semifinals to set up the seventh all-Mexican final in the last nine editions of CONCACAF's regional club tournament.

No, the calendar doesn't help MLS teams -- and won't even in the new format starting next year -- and the salary cap hampers the quality of squad depth. On top of that, the Mexican clubs situated at altitude present another problem, all of which has led to a record of just two wins in 48 official games for MLS sides in Mexico.

The initial suspicion from some in Mexico, perhaps, is that MLS isn't really improving and that the league's PR does a better job of driving the positive conversation surrounding MLS than the sporting side of the organization does of actually progressing things on the field.

But that wouldn't be true, as a large number of factors indicate. Anybody who has watched Atlanta United under Gerardo "Tata" Martino at the start of this season knows it's already a very competitive and exciting unit and FC Dallas' performance against Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal gave Liga MX fans a demonstration of the fresh, modern side it has become under Oscar Pareja. And if you ask people in the Mexican game about MLS, they clearly believe the league is on the up and is a welcome rival to Liga MX.

Vancouver Whitecaps
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But the gradual reeling in of Liga MX by MLS simply hasn't happened. A Liga MX team will win CONCACAF's continental club tournament for the 12th consecutive year later this month. Was FC Dallas really closer to winning the title than, say, Real Salt Lake in 2011 against Monterrey? Or was there any true sense that this would be MLS' year?

It didn't really seem like it. Granted, it may not be fair to base this rivalry exclusively on CCL action, but it's the best gauge we have and the stats don't leave much hanging in the balance -- Liga MX dominates.

But there's another element to the Liga MX vs. MLS CCL debate that doesn't get brought forward much in Spanish-language media south of the border or in the U.S. and Canada: An important factor behind MLS' failure to match Liga MX in CCL is the improvement of the Mexican league. The gradual opening up of foreigner spots and attention to youth production, combined with wealthy ownership, have propelled it forward.

The introduction of the 10/8 rule ahead of the 2016 Apertura has ramped up the internationalization of the Mexican league, enabling sides to attract more foreign talent. But it was a process that began earlier. Between 2003 and the 2014 Apertura, Liga MX teams could field five foreigners. Naturalized Mexicans had to have played five years consecutively in the country to qualify as a domestic player.

But when that was changed in 2014 to allow naturalized citizens -- many of whom could become Mexican after just two years -- to count as domestic players when they received their paperwork, the numbers began to creep up. From just over 130 foreigners registered for the 2015 Clausura, today there are over 200 foreigners in the 18-team league, with 10 non-homegrown (almost always foreign) players allowed in each matchday squad.

The highly paid mid-level Mexican (and naturalized Mexican) player has been squeezed out -- often to the second division -- as teams can simply buy in cheaper and often better foreigners, especially from South America. That helps explain why there was a total of 30 players from Liga MX called into CONMEBOL squads for World Cup qualifiers last month. To put that in perspective, at the 2006 World Cup there were only four Liga MX-based players involved for teams aside from Mexico.


Vancouver Whitecaps' Fredy Montero, left, reaches for the ball against Hugo Ayala of Tigres.
And the best Mexicans -- fueled by much-improved youth systems over the past 10 years -- are still tending to stay within the league, rather than move to Europe.

The average quality of player in Liga MX has therefore increased. Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps faced two current Argentina internationals, a France Euro 2016 veteran, a Peru national team starter, a Chile regular, one Colombia international and four regular Mexico squad members in that first leg of the CCL semi in Nuevo Leon. Tigres may be an exaggerated example and arguably one of the best sides Mexico's top division has ever seen, but even smaller Liga MX clubs have purchased wisely.

From a purely Liga MX perspective, the really unfortunate thing this year is that teams aren't involved in Copa Libertadores. The suspicion is that as Mexico's wealthy clubs have become increasingly attractive and attracted to South American players, the holy grail of winning the Libertadores was inching closer.

