CONCACAF Champions League
Montreal was the first Canadian club to make it to the CONCACAF Champions Cup finals and, more importantly, looked to be the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup since its inception in 1962.
On the other hand, Club America looked to win back-to-back titles and extend the nine-year Liga MX (Mexico) dominance of the tournament.
At the Olympic Stadium, in front of 61,000 plus, the Montreal Impact jumped out to an early lead after an open goal in the eighth minute. The second half was all Club America.
Scoring three goals in just 14 minutes the defending champions were en route to a 4-2 victory and their sixth title.
Considering that eight out of Montreal Impact starting 11 have been playing together for only three months and the team was missing key defensive players, including their suspended goalie, it was good run for the MLS team.
What is interesting is that the Impact had any impact at all during the tournament as they have been winless this MLS season and are currently in last place in the Eastern Conference.
However, Montreal’s success is a promising sign for MLS teams looking to make their own impression on the international scene.
The truth of the matter is that the Impact were defeated by a Club America team with a more talented, deeper roster and an unbalanced budget.
Club America’s salary is thought to be as high as $60 million annually versus Montreal’s $3.1 million.
Montreal’s salary is probably a bit skewed because of nuances in the MLS salary structure but, nevertheless, Montreal spends a fraction of what Club America does for its players.
The Liga MX teams are not held to salary cap restrictions like their MLS counterparts, which undeniably creates a competitive disadvantage.
Can MLS clubs thrive in these types of international tournaments considering their current salary cap restrictions?
We will get another chance to see when some top MLS teams play with the worlds best clubs at the ICC International Champions Cup this July.
International Champions Cup
The ICC (International Champions Cup) announced its 2015 schedule and venues last week. Mexico, Canada and the US will be the host countries for the event.
Some of Europe’s top clubs, including Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona, and Paris St. Germain, along with Europa League participants, Porto and Fiorentina, will all travel to North America to face MLS teams LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, San Jose Quakes as well as CONCACAF Champions League winners, Club America.
The ICC tournament is turning out to be a big deal here in the States. Last year the Manchester United vs. Real Madrid game posted the largest soccer crowd ever to attend a game in the United States.
A record 109,318 fans packed into the University of Michigan’s “Big House” to see Manchester United defeat Real Madrid.
Key MLS Match ups for first Round in July:
- New York Red Bulls host Chelsea and Porto at Red Bulls’ Arena.
- Galaxy host Liga MX’s Club America in the StubHub Center and Barcelona at the Rose Bowl.
- The San Jose Quakes host Club America and last year’s ICC winners, Manchester United (venue TBD).
Will the MLS teams continue their resent success in tournaments against International Powerhouses?