The Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League group stages wrap up tonight with five matches. Of the teams advancing to the quarter finals, seven of the eight spots have already been determined, one of them being the Seattle Sounders. Who the Sounders will face in the quarterfinals is still up in the air, but with Real Salt Lake winning last night, the best Seattle can do is finish with the 7th seed.
Here are the teams who have already advanced:
- Santos Laguna
- LA Galaxy
- D.C. United
- Real Salt Lake
- Seattle Sounders
- Club America
The last team to advance will come out of Group B and will be either Tigres or Herediano. The two teams play tonight at Tigres. If the Liga MX squad ties or win, they advance, and if they win by enough they can move into the top two seeds. Herediano can advance if they win on the road. Depending on the margin of victory, they'd either be the 7th or 8th seed, with Seattle being the other of that pair.
LA Galaxy, meanwhile, also play tonight in Guatemala against Comunicaciones. The Galaxy have already secured advancement, but if they win they are nearly guaranteed the top seed, unless Tigres wins by an otherworldly margin. But LA has a history of not taking CCL away matches very seriously, even if they haven't already secured advancement. Bruce Arena hasn't traveled for this game, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see LA travel a heavy B or even C squad, especially with a "Decision Day" match looming this weekend.
What all this means is that if results occur as expected, Tigres advances to the quarterfinals and as a result Seattle Sounders get the 8th seed. Who the Sounders face in the quarters depends on LA's result. If the Galaxy win? That's who Seattle plays in the CCL Quarters. If Galaxy don't win? Seattle matches up with reigning CCL champions Club America.
It is interesting to note that should Tigres advance, then the CCL quarterfinals would only have teams representing two leagues, four teams from Liga MX and four teams from MLS. The decision to change group stages from four teams to three significantly cuts down on travel time, but the diversity of the knockout rounds suffers as a result. However, the road to Seattle being the first MLS team to hoist the CCL trophy is paved with Mexican and American teams.