I don’t like the Leagues Cup. Putting the entire MLS season on hold for a competition designed to do nothing more than put money into the pockets of owners is not an idea I care for in the least. But I was quite pleased when the Crew qualified for the Concacaf Champions Cup (formerly the Concacaf Champions League) Saturday night, because that is a competition I can get behind.
Ok, So What Is It?
Think UEFA Champions League for teams in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The tournament is made up of league champions, cup winners, and other qualifiers from the from the various countries that comprise the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football or CONCACAF.
In 2024, the tournament expands from 16 to 27 teams. Play will begin the first weekend in February and continue through until the June 2nd championship game. We will find out who, where, and when the Crew is playing on December 13th when the draw occurs. Seattle is the defending champion, although they have not yet qualified for next year’s competition.
What’s The Fascination?
I like seeing the Crew in this tournament because it is a best-on-best situation. The Leagues Cup includes every team from MLS and Liga MX. While it is very old and has its level of prestige, the U.S. Open Cup includes every team from professional leagues that are sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation. It doesn’t matter how good or bad a team is, they get into these tournaments. Not so for the Concacaf Champions Cup. You have to qualify to get there. The idea of the Crew potentially squaring off against a champion from another country is very appealing to me. More so than the others, this competition really means something and that’s why I can get behind it.
If the Crew draws a home game for early February, I hope it’s against a team from a warm-weather area. Those guys will be drawing straws to see who has to play.