With Toronto FC's victory in yesterday's Canadian Championship , this year's CONCACAF Champion's League table is all set. The Galaxy are in, of course, thanks to winning the Supporter's Shield in last year's MLS season. This method of Qualifying skips over the preliminary round, which is good news for the Galaxy what lost last year in the preliminary round to the Puerto Rico Islanders in aggregate. The Galaxy get to go straight to the Group stage, where they've been placed in Group A, whith Alajuelense the only team for sure in the group with them.
Sounder at Heart pointed to the CONCACAF Club rankings from the Soccermetrics blog this morning, and I thought they might be worth looking at. Most striking to me is their country ranking.
|Trinidad & Tobago||4.175|
The big talk with last years Champions League final was "look how far MLS has come". The disclaimer about these coefficients is that they have a long memory. They contain data going back to 06/07. The Houston Dynamo, currently with a coefficient of 2.8 appear in the top 20. There's a bottleneck of about 9 Mexican clubs at the top.
The primary application of this formula is the allocation of slots in future editions of the CONCACAF Champions League by ranking the clubs and their respective leagues. It is possible to look at the coefficient formula as a club ranking, but that is NOT the original intention.
And has to do specifically with how a club performs in the Champions League. So the Galaxy, while they won the Supporter's Shield, did themselves no favors in the rankings petering out in the preliminary round last year. The good news for the Galaxy is that their group looks to be favorable:
Los Angeles Galaxy: 15.500
Alajuelense (CRC): 9.875
Out of the teams that have to play into the group, Galaxy fans should be rooting for Motagua and Tempete. Tempete has a coefficient of just 0.425, while Motagua is much closer to the Galaxy at 14.813.
For contrast, the Colorado Rapids could have a team in their group with a coefficient of 63.688. UNAM in group C has a coefficient of 65.688. And current CONCACAF Champions League Champ Monterrey has a coefficient of 64.688.
Toronto FC finds itself with the easiest play in match-up, facing Real Esteli with a coefficient of 0.063. However, the Galaxy have the easiest group by far, missing all the Mexican giants. The biggest challenger in the group is Municipal with 21.313, which faces a tough preliminary round matchup with Motagua (14.813). Mexican club Morelia is unlikely to lose to Tempete, but Morelia only has a coefficient of 16.675.
While that's a lot of numbers and seemingly random conclusions, the most important thing to take away is this. Of all the MLS clubs, the LA Galaxy have the best chance of taking their group. With Real Salt Lake (USA's highest ranked club for 10/11) missing this year's Champions League, it looks like it's up to the LA Galaxy to show North America what US clubs can do.