CCL Week 1: The MLS vs LigaMX gap
When talking Soccer in the US and referring to Mexico, the phrase “The gap is closing” many times comes up. Meaning the MLS is catching up to the Mexican League, or MLS teams are beating LigaMX teams and challenging them more than in the past. Well at least after weak one of the CONCACAF Champions League tournament, this does not seem to be the case. There still seems to be a gap of sorts.
Stats for this week are that 2 LigaMX and 2 MLS teams played at home. The MLS home teams were able to obtain two ties (0-0 and 2-2). The LigaMX home teams were able to both obtain wins (2-0, 2-0). LigaMX teams defended their home turf advantage. The return leg will now decide who goes through to the semifinals.
Last night Tigres played Real Salt Lake in Monterrey. It seemed like a typical away game for an MLS team as Real Salt Lake seemed to play defensive and Tigres could not find the net until the late stages of the game. Damian Alvarez and Gignac had cold games and missed some good opportunities to score. “La Palmera” Rivas participated in the two goals, scoring one and providing the opportunity for Damm on the 2nd.
The final and big game of the night was to be the LA Galaxy vs Santos Laguna. This game took place in front of a home crowd for the Galaxy. Giovanni Dos Santos needed to prove his worth and give Juan Carlos Osorio reasons to call him up to the National Team. It didn’t play out as expected. The game resulted in a 0-0 tie. There were some heated moments during the game, some fouls, some acting and even some insults. Santos goalkeeper Marchesin, apparently insulted Gio by calling him “borracho” and making gestures with his hands as if he was drinking a beer. This of course is in reference to previous occasions where Gio was recorded drunk in a car, while partying.
Y que Marchesín le dice borracho a Gio dos Santos pic.twitter.com/yIsKn91MpH
— Chutinho (@chutinho01) February 25, 2016
Giovanni showed passion and urgency, but could not lift his team. Nor could his star teammates, Steven Gerard, Ashley Cole, Nigel De Jong or Robbie Keane. Juan Carlos Osorio was surely watching Gio in this game to see how his form would be. Luckily it is still early in the MLS Season.
So back to “the gap” talk. My impression is that the gap is still there. Sure the MLS is in preseason form, however to me the MLS seemed more dangerous to LigaMX teams in years past. MLS teams have even beat LigaMX teams in Mexico, which took them a while to do, but they did it. This year, I predict all four MLS teams will fail on the return leg to come back and we will see an all Mexican semifinals.