CONCACAF Champions League: History says MLS trio have 2nd-leg mountain to climb in Mexico
When it comes to bucking regional history, it's now or never – well, now or perhaps next year – for MLS.
On Tuesday and Wednesday night, the LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, and Sporting Kansas City hope they can do something that no MLS team has done before in the current incarnation of the CONCACAF Champions League: win a two-leg series against a Liga MX club when the second leg is in Mexico.
While each club have reasons to believe they'll be the first to break the trend – LA and SKC holding 1-0 aggregate advantages on Club Tijuana and Cruz Azul and San Jose tied 1-1 with Toluca – there is no question that history is foreboding and the odds are stacked heavily in the Mexican clubs' favor.
First, in the Earthquakes' case, there have been three teams that tied their opening home legs against Mexican opposition since 2009. None of these three teams won the second leg, and only one of the three has come even close.
Back in 2010, the Columbus Crew drew with Toluca 2-2 at Columbus Crew Stadium behind two goals from Steven Lenhart. In the return leg in Toluca, Guillermo Barros Schelotto scored in the 70th minute to tie the game 2-2 before Sinha scored the game winner just two minutes later. Luckily for Quakes fans, Sinha will probably not feature for Los Diablos Rojos on Wednesday night (8 pm ET, Fox Sports 2/Univision Deportes).
For the Galaxy and Sporting KC, the picture would seem a bit brighter but, in actuality, it leaves little room for historical hope.
Two teams have been up a goal heading to Mexico for second legs since 2009 and both of those teams lost their games, to the same opponent, in blowout fashion. Santos Laguna outscored the Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo by eight goals combined, with Herculez Gomez scoring three of those goals for the Torreón-based side.
Wouldn't you know it, Gomez will be suiting up for another home leg against a MLS side when Club Tijuana face the LA Galaxy on Tuesday night (10 pm ET, Fox Sports 2/Galavision). Sporting KC, meanwhile, will have to deal with Liga MX's top team in Cruz Azul (8 pm ET, Fox Sports 2/Galavision), a side that hasn't lost or drawn in all five of its league matches at Estadio Azul this term.
Will this be the year MLS finally summits the Mexican mountain? History says no emphatically, but the next chapter has yet to be written.