CONCACAF Champions League returned with a bang last month, as the 16 teams in the competition got things started. Of the eight teams that advanced, four are from MLS, three are from Liga MX in Mexico, and there is one team left from Liga Nacional in Guatemala.
Oddly enough, none of the MLS teams are paired up to face one another, which should make things interesting when the first legs of the quarterfinals are played on March 8 and 9. Let’s take a closer look at the four quarterfinal matchups in the CONCACAF CL so you can make your bets against the CONCACAF Champions League odds.
CONCACAF Champions League Quarter Final Round Analysis
Seattle Sounders vs Leon
The Sounders have high hopes for this competition, although they’ve been a little unconvincing early in the season. They settled for a scoreless draw in the first leg of the Round of 16 against what should have been an overmatched Motagua. Of course, Seattle won the second leg 5-0, getting five goals from five different players.
However, the Sounders turned around and lost their MLS opener, so they’ve been a little slow out of the gate. Seattle has to hope that getting the first round against Leon can help them get off on the right foot.
In fairness, Leon hasn’t exactly jumped out to the top of the Liga MX standings early in the season. Nobody but Victor Davila has been able to find the back of the net during the first part of the season.
On the bright side, Leon has been tough to break down defensively, so perhaps they can keep the Sounders contained and force a couple of low-scoring matches that will give them a chance to advance.
New York City FC vs Comunicaciones
The reigning MLS champs had no problem with Costa Rican side Santos in the first leg, and Comunicaciones gives them another favorable matchup in the quarterfinals.
However, the Pigeons have done a lot of traveling during the early part of the season, so it’s fair to wonder if they could get a little tired, especially with two road games on the West Coast early in the MLS season.
Plus, NYCFC can’t overlook Comunicaciones after the Guatemalan side knocked off the Colorado Rapids in the last round. Los Cremas was able to get a 1-0 win at home and ultimately force a penalty shoot-out against the Rapids. That win should give them a huge confidence boost heading into the quarterfinals, even against the MLS champs.
New England Revolution vs Pumas UNAM
After failing to win MLS Cup last season, the Revs can perhaps make up for it by winning the Champions League. In some ways, New England has added talent since last season, bringing in Sebastian Lletget and Cozy Altidore. But they also lost Talon Buchanan, so they are still trying to figure out how the pieces fit together.
On the other side, UNAM has been one of the best defensive teams in Liga MX early in the season. The Cougars haven’t quite put things together on the attacking end, settling for draws in domestic action recently. But they surely won’t be intimidated by New England’s attack.
Cruz Azul vs CF Montreal
Cruz Azul is arguably the favorite to win the Champions League at this point. Despite taking a couple of losses early in the Liga MX season, La Maquina has the pieces to make a run. The Mexican side also bested a Canadian side in the last round and shouldn’t be too bothered by the trip to Montreal in mid-March.
It’s not as if Montreal was overly convincing in the last round, losing the first leg to Santos Laguna before winning the second leg 3-0. Montreal also faltered in the squad’s MLS opener and will need to step it up to get past Cruz Azul.