The CONCACAF Champions League provided plenty of drama this week, but the action of the upcoming weekend should not be cast into the CCL’s shadows as four leagues will see match-ups up teams in the top two spots in their respective leagues while Major League Soccer clubs fight in the race of playoff berths as the season winds down.
In Honduras, where the top five clubs are separated by two points, league leading Platense is playing host to one of the four clubs level two points back when they travel Saturday to face Necaxa, which sits second based on goal differential. Two of the other second-place sides meet when Deportes Savio visits Real Espana the following day.
El Salvador also features a match-up between first and second as Firpo plays host to Isidro Metapan Sunday with a single point differentiating the two. In Panama, the marquee fixture may as well be a battle between first and second as league leading San Francisco is merely two points ahead of their host opponent Tauro, who are fifth in the league with three clubs sitting between the two. Cartagines hosts Barrio Mexico, leaders of Group A in Costa Rica, in a tilt of the group’s top two clubs, although they sit separated by 10 points.
The parity that has been a major theme throughout Central America is abundant in Guatemala, where the distance between leader Municipal and 10th place Malacateco is seven points. The difference between second and 10th is even tighter with nine clubs within just one game’s value of each other, making virtually every match a battle for second in the league while Municipal plays 11th place Penarol La Mesilla. The top match of the week though features the two clubs tied for second place with Juventud Retalteca hosting Marquense Sunday.
While there are no similar showdowns in Mexico, Monterrey remains unbeaten on the campaign with a 5-3-0 record in the Primera Division and a perfect four-game record in the Champions League. Looking to spoil that status Saturday will be host Queretaro, who shocked another CCL club, Santos Laguna, 5-2 just two weeks ago.
The US-based leagues are facing the end of their regular season campaigns. The lone match featuring direct confrontation of the league’s elite will occur in Los Angeles Friday evening when the Galaxy play host to the New York Red Bulls. LA currently leads the Western Conference and the league overall while New York is fourth overall and second in the Eastern Conference. The focus around the rest of the action around the league will be all about the race for playoff position with the Seattle Sounders current sitting in the eighth and final spot with Kansas City and CCL side Toronto FC within five points. Six points, in fact, separate sixth-place Colorado from Toronto FC in 10th. In USSF Division-2, all eight clubs have been determined as of Wednesday, leaving the final two weekends to sort out the seeding.
MIDWEEK MATCH RESULTS (TSB Pro Power Rankings in parenthesis)
CONCACAF Champions League
Tuesday (16) Columbus Crew 1-0 Santos Laguna (6)… (1) Cruz Azul 0-0 Toronto FC (21) – Wednesday (36) Arabe Unido 2-3 Real Salt Lake (3)… (2) Monterrey 3-2 Seattle Sounders (29)… (17) Marathon 2-1 Saprissa (49)… (93) FAS 0-0 Puerto Rico Islanders (34) – Thursday (50) Joe Public 2-3 Municipal (19)… (28) Olimpia 2-1 Toluca (4)
Wednesday MLS (5) FC Dallas 2-2 New England Revolution (37)… (30) Kansas City Wizards 4-3 Houston Dynamo (47)… USSF-D2 (86) Miami FC Blues 4-2 AC St Louis (83)
COMING UP AROUND CONCACAF
Friday, September 24
Major League Soccer: (11) New York Red Bulls @ Los Angeles Galaxy (13)
USSF Division-2: (77) NSC Minnesota Stars @ Tampa Bay Rowdies (87)… (51) Montreal Impact @ Vancouver Whitecaps (38)
Mexico: (1) Cruz Azul @ Necaxa (8)
Panama: (52) San Francisco @ Tauro 54)… (36) Arabe Unido @ Atletico Veraguense (NR)
Saturday, September 25
Major League Soccer: (44) Chivas USA @ Philadelphia Union (40)… (20) San Jose Earthquakes @ Toronto FC (21)… (47) Houston Dynamo @ DC United (59)… (16) Columbus Crew @ New England Revolution (37)… (29) Seattle Sounders @ Chicago Fire (26)… (5) FC Dallas @ Kansas City Wizards (30)… (24) Colorado Rapids @ Real Salt Lake (3)
USSF Division-2: (48) Rochester Rhinos @ Miami FC Blues (86)… (42) Portland Timbers @ Crystal Palace Baltimore (NR)… (34) Puerto Rico Islanders @ Carolina RailHawks (60)… (83) AC St Louis @ Austin Aztex (35)
Mexico: (2) Monterrey @ Queretaro (31)… (10) San Luis @ Jaguares (22)… (14) Chivas Guadalajara @ Tigres UANL (9)… (32) Estudiantes Tecos @ Pachuca (23)… (27) Puebla @ Atlas (46)
El Salvador: (91) Atletico Balboa @ Universidad de El Salvador (98)
Guatemala: (73) Mictlan @ Xelaju (NR)
Honduras: (17) Marathon @ Hispano (NR)… (43) Motagua @ Victoria (75)… (45) Platense @ Necaxa (39)
Panama: (99) Alianza @ Chorrillo (62)… (95) Plaza Amador @ Chepo (88)
Sunday, September 26
Mexico: (4) Toluca @ Morelia (18)… (33) Atlante @Pumas UNAM (15)… (6) Santos Laguna @ America (7)
Costa Rica: (25) Barrio Mexico @ Cartagines (92)… (89) Limon @ Perez Zeledon (100)… (49) Deportivo Saprissa @ Puntarenas (97)… (12) Alajuelense @ Santos de Guapiles (65)… (63) Herediano @ San Carlos (67)
El Salvador: (NR) Atletico Marte @ Aguila (69)… (82) Once Municipal @ FAS (93)… (41) Isidro Metapan @ Firpo (53)… (81) Vista Hermosa @ Alianza (66)
Guatemala: (55) Marquense @ Juventud Retalteca (56)… (NR) Penarol La Mesilla @ Municipal (19)… (58) Comunicaciones @ Xinabajul (79)… (94) Suchitepequez @ Heredia (64)… (NR) Universidad San Carlos @ Malacateco (80)
Honduras: (49) Deportes Savio @ Real Espana (57)… (76) Vida @ Olimpia (28)
Panama: (90) Atletico Chiriqui @ Sporting San Miguelito (70)
Monday, September 27 – Costa Rica (NR) Universidad de Costa Rica @ Brujas (78)