CCL 2013-14 Qualifiers: Yes, There Are Still Games Going On
Posted on December 22, 2012 8:26 pm
The current year is in the books as far as MLS, Mexico and regional competitions are concerned. And before we move on, congratulations are in order for Cuba, winners of the 2012 Caribbean Cup (although withdrawing from the 2013 Gold Cup now appears impossible, what with the Caribbean Football Union’s pride at stake).
Here, however, a pair of ongoing league finals with continental implications will keep this space up and running for the next two weeks (don’t worry, my non-existent staff will enjoy two weeks’ vacation between New Year’s and the start of Copa Centroamericana). And this evening, the first of these Central American tournament-closers will provide us the last CONCACAF Champions League qualifier for the calendar year.
Tonight, at 9:00 p.m. (all times EST), Alajuelense will receive Herediano in the second leg of the Torneo de Invierno final (to be shown live on Canal 6, although Columbia Radio might prove more reliable). The manudos escaped the Estadio Rosabal Cordero with a 2-1 lead last weekend; and given that they have won more trophies in the last two years than Herediano have in the last 20, Oscar “Machillo” Ramirez’s side appear strong favorites to bring themselves within one of archrival Saprissa’s record 29 first-division titles. The visiting florenses are defending champions for a reason, though; even with defender Cristian Montero suspended, the team remains the same one that outlasted Real Salt Lake for 180 minutes to earn a place in the current CCL knockout round. And with no intervening tiebreakers in place, Herediano simply need to win by one goal to force extra time.
While both sides fight to guarantee their third CCL appearance in a row, two other finalists will aim to position themselves for a debut on the continental stage, assuming that CONCACAF even permits them the honor. Unfortunately, neither the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) nor the Amandala newspaper responded to requests for broadcast information, so I will simply present the relevant details: on Sunday at 4:30 p.m., first-round Zone winners Belmopan Bandits and Police United will contest the first leg of the 2012-13 Belizean Premier League Opening Tournament Final, to be held at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. President Ruperto Vicente had announced earlier in the year that the FFB would get its own stadium up to standard, so that the Belizean champion can play continental ball for the first time since 2008; the Federation could not even protect the preferred MCC Grounds for tomorrow’s showdown, however, so we will see if his bullishness on the FFB Stadium renovations will bear fruit in time. The teams in question can only focus on the game at hand; and whichever side is proclaimed the first champion in the Premier League era will simply have to outpace the other during the regular season of the “Closing” tournament to wrap up their country’s solitary berth in the next Champions League.
CCL 2013-14 Qualifiers
1. Sporting Kansas City [USA4]
2. San Jose Earthquakes [USA2]
3. Houston Dynamo [USA3]
4. LA Galaxy [USA1]
5. Toluca FC [MEX2 or MEX3]
6. Club Tijuana [MEX1]
7. Árabe Unido [PAN1 or PAN2]
8. Isidro Metapán [SLV1 or SLV2]
9. Olimpia [HON1 or HON2]
10. Comunicaciones [GUA1 or GUA2]
11. LD Alajuelense [CRC1 or CRC2]