For another year Mexico’s La Liga MX and the United States’ MLS teams dominated the passage to the CONCACAF Champions League 2013-14 quarterfinals. Three Mexican teams, three MLS teams, and a team from Costa Rica and Panama advanced to the regional knock off stage.
The biggest surprise came on Tuesday when Costa Rica’s Alajuelense defeated Mexico’s Club America 1-0 at the Azteca stadium. This is the second year in a row that only three Mexican teams advance to the quarterfinals. It is also the second year in a row that three MLS teams advance to the knock off stage.
Panama’s Arabe Unido advanced in Group A on Thursday after defeating MLS side Houston Dynamo in Panama City. The Canaleros advanced with three wins and one loss in their group. A 0-0 draw in Trinidad & Tobago against W Connection cost the Dynamo the pass to the next stage.
SC Kansas City advanced in Group B after edging out Honduras’ Olimpia. Sporting managed 8 points in four games, not a great result but enough to put them into the playoffs. In this group Nicaragua’s Real Estelí played spoiler to Olimpia managing a draw, which cost the Hondurans the pass.
There was no competition for Mexico’s Cruz Azul in Group C. The cementeros rolled over their competition winning all four games. Costa Rica’s Herediano and Haiti’s Valencia were no match for the Copa MX and eight time Mexican league champion.
Club America was doing well in Group D. However, Coach Miguel “piojo” Herrera was recently chosen to lead the Mexican national team. Distractions in the last two weeks could have cost the eagles the opportunity to advance for the regional title. Alajuelense advances leaving the Mexican squad, and Panama’s San Miguelito out of the competition.
Goal differential was the key factor for MLS’s San Jose to advance. All three teams in Group E ended the stage with 6 points. Guatemala’s Heredia led the group and appeared to be the team to advance after leaving Canada’s Montreal Impact out. A 1-0 victory by San Jose put the MLS squad in the next stage.
Mexico’s Toluca FC easily passed in Group F. The red devils did a number on their opponents with results like 5-1 over Guatemala’s Comunicaciones at the Nemesio Diez, and 5-1 over Caledonia AIA in Trinidad & Tobago.
Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente continue their good pace in international play. The Aztec dogs conquered Group G with 10 points. Xolos defeated Honduran side CD Victoria, including a 6-1 at the Caliente stadium. Their only set back was a 1-1 against Luis Angel Firpo in El Salvador.
The Los Angeles Galaxy reached the knock off stage for the second year in a row. The MLS champions were on a perfect pace with three wins and looked like the U.S. team that would win the group with an undefeated record. However, the Galaxy was crushed 4-0 in their final game of group action against Isidro Metapan in El Salvador. Cartagines of Costa Rica pulled up the rear, behind Metapan on goal differential.
The eight teams will be seeded with the quarterfinal matches set to begin in March 2014.