Pachuca on Wednesday night captured their third CONCACAF Champions League title in four years, and another trip to the prestigious FIFA Club World Cup.
That’s three titles for a single Mexican team in four years. Several clubs have represented MLS in the same competition but none have been able to haul in a single CONCACAF crown in a drought that has now reached nine years for MLS.
The league is now addressing the lack of success on the regional level with the formation of a Champions League subcommittee that is charged with analyzing the issues and proposing solutions.
“It’s recognizing that this tournament [CCL] is important,” said MLS Executive Vice President Nelson Rodriguez. “If we want to lay claim to being one of the best soccer leagues in the world, we have to start by laying claim to being the best league in CONCACAF.”
There are four club representatives on the subcommittee: Columbus Crew technical director Brian Bliss, Seattle Sounders FC technical director Chris Henderson, D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper and Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear.
The first recommendations from the subcommittee are expected this fall. They will have to be ratified by the MLS Competition Committee before full approval is sought from the MLS Board of Governors at MLS Cup 2010.
Given the steps necessary to effect change, any recommendations would only be implemented for the 2011-12 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.
“The subcommittee is charged with creating an execution plan with the intent being that MLS will have more teams advance deeper in the tournament and to perennially have an MLS team in the final or win the championship,” Rodriguez said.
Among the issues that the group will tackle include: the CCL schedule, the time of year the schedule hits (including during MLS preseason), travel demands on the clubs, roster sizes and logistics.
“We’ve evolved to the point at the league where this has become a priority,” Rodriguez said. “We have enough of the other building blocks in place that we can devote and need to devote more attention to this. Success in international tournaments is important to the league from a credibility standpoint so that there is a better appreciation for how good our league really is.”