August 27, 2010

CONCACAF Champions League Power Rankings: Week 1

It's been an insane–even outrageously bizarre array of matches to open up the first two games of the CONCACAF Champions League. From the RSL v. Cruz Azul thriller that caught the eye of the mainstream media, to the expected wins for Mexican teams, both unsurprising blow outs and home and well as a couple of last second saviors at home.

Although the Power Rankings can be meaningless, I guess it's a way to keep track of how good the teams in the CCL are performing. At least it is for me. So, lets go:

1. Santos Laguna – Mexico

Current Record (W-D-L): (2-0-0) 1st place in Group B

Surprisingly, they're only one of two clubs in the Champions League that has won all two of their matches. This includes a high-scoring affair against Trinidad's Joe Public and dramatic last-minute shot at home to propel Santos to victory against the hapless Columbus Crew. Plus, they're undefeated in the Apertura season thus far. Guess that's enough of a resume to claim the top honors.

2. Cruz Azul – Mexico

Current Record: (1-0-1) Tied with Real Salt Lake for 1st place in Group A

The Kings of Clutch might be their new title, but hopefully they won't choke. While it might anger MLS fans that Cruz Azul overcame a two-goal deficit to defeat the reigning MLS Champions, Real Salt Lake, they showed their grit and ability to react. Plus heart, motivation, that stuff. Just don't choke in the finals, again.

3. Real Salt Lake – United States

Current Record: (1-0-1) Tied with Cruz Azul for 1st place in Group A

Shame about that loss, but think of it this way. How many clubs could go into Estadio Azul, let alone Mexico, and score four goals?! They never showed intimidation and didn't get outclassed at all by the might Cruz Azul. Some of the arrogant Mexican fans that think the worst Mexican club is stronger than the best American club will go into flame war with me, but RSL truly deserves this ranking.

4. Monterrey – Mexico

Current Record: (2-0-0) 1st place in Group C

When people (Mexican soccer club supporters) bitch and complain to me about Monterrey's ranking, they will not critique its ranking simply because they're's going to be because an MLS club is above them. OH NO! Not an MLS club! They all suck!

Maybe Monterrey could be RSL, but I believe Monterrey does not have the most difficult path, but then again, Monterrey is probably the weakest Mexican club in the CCL, and if any club from Mexico doesn't make it to the semifinals (let's be real: all the Mexican teams are going to qualify for the knockout round), it's Monterrey.

5. Toluca – Mexico

Current Record: (1-1-0) Tied with Puerto Rico Islanders for 1st place in Group D

What's up with Toluca? Until their 4-0 thrashing against Olimpia, I wasn't so impressed with their scoreless draw against El Salvador's FAS. Sure it was on the road, but lets be real: Toluca should have defeated FAS, they're probably the weakest team in the Group Stage. Yes, I am acknowledging Joe Public when I say that.

6. Columbus Crew – United States

Current Record: (1-0-1) 2nd place in Group B

Group B is already assembled as I predicted. Isn't it marvelous? Well not really, because any moron could see that group and easily assemble it in the most likely correct order. You have to be proud of how long the Crew fought with Santos, but upset at how they ran out of gas in the final three minutes. Kind of like RSL...but unlike Salt Lake...when falling back, didn't fight back.

Still, MLS's lone knockout round contestant from last season should easily walk their way to the knockout stage as we anticipated: in second.

7. Saprissa – Costa Rica

Current Record: (1-0-1) 2nd place in Group C

Traditionally, the Costa Rican upstarts, after failing to advance out of Group Stage, they showed that Costa Rican clubs have dethroned their title as the second-best league to–yes–Major League Soccer.

In spite of that, they had a good showing at home against Marathon, cruising by and routing them 4-1, plus a lone 1-0 loss to Monterrey at home isn't anything horrible either. Though they seem to have parity with the Crew, I just simply think Columbus is a stronger team than Saprissa.

8. Marathon - Honduras

9. Puerto Rico Islanders – Puerto Rico

Current Record: (1-1-0) Tied with Toluca for 1st place in Group D

I'm going to be like everyone else and say this: "It should be the LA Galaxy here". Fact is, the Galaxy care more about the Supporters' Shield and the Cup than about the CCL. Fact of the matter is, either one's going to plant them in the Group Stage for the 2011-12 CCL campaign.

Puerto Rico might have been unlucky with their Preliminary Stage draw, though they overcame it, but they sure as hell got lucky to be drawn into the easiest group. Fine Toluca is a good club, but other than them.

10. Toronto FC – Canada

11. Municipal – Guatemala

12. Arabe Unido – Panama

13. Olimpia – Honduras

14. Seattle Sounders FC – United States

Current Record: (0-0-2) 4th place in Group C

If they want to make a run in the CCL like they said they wanted to...they're going to need to make some mad adjustments. Fast. I mean, really fast.

15. Joe Public – Trinidad and Tobago

Current Record: (0-1-1) 4th place in Group B

If that didn't exhibit the art of being outclassed, I don't know what will.

16. FAS – El Salvador

About the Author

Tyler Walter

Author & Editor

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