Liga MX, however, is far from perfect in a lot of ways. The "Pacto de Caballeros" (or "gentlemen's pact" between club owners to make rules as they see fit) and the "draft" are ugly. Tthere are too many negative episodes that make world headlines and paint Liga MX in a bad light and there are teams near the bottom of the league that have next to zero credibility.

For those reasons, it would take a bold person to suggest that Liga MX will still be ahead of MLS in terms of on-field quality 20 years down the line. The northern league reeks of ambition and superior organization, while Mexico's top division is nowhere near as apt at selling itself. The long term and more centralized structure of MLS will, in all likelihood, win out over Liga MX's disjointed organization and more individualistic clubs.

But at least in the short term, Liga MX is well positioned to keep poaching South America's better talent, continuing to produce young homegrown starlets and raising the bar even higher for MLS teams hoping to conquer the CONCACAF Champions League.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.

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With the new format Cdn teams will be spared from playing in a group stage and automatically qualify for the quarters. I am half half about this.

It's great for a Cdn club to jump straight to the 1/4 and saves on having to balance MLS games and CONCACAF games in the fall.

What I don't like is now Cdn clubs and some Cdn players will have fewer games and less exposure to the Central American atmosphere and experience and how we stack up against them. I can't stand seeing quarters vs another MLS US team. Doesn't bring anything new so I wouldn't blame VW fans for not wanting to see NYRB for example.  

 

* realized it's actually straight to round of 16 and not quarters. 

Edited by Moldy9

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4 minutes ago, Moldy9 said:

With the new format Cdn teams will be spared from playing in a group stage and automatically qualify for the quarters. I am half half about this.

It's great for a Cdn club to jump straight to the 1/4 and saves on having to balance MLS games and CONCACAF games in the fall.

What I don't like is now Cdn clubs and some Cdn players will have fewer games and less exposure to the Central American atmosphere and experience and how we stack up against them. I can't stand seeing quarters vs another MLS US team. Doesn't bring anything new so I wouldn't blame VW fans for not wanting to see NYRB for example.  

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought everyone started off in a Round of 16.

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7 minutes ago, Gopherbashi said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought everyone started off in a Round of 16.

The Central American and Caribbean minnows now have to fight each other for a spot in the round of 16 (apologies not quarters)  

 

IMG_5006.JPG

Edited by Moldy9

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I'm curious if there are any countries in UEFA Champions League that would have similarly lopsided results as Liga MX vs MLS. I think that would really shine a light on how far behind MLS is still. Unfortunately I doubt that information is readily available, and it would be a massive undertaking to figure it out.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convincing myself to try to figure this out, at least for the last 5 years or something.

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http://www.sportspromedia.com/news/twitter-to-stream-concacaf-champions-league-final

Twitter is to live stream this week’s Concacaf Champions League final between Mexican clubs Tigres UANL and CF Pachuca.

The social platform will provide English-language coverage of the match to its users across the United States and Canada, as well as all other countries and territories outside Latin America.

In line with Twitter’s other sports streaming deals, users will not have to be logged-in to a registered account to access the match coverage, which will also be preceded by a 30-minute pre-game show....

....In addition to streaming the match, Twitter will also provide live coverage of the knockout rounds and final of the ongoing Concacaf Under-17 Championship in Panama.

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10 hours ago, matty said:

http://www.sportspromedia.com/news/twitter-to-stream-concacaf-champions-league-final

Twitter is to live stream this week’s Concacaf Champions League final between Mexican clubs Tigres UANL and CF Pachuca.

The social platform will provide English-language coverage of the match to its users across the United States and Canada, as well as all other countries and territories outside Latin America.

In line with Twitter’s other sports streaming deals, users will not have to be logged-in to a registered account to access the match coverage, which will also be preceded by a 30-minute pre-game show....

....In addition to streaming the match, Twitter will also provide live coverage of the knockout rounds and final of the ongoing Concacaf Under-17 Championship in Panama.

