Major League Soccer’s quest for better regional standing, and for a long-sought place in the FIFA Club World Cup, begins anew on Tuesday.
Houston Dynamo is first up as CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal play begins, this one in Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Dynamo, Seattle and LA Galaxy are Major League Soccer’s three survivors in the regional club championship. MLS clubs remain on the hunt for that historic breakthrough, a CCL win that would give MLS a place in the FIFA Club World Cup in December.
Real Salt Lake has come closest to the small FIFA pot of gold, the Utah club’s bid for continental supremacy falling a goal short in 2011 as Mexico’s Montrerrey claimed the prize.
Seattle’s home-and-away series with Tigres (also based in Monterrey, not far south of the Texas border) begins Wednesday. The Galaxy begins its two-leg series with Costa Rica’s Herediano on Thursday. Full tournament details are here.
Dominic Kinnear’s Dynamo should be full of confidence following Sunday’s 2-0 opener in MLS play. Ricardo Clark was in on both goals as the U.S. World Cup 2010 midfielder began a bid to re-establish himself within Jurgen Klinsmann’s current pool.
Of slight concern to Houston perhaps is an additional day of rest for Santos. Los Guerreros last played on Friday, as American international Herculez Gomez scored twice in Santos’ 3-1 win on the road. That left the club 6th of 18 teams in the Liga MX Clausura.
Gomez is second in team scoring in league play with three goals and is tied for team leadership in assists, also with three.
Here is a great match breakdown of tonight’s contest from longtime Houston-based soccer writer and broadcaster Glenn Davis. Davis reckons the Dynamo needs more from Oscar Boniek Garcia and Brad Davis, needs to put pressure on former Mexican national team goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez (who has gone a bit wobbly) and tame Colombian playmaker Darwin Quintero.
There is more on Santos and the club’s current form here.