RSL draw Crew in CONCACAF Champions League
NEW YORK – The two MLS survivors in the CONCACAF Champions
League will meet in the quarterfinals, as defending MLS Cup champions Real Salt
Lake were drawn against the Columbus Crew on Monday.
The home-and-home quarterfinal series will take place over
two legs, with Columbus hosting the first match in the end of next February and the
return match to be held at Rio Tinto in March. RSL earned the right to play the
second leg at home as winners of Group A, while Columbus finished second in
The results of the draw, unveiled by CONCACAF on Monday, also
ensure that the winner of the all-MLS quarterfinal will avoid Mexican clubs in
the semifinal. The team that advances between the Crew and RSL will face the
winner of the quarterfinal series between Honduran club Olimpia and Costa Rican
Columbus or RSL will host the first leg of the semifinal
series and the second leg of an eventual final in April should one of the two MLS clubs
advance that far.
On the other side of the bracket, the four Mexican sides
remaining in the competition will do battle for a spot in the Champions League
final. Toluca take on Monterrey and Cruz Azul meet Santos Laguna in the other
RSL and the Crew engaged in a memorable battle in the MLS Cup Playoffs last year as RSL eliminated Columbus over two legs in the first round on their way to winning their first league title.
The last time that two MLS teams faced each other in the knockout stage of the CONCACAF competition was back in the 2000 edition, when the LA Galaxy got by D.C. United on penalty kicks in the semifinals of the old CONCACAF Champions' Cup.
Quarterfinals (February 22-24 & March 1-3)
Toluca (MEX) vs. Monterrey (MEX)
Cruz Azul (MEX) vs. Santos Laguna (MEX)
Columbus Crew (USA) vs. Real Salt Lake (USA)
Saprissa (CRC) vs. Olimpia (HON)
Semifinals (March 15-17 & April 5-7)
Salt Lake-Columbus winner vs. Olimpia-Saprissa winner
Monterrey-Toluca winner vs. Santos-Cruz Azul winner
Finals (April 19-21 & April 26 & 28)
Santos-Cruz Azul/Monterrey-Toluca winner vs.
Olimpia-Saprissa/Salt Lake-Columbus winner