CCL 2012-13 Qualifiers: And We’re Off!

Posted on June 16, 2011 5:12 pm

Yes, we have yet to complete the field for the upcoming Champions League and the United States is already well underway getting teams into next year’s competition. It should be pointed out, though, that this brand of “exceptionalism” stems from practical concerns rather than ideology. The best example of this was the first leg of the CCL quarterfinal series between the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake – that’s what winter games in the Northern US and Canada would look like if MLS were to switch to a fall-spring calendar (the exception, Montreal’s CCL attendance record-setter against Santos Laguna, was played in a domed stadium).

In Major League Soccer itself, we are a long way away from following the chase for the Supporter’s Shield, much less discovering which American teams will make it to the playoffs (no, I’m not ruling out the Canadian sides, but for The Regional Review’s purposes their MLS playoff chase does not matter). The US Open Cup will receive early mention here, however, now that all the remaining teams in the tournament have been drawn into its bracket (hopefully it appears for you; for some reason, I cannot see it today).

The qualifying tournaments for every league in the US, with the notable exception of the NASL, have finished up, and the first round of the Open Cup “proper” was played last Tuesday. You can find the schedule for the second round (next Tuesday) here and that of the Round of 16 (including the remaining MLS teams) here. The most intriguing matchups in the latter stage are the potential showdown between the Seattle Sounders and their own farm team, the Kitsap Pumas; the guaranteed derby between the New York Red Bulls and a team actually from New York – either the historic New York Pancyprian-Freedoms or FC New York from USL-Pro; and a possible LA derby (no, not that one) between the Galaxy and USL-Pro’s LA Blues. Then again, as a Floridian I’ll be cheering for Orlando City to make it as far as possible in this tournament, since they’re my last (long-shot) hope to see the CCL come to my home state anytime soon.

A fair warning for those of you more invested in this tournament: this is the last time you will hear about the Open Cup on The Regional Review until August. The reason behind it is that I typically focus in on domestic and regional competitions when they are two stages away from qualifying teams for the CCL. In the case of the late Lamar Hunt’s tournament, from which only the champion gets in, I will start to give more thorough coverage (with schedules, broadcast info, etc.) at the semifinal stage, at which point the four teams left can truly start to dream of making a name for themselves throughout our region.

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