Sporting KC’s 2-0 loss to Saprissa last night means only two Major League Soccer teams remain in the chase for the 2015 CONCACAF Champions League crown.
Come late February, the Montreal Impact and DC United will compete in the quarterfinals, and we know their opponents.
DC earned the No. 1 seed. For that, it gets a very strong No. 8 side in Costa Rica’s Alajuelense. No. 4 seed Montreal faces No. 5 Pachuca (MEX) which means — you guessed it — an all-MLS game would be limited to a semifinal.
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On the other side, No. 2 Club America (MEX) gets No. 7 Saprisa (CRC), while No. 3 Herediano (CRC) will battle it out with No. 6 Olimpia (HON).
Three MLS clubs flamed out in the quarterfinals last season, as the tricky time of year continued to baffle the league. Real Salt Lake made a final in 2011, and are the only club to make it that far since the Champions Cup rebranded itself in 2008 (DC United won in 1998 and the Galaxy in 2000).
New York Red Bulls were placed in a group with Montreal, ensuring that only one would come out. Portland chose a weaker lineup for this week’s decider and was bounced, putting all their weight on gaining an MLS playoff spot this weekend by doing better against Dallas than Vancouver fares versus Colorado this weekend.
And it’ll be a weird game or games for Montreal, which will finish it without the services of the tournament’s second-leading scorer in Marco Di Vaio. He retires after this weekend’s MLS finale.
As for next season, Vancouver has already qualified as holders of the best record of any Canadian team in MLS, while DC United, Seattle and L.A. are also in the tournament. The remaining team will be Philadelphia — via the Open Cup final appearance — if the MLS Cup winner is neither of the aforementioned qualifiers.