Well as I sit here watching both Chelsea and Liverpool beating on their French opponents in the UEFA Champions League, I must point out that over here in North America the group stage of our own Champions League is starting tonight. After both the New England Revolution and Chivas USA were eliminated in qualifying the only MLS teams left are DC United and the Houston Dynamo. Hopefully this will turn out to be a repeat of the CONCACAF Gold cup with both reaching the semi-finals. However, this time around hopefully one of the teams will advance to the finals to have an MLS team win this innogural tournament.
Now lets take a look at each group:
Group A: DC United, Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica), Cruz Azul(Mexico), Marathon (Honduras)
Group B: Houston Dynamo, LA Firpo (El Savador), San Fransisco (Panama), UNAM Pumas (Mexico)
Group C: Atalante (Mexico), Olimpia (Honduras), Joe Public (TnT), Montreal Impact (Canada)
Group D: Santos Laguna (Mexico), CSD Municipal (Guatemala), Puerto Rico Islanders, Tauro (Panama)
Looking over the groups I would say that the toughest group is going to be Group A and I say that without any bias. I think that Group C would probably be just as hard as Group A and may even surpass it as the most difficult group. The biggest shockers I would say would be that a team from Canada's Lower Division and a team from USL1 have made it all the way to the group stage. Congrats to both the Montreal Impact and the Puerto Rico Islanders. On the other end, its surprising to me that CF Pachuca didn't even make it to the qualifiers after winning the Champion's Cup and Gold Cup earlier this year. The door is open for every team with no one having an absolute advantage over anyone else. Here is the schedule for our local teams this week.
DC United vs Deportivo Saprissa, 8 PM tonight. TV: FSC
Houston Dynamo vs LA Firpo, Postponed.
Montreal Impact vs Joe Public, 8 PM tomorrow.