Concaclusions, Ep. 4: MLS Boasts Strong Concacaf Champions League Cast

The final weekend of MLS play is quickly approaching and we now have a near-complete picture of which sides will be partaking in postseason play. Additionally, over the last week two clubs — Los Angeles FC and New York City — booked their tickets to the 2020 Concacaf Champions League.

With only one berth yet to be officially determined through the winners of MLS Cup, the lineup for MLS’ participation in the next Concacaf Champions League looks more promising than ever. As LAFC are on the verge of stealing 2018 Atlanta United’s claim as the best MLS side of all time, you have two sides with every right to believe that can go toe-to-toe with the region’s best.

Meanwhile, NYCFC have plenty to boast about in light of their stellar regular season and Eastern Conference crown clinched with a game to play, and Montreal’s first participation since their runners-up finish in 2014 will be a storyline to keep an eye on. Given the available personnel, coaching, and recent success of the teams involved, 2019 will MLS’ best shot at finally getting over the hump by capturing a first Concacaf Champions League title.

Atlanta United | U.S. Open Cup Champions

The reigning champs know a thing or two about getting their hands on hardware.

It’s also no secret that Atlanta United were in disarray at the start of the season following the departures of Miguel Almirón and Gerardo “Tata” Martino. Fans were calling for Frank de Boer’s head only a few matches in when the Five Stripes found themselves at the bottom of the table, but those early struggles are now a distant memory in the wake of their Campeones Cup win against Club América, U.S. Open Cup triumph, and ascent to second place in the Eastern Conference.

They may have dug an early hole through sloppy play in the first leg, but they were still able to make a profound statement by topping eventual champions Monterrey last time around — their first loss of 2019 no less. Josef Martinez continues to bag goals for fun, Pity Martinez is finding his way after a frustrating start to life in MLS, and de Boer has improved his approach and tactics — all of this will contribute to the Five Stripes having a much greater shot at lifting the regional title.

Los Angeles FC | Supporters’ Shield Winners

The obvious choice if you were putting money on an MLS side in the competition, LAFC have steamrolled most everyone they have faced in league play and don’t have any plans on stopping the train until they have the MLS Cup in hand.

While superior talent, coaching, payrolls, etc. have most often led to Liga MX domination over MLS clubs, the experience factor cannot be overstated. Captain Carlos Vela’s previous escapades for club and country will be invaluable in leading his side when they come up against stiff Liga MX and Central American competition in difficult environments. There’s arguably no captain-coach combo better suited to lead a team into the Concacaf Champions League than Vela and Bob Bradley.

Montreal Impact | Canadian Champions

The Impact are riding high after dispatching Toronto FC in penalties to take the Canadian Championship, thus booking their spot in the next edition of the Champions League. The Canadians may be the least likely side to make any noise against Mexican or Central American opposition, but they shouldn’t be ruled out yet by any means.

Montreal have a wild card in new signing Bojan Krkic. Although his career may not have worked out according to plan after leaving Barcelona, there’s no denying the talent for the attacker who has suited up for the likes of Roma, Ajax, and Stoke City. It seems he’s been around for a couple of decades at this point, but the Spaniard is only 29 and should have plenty left in the tank. He got his Montreal account off and running in spectacular fashion against Toronto, and another big goal to draw with Atlanta bodes well for his chances of becoming a pivotal component moving forward.

A few more months under the direction of new coach Wilmer Cabrera will go a long way in determining how the offense pans out, as well as who the Impact are able to sign in the offseason. Let’s not forget that their last appearance in the tournament resulted in a magical run to the final, where they impressively held Club América to a draw in Mexico City before falling in the home return leg.

New York City FC | Eastern Conference Champions

Domenec Torrent’s men have enjoyed quite the rise during the Spaniard’s first full season at the helm. Their abysmal start to 2019 — zero wins in their first six matches — hardly made it look likely that they would top the conference, but here we are six months later and their six defeats are only two behind LAFC. Their ability to quietly churn out result after result has been nothing short of spectacular. This may be his first stint with a first division side, but Torrent’s ability to get the most out of a squad with just the 14th-highest payroll says plenty about his managerial adeptness and potential moving forward.

Their offensive prospects may not have looked the brightest heading into the season, but those concerns have been put to bed with three players in double figures and a host of other pieces contributing on the scoresheet. Brazilian striker Heber has been a revelation with 15 goals in 22 appearances. His return from a right quad injury will be instrumental to their playoff hopes and Champions League campaign early next year. Meanwhile, there’s been no better creator in the league than 32-year-old Maxi Moralez. The Argentine recently became just the third player in MLS history to notch 20 assists in a single campaign.

Roma, Fonseca Face An Injury Crisis Ahead Of Europa League Clash

“This is a new situation for me, something I've never experienced before.”

Despite Unfavorable Situations, Don't Fret Yet Over Christian Pulisic

Since bursting onto the scene with Borussia Dortmund as a 17-year-old, Christian Pulisic has had quite a few up and downs in his young career. First, it was carving out a spot for his club in Germany and then almost immediately becoming a starter with the U.S. national team. Then Pulisic was part of the U.S. team that spectacularly failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup despite his goal in a 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago. 

Concaclusions, Ep. 7: MLS Mayhem & Violence In Liga MX's San Luis-Queretaro

Club soccer is back in full swing on the heels of the second international break of the season, and there were plenty of storylines to digest, both within the region and across the pond. 

MLS Brings The Drama On First Weekend Of Playoffs

This was the first year of the new MLS playoff format, and boy did it bring the drama the first weekend. Gone are the days of two-legged series — the entire tournament now is one-off games, hosted by the higher seed. And in the first six games of the playoffs, the team hosting won five times. But these weren't straight forward affairs. Three of the games went to extra time, as the games featured goals galore, a Jordan Morris hat trick, and a first-ever playoff win for the Philadelphia Union. 

Barbados Claw Back In Group Play In The Concacaf Nations League

The second installment of Concacaf Nations League fixtures has drawn to a close, and we’re now left with a much clearer picture of which teams are on the rise, who can rest a bit easier after taking care of business, and the sides with plenty of work to do. 

US Men's National Team Continues To Flounder Under Gregg Berhalter

Last Friday's win for the USA men's national team at Audi Field was easy enough, but then again, Cuba were never going to put up significant resistance. But a 7-0 romp might have eased some concerns about Gregg Berhalter's side, one which hasn't impressed much since he took over the setup back in December 2018.

Cornelius Stewart's Goals Send SVG To Cusp Of League A Promotion

Back in September, we picked Gleofilo Vlijter as the standout performer from the first set of Concacaf Nations League games. The Suriname striker scored six goals in two wins, including four goals in a 6-0 triumph over Nicaragua. The 20-year-old added two more goals to his tally in October, taking his competition leading total to eight goals from four games.

Concacaf Nations League Concludes Wild October In Leagues B & C


Canada Shock The USA & Costa Rica Can't Win In League A Action

After not being part of the opening games of the Concacaf Nations League back in September, the four top-seeded teams in League A all played twice over the past week to kick off their tournament. Having watched from the sidelines on the first two matchdays, these seeded teams knew what they would need to put themselves into a good position heading into the final games in November.

FloSports Announces Multiyear Partnership with ECAC

AUSTIN, Texas — October 15, 2019 — Today, FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) announced a partnership in collaboration with Collegiate Sports Management Group to provide live and on-demand coverage of 120 ECAC Championship Games across the FloSports network and potentially many more. Fans can watch the games annually through 2022.