August 16, 2009

2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League: Group Stage Predictions

My predictions for the oh-so-noble CONCACAF Champions' League during Group Stage.

GROUP A

1. Pachuca


Pachuca will win, because Pachuca always wins. Lousy statement, but let's face the reality. The only club that can remotely challenge the Tuzos is Houston. Even then, Pachuca should manage to comfortably achieve victory over the Orange Crush. Pachuca plays smart, patiently and capitalizes on any opportunity, making it a nightmare for any squad that makes an error. Pachuca can win this group going 6-0-0 the whole way out.


2. Houston Dynamo


While Pachuca leaves the rest of the group in the dust, the Orange Crush will be having their own problems vying for the second spot over DAU. Unido though, has not been playing so hot this season, while Houston has been playing fairly well, like they have over the past few years. With U.S. veteran Ching and the upcoming prospects for the USMNT such as Holden and Clark...the Dynamo should overcome the challenges from the Panamanian and Salvadorian clubs.


3. Arabe Unido


DAU does have many internationals on the squad...from Panama, but they're a very potent team to play against. Winners of many Central American club championships, they're in ground that's very familiar to them, against though, squads that might be more foreign to the turf...but far more talented. 


4. Isidro Metapan 


Metapan couldn't be anymore excited just to be playing in the tournament...every other team couldn't be anymore excited when they get to play them. They'll probably lose all their games. 

GROUP B

1. Toluca -- Mexico


Bit of a shame that Toluca, who are easily classified as a top world club power...and probably one of the best in the Americas are placed in probably the toughest group. In my opinion, this group is easily the group of death for the Champions League. Toluca, will have a few speed bumps along the way. The games in San Pedro Sula and Washington, D.C. wont be easy victories for the Diablos Rojas, but they'll pick them up...hopefully. Toluca should win every game in their group stage, and maybe tie Maraton on the road. 


2. Maraton -- Honduras


What's essentially a rat race for the second spot behind the Mexican team, Maraton should snatch it over the Trinidadians and Americans. A speedy, sometimes unpredictable team, with stars such as Henrequez and Martinez should rocket the Esmeraldas ahead of the Black and Red and Jabloteh. 


3. San Juan Jabloteh -- Trinidad and Tobago


Normally the third place contestant from the Carribbean in this tournament is typically the weakest. The Jabloteh have been playing fairly solid lately, and might be the weakest team. However, they'll come in with a lot of heart, but that doesn't necessarily outplay skill. Still, the should overcome the obstacles of DC United, but it's a whole different range with Maraton and the mighty Toluca.


4. D.C. United -- USA


As winners of the 2008 U.S. Open Cup, the DC United have been long-struggling this season. If it was...say the DC United from 2006 or 2007...hell, it'd be DC United probably winning the league, they did come in third I think in the previous cup. Well, not this year. The United are struggling to gain the final play-off spot for the 2009 MLS Cup, and have been stacking up an unbearable number of ties. DC United also barely squeaked by Firpo of El Salvador to earn this spot. The rusty United, who used to be the cornerstone of premier American soccer will see themselves sorrowfully bow out of the tournament with maybe a win against San Juan, and that's about it. 

GROUP C

1. Columbus Crew -- USA


The reigning MLS Cup champions had a bit of a shaky start to the season, but over the past month or so the Crew have cruised back atop the Major League Soccer standings. In my opinion probably the strongest American soccer club right now, and the only club I'd put in my top 100 list...from the United States. The Crew should also easily win this group with the help of a star-studded cast like Schlotto, Lenhart and Rogers. Should be mention their group? It's probably by far the easiest group. I see Columbus being the only non-Mexican club to win a group.


2. Cruz Azul -- Mexico





The Apateura '08 champions, in my opinion, are the weakest Mexican team in the Champions League. That's not say a whole lot, because I still expect the Cementeros to still qualify for the knockout round. Still, it'll be hit or miss for the squad. Depending on how they open up, they'll either vie with the Crew for first place, or try to hold off Saprissa for the final qualification spot. I see them winning all their home fixtures, but only managing to snatch a win in Puerto Rico on the road.




3. Saprissa -- Costa Rica


Perhaps the strongest Costa Rican club ever, Saprissa is looking rather shaky this season coming into the league. The 2008 Invierno champions had the qualification straight to group stage, but I felt there were some clubs eliminated in the preliminary stages prior to the group stage that were more deserving of a spot here. Nevertheless, Saprissa should get a few crowd-pleasing wins at home...well, except probably a tie with Columbus, but ultimately play exceptionally poor on the road.


4. Puerto Rico Islanders -- Puerto Rico


Being a subpar United Soccer Leagues club, the Islanders are by far the weakest club in the tournament. The Islanders were the finalists in the CFU Championship, but honestly there's only a handful of Trinidadian and Antigua and Barbudan clubs that remotely come close to challenging the Islanders in what is the easiest club tournament in the Western Hemisphere. Their qualification game was nothing too difficult to get here either. A rather meager aggregate victory over the struggling Toronto FC. 

GROUP D

1. UNAM Pumas

2. Communicaciones

3. Real Espana

4. Western Connection

About the Author

Tyler Walter

Author & Editor

Has laoreet percipitur ad. Vide interesset in mei, no his legimus verterem. Et nostrum imperdiet appellantur usu, mnesarchum referrentur id vim.

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