Excuse my ignorance, but how does streaming on twitter even work? Where do we go to find it? A twitter user providing a link I understand, but I'm not sure how it works when twitter itself is doing the streaming.

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On 07/04/2017 at 9:48 AM, Kent said:

I'm curious if there are any countries in UEFA Champions League that would have similarly lopsided results as Liga MX vs MLS. I think that would really shine a light on how far behind MLS is still. Unfortunately I doubt that information is readily available, and it would be a massive undertaking to figure it out.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convincing myself to try to figure this out, at least for the last 5 years or something.

OK, so I've finally finished this. I'm not sure if anyone other than me is interested in this, but here is what I've found based on the last 5 completed Champions League seasons (including the current CCL since MLS involvement is done, but not including the current UEFA Champions League).

The points and PPG column are for the first country listed. For example, for the Germany v Russia row, Germany won all 8 games, so they have 24 points, and 3 points per game (PPG). The PPG Differential column is Germany's PPG vs Russia, minus Russia's PPG vs Germany. I've only posted half the data since it's redundant and just takes up a lot of space, so you won't see the Russia v Germany row (only Germany v Russia). I bolded Mexico vs MLS since the whole point of this exercise was to see how that match up compares to match ups in Europe. I also didn't include any European match ups that had fewer than 6 games in the last 5 years.

  Played Points PPG PPG Differential
Germany v Russia 8 24 3 3
Spain v Belarus 6 18 3 3
Germany v Belgium 6 14 2.333333 2
Germany v Greece 6 15 2.5 2
Spain v Turkey 6 15 2.5 2
Switzerland v England 6 14 2.333333 2
Italy v France 8 19 2.375 1.875
England v Portugal 10 23 2.3 1.8
Spain v Netherlands 10 23 2.3 1.8
England v Romania 6 15 2.5 1.75
Germany v Ukraine 6 12 2 1.5
England v Ukraine 8 15 1.875 1.125
Spain v France 16 31 1.9375 1.125
Mexico v MLS 32 61 1.90625 1.125
England v Russia 6 11 1.833333 1
Spain v Belgium 6 11 1.833333 1
Spain v Russia 10 18 1.8 0.9
England v France 14 25 1.785714 0.857143
Spain v Italy 25 44 1.76 0.84
Germany v Italy 16 27 1.6875 0.75
Germany v Portugal 8 14 1.75 0.75
Portugal v Ukraine 8 13 1.625 0.75
Italy v England 14 24 1.714286 0.642857
Germany v Spain 34 58 1.705882 0.588235
England v Germany 33 56 1.69697 0.545455
Germany v France 12 20 1.666667 0.5
Italy v Russia 6 10 1.666667 0.5
Portugal v France 6 10 1.666667 0.5
Russia v Portugal 12 20 1.666667 0.5
Spain v Ukraine 6 10 1.666667 0.5
Spain v England 22 35 1.590909 0.409091
Spain v Portugal 10 16 1.6 0.3
England v Greece 6 9 1.5 0
France v Greece 6 9 1.5 0
France v Russia 6 8 1.333333 0

So Mexico has dominated MLS just as much as England has dominated Ukraine, and Spain has dominated France. Mexico has done a bit better against MLS than England vs Russia, and Spain vs Belgium, and Spain vs Russia, but not quite as much as Germany vs Ukraine. The most dominating match up between 2 of the "Big 4" leagues is Spain vs Italy, at a 0.85 PPG differential, about 25% lower than the Mexico vs MLS match up if my math is correct.

For what it's worth, if you include all CCL years, the Mexico vs MLS PPG differential is 1.34, so MLS has been improving on their earlier results, although I should point out, Canadian teams have done worse against Mexican opposition in the last 5 years than they did in the first 4 years. 1.17 PPG differential for Mexico vs Canada all time, but 1.88 PPG differential for Mexico vs Canada in the last 5 years. I might post something a little bit more substantial than this on a fan post on Waking The Red later on.

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