CCL Preview: MLS avoids Liga MX, for Now

CCL Concacaf Champions League

by Ryan Brister

After a lengthy winter break, the CONCACAF Champions League resumes with the quarterfinals this week. In the final year of this format, there is so far a dearth of the prized MLS vs. Liga MX matchups that the confederation has sought to create. That should be good news for Major League Soccer clubs who want to advance further.

These are the first legs of two-legged, home-and-away series. The return matches will be played next week (all times Eastern).

Saprissa vs. Pachuca, Tuesday, 9 p.m.

Saprissa, the sole Costa Rican team to reach the quarterfinals, will try to take down Liga MX’s Pachuca starting Tuesday night. Saprissa won the winter tournament in Costa Rica, and the “monster’s cave” has been a formidable place for any team to visit.

New York Red Bulls vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, Wednesday, 8 p.m.

At least one MLS club will reach the semifinals this year. This is uncharted territory for both New York and Vancouver, neither of which has made  the quarterfinals before. The Whitecaps will not have newly signed Fredy Montero at their disposal, as he continues to get into game shape.

Tigres vs. Pumas, Wednesday, 10 p.m.

It’s an all-Mexican quarterfinal as Tigres and Pumas fight for a berth in the semis. In domestic play, Tigres are the reigning champions of Liga MX’s Apertura, but are sit four points behind Pumas so far this spring.

FC Dallas vs. Arabe Unido, Thursday,t 8 p.m.

Dallas will host Panamanian side Arabe Unido in their first leg on Thursday. The core of Dallas’ double-winning side has remained intact from 2016, with the major addition of Paraguayan forward Cristian Colman as a designated player. A true No. 9 may be just what the doctor ordered for Dallas, as it tries to break down their Panamanian opponents.

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