Tonight, history will be made when Real Salt Lake meets Monterrey in the final of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL).
This is the third edition of the revamped tournament but its predecessor, the CONCACAF Champions Cup (CCC), started in 1962 and since that year, the CCC/CCL was held for 46 times. It was not held in 4 years (1964-1966 and 2001)
Both teams are making their first appearances at the continental final and one of them will be crowned as a champion of this region for the first time and will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup, to be held later this year; a first for MLS if RSL wins.
The history of these two teams can’t be any more different. Monterrey has been around for 66 years and has won the Mexican league only 4 times. RSL, on the other hand, was founded in 2004 and their meteoric rise took them to the MLS summit in 2009.
RSL reached the final on their first appearance this year, while Monterrey appeared in 5 tournaments previously and the best finish they achieved was semifinal appearances on three occasions (1987, 2004 and 2005). Their other appearances were in 1975 and 1994.
RSL played Mexican opponents in the CCL 3 times. They defeated Cruz Azul 3-1 at home and lost 5-4 away. Their first meeting away to Monterrey ended up 2-2. They are unbeaten at home in 37 matches in all competitions.
Monterrey’s overall record against US teams in the CCC/CCL is 4 wins and 1 draw. They beat Seattle Sounders FC 3-2 and 2-0 (2010-2011) and St Louis Kutis SC 3-0 and 1-0 (1987).
Monterrey is looking to continue the domination of the Cup by the Mexican teams. Since the cup’s inception, Mexico won it 26 times, followed by Costa Rica with 6 then El-Salvador with 3. The US teams won the cup twice only. They are tied for fourth with 5 other countries; Honduras, Guatemala, T&T, Haiti and Surinam.
Club-wise, Cruz Azul and Club America share the record with 5 titles, followed by Pachuca (4), Saprissa and UNAM (3), Toluca, Atlante, Olimpia, Alajuelense, Transvaal and Defence Force (2).
From the USA, Only DC United (1998) and LA Galaxy (2000) have won the cup, once each, joining other 13 clubs; among them are the two Guadalajara clubs (CD and CU), Necaxa and Puebla.
As for the overall record of the US clubs against CONCACAF opponents, here are some facts:
** In the 46 years of the history of the Cup, US teams played 226 games with record of 82 wins, 43 draws and 101 losses with a winning percentage of 36% and losing percentage of 45%.
Against Mexican teams, the US record is 16-17-58 (17%, 64%) and against non-Mexican clubs, it is 66-26-43 (49%, 32%)
** But if we divide the cup into two periods; before and after the MLS arrival, we will find different results.
– Between 1962 and 1996:
The US teams played 82 games with a record of 23-13-46 (28%, 56%)
Against Mexican clubs: 3-8-29 (7%, 72%) and non-Mexican clubs: 20-5-17 (48%, 40%).
– After 1997 (mainly MLS clubs):
The US clubs played 144 games with a record of 59-30-55 (41%, 38%)
Against Mexican clubs: 13-9-29 (25%, 57%) and non-Mexican clubs: 46-21-26 (49%, 28%)
** In other words, after the arrival of MLS, the US teams had more wins overall (41% vs. 28%) and fewer losses (38% vs. 56%).
– They had more wins against Mexican clubs (25% vs. 7%) and fewer losses against both the Mexican (57% vs. 72%) and the non-Mexican (28% vs. 40%) clubs.
Only their wins against non-Mexican clubs stay the same (49% vs. 48%)
Other interesting facts:
** New York Hungaria is the only US based club to win in Mexico in the history of the CCC/CCL. They beat Deportivo Oro 3-2 at the Estadio Jalisco, Guadalajara, in the first ever match for a US team in the CCC, before they drew 2-2 at the Gaelic Park in Bronx, NY. They were eliminated in the next round by CD Guadalajara.
NY Hungaria featured some of the most talented group of players who escaped Hungary in the aftermath of the 1956 revolution. All the five goals were scored by the legendary Hungarian-American Andrew Mate.
** Canada has been represented, by one team, on 5 occasions only (75, 76, 08-09, 09-10, and 10-11). The best finish by a Canadian team is Montreal Impact which reached the quarterfinals in 08-09.
** Before 1996, the US teams didn’t participate in 11 tournaments (out of 34). Either they didn’t enter or withdrew after entering. After 1996, they had at least two representatives each year.
** Before 1996, NY area was represented, by one team, on 11 different occasions (not counting the withdrawals). After 1996, it was represented on one occasion only (NYRB in 2009-2010). NY Cosmos had never participated in the cup. The old NASL didn’t bother with it.
** DC United represented the US the most (10 times) followed by LA Galaxy (6 times) then Houston (4 times)
** US Teams that had reached at least the semifinals (top 4) are:
DC United: winner (1998), SF (97, 99, 00, 05, 07. 08)
LA Galaxy: winner (2000), runner-up (97)
Chicago Fire: SF (99, 04)
Houston Dynamo: SF (07, 08)
Kansas City Wizards: SF (02)
Seattle Sounders: 4th (96)
Rochester Lancers: 4th (71)
New York Pan-Cyprian Freedom: (1984) the semifinal game didn’t take place.
** The RSL hosts Monterrey at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT, and the game is scheduled at 10 pm EST on FSC.
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