Tuesday, November 28, 2006

MLS/MFL, CONCACAF Champions Cup, and Champions League

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, this title may seem like a big thing, but they are all combined into 1 thing. I will explain.

So recently, the blog, Logan's Revenge came out with a list of teams that are believed to be competing in the tournament to bring out as many people as possible. Those 4 MLS teams, DC United, LA Galaxy, FC Dallas, and Chicago Fire. The 4 Mexican teams that they will supposedly play against, are Chivas, Club America, Cruz Azul and Morelia. The teams would be divided into 2 groups. According to Logan's Revenge, next year there would be a qualifying process to qualify for the challenge.

Also recently, CONCACAF held their draw for the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champion's Cup. MLS Supporters Shield winner, DC United will play CD Olimpia of the Honduran league. MLS Cup winners, Houston Dynamo, play Costa Rican side, Puntarenas FC. To get to this point, the 2 MLS sides qualified through their awards in the MLS season. The 2 Mexican sides, Pachuca CF, the Clausura winner, and whoever
wins the Apertura. CD Olimpia and Puntarenas FC qualified by making it through the Central American qualifying bracket. Puntarenas originally made this group by taking second in last seasons Costa Rican league. CD Olimpia qualified by winning the Honduran leagues Clausura and Apertura last season. CD Olimpia and Puntarenas FC then went into the qualifying against teams from the other Central American leagues. Both teams made it through the first round, quarters, and semis to qualify for this seasons CONCACAF Champion's Cup.

Whichever team takes third out of the Central American group between
Deportivo Marquense of Guatemala and CD Victoria of Honduras. The final spot will go to the winner of the Caribbean qualifying group. Which starts with with 15 teams going for 1 spot in the CCC. After a group phase, the 4 group winners move onto semis, and finals to decide that spot.

With the current lack of interest in the CCC, and the establishment of the MLS/MFL tournament set up, CONCACAF looks to be reacting to this new tournament. In a presser they released that I heard about here, the federation is quoted as saying "
at the next Exco meeting, a proposal by the CONCACAF Secretariat to develop the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup™ into a larger “Champions’ League” style event, beginning in 2009."

So CONCACAF wants to make the Champions' Cup into a bigger event, great. Most people I know would love to have a Champions' League for CONCACAF, and currently the system is a little drab. Here's what I would do personally and this is my own opinion to get the teams for the tournament.

First, you'll want a group stage of I'd say 16 teams with the top 1 maybe 2, depending on how big you want the tournament, qualifying for the knock out round.

To get those 16 teams, you'd have some automatic qualifiers from the 2 biggest leagues in the region, Mexico and the US, give each of those 2 automatic spots, so we're up to 4. Also give 1 automatic qualifying spot to the champion of Costa Rica and Honduras who always seems to be competitive in CONCACAF competitions. So where do we get the other 10 spots from?

Like the Champions' League, I would have some qualifying rounds first, with the smaller leagues, and secondplace teams from leagues playing to qualify. You would have 20 of the second place and those from the smaller leagues face off in a first round play in game. Then take the remaining 10 teams, which would include the runners up in both series of the Mexican League, and the US Open Cup winner, the Canadian Champion, and have them play the 10 winners. The winners of those 10 games then qualify for the group stage with the 6 teams that automatically qualify.

So you're 16 spots would look like this:
  1. Mexican Clausura winner
  2. Mexican Apertura winner
  3. MLS Supporters Shield Winner
  4. MLS Cup Champion
  5. Cost Rica Champion
  6. Honduras Champion
  7. play in winner
  8. play in winner
  9. play in winner
  10. play in winner
  11. play in winner
  12. play in winner
  13. play in winner
  14. play in winner
  15. play in winner
  16. play in winner
There you'd have your 16 teams for the group stage. You'd then divide them into 4 pots, and have them drawn out for the group stage.

The one problem with this, is when do you start said tournament, as many of these countries run different schedules in when the league occurs. The best bet would be to have the 2 play in rounds in the fall sometime between Sept and Oct. The group stage would then start when the current quarterfinals start for the Champions' Cup.

My humble attempt at creating a Champions' League for CONCACAF.

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