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13 days in the books and the results speak for themselves as Real Salt Lake clinches

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Well it wasn't pretty, and once again RSL found itself having to battle from behind in Champions League action, but in the end it was a great goal by TFC's Peterson and a sublime free kick by Javier Morales that had the scoreboard showing 1-1 when the final whistle blew and that means that the Group A standing look like this:

Team

Games
Played

Points

Win

Loss

Draw

GD

Cruz Azul 

5

10

3

1

1

+8

Real Salt Lake

5

10

3

1

1

+4

Toronto FC

5

5

1

2

2

-3

 Arabe Unido

5

3

1

4

0

-9

So both RSL and Cruz Azul have secured passage to the Quarterfinal round of the Champions League, which will get underway in February in 2011.  This would mean that there is little purpose to the October 19th match between the two sides, but I think RSL has to take a long term approach and realize that when the draw for the quarterfinals takes place the 4 teams that finish first in their group will go into one pot and will face a team that finishes second from their group.

b.The Championship Stage shall consist of three rounds of games asfollows; a Quarterfinal Round, a Semifinal Round, and a Final Round.

c. A draw shall be conducted to determine the Quarterfinal pairings of theteams and the entire bracket for the Championship Stage and the orderof matches

d. The four teams ranked first in the Group Stage (the Group Winners) willbe drawn to play against one of the four teams ranked second in GroupStage (the Group Runners-up) in the Quarterfinal Round.

e. Teams which qualified from the same Group may not be drawn to playeach other in the Quarterfinal Round but may be drawn to play eachother in the Semifinal Round or Final Round should they advance.    

CONCACAF Champions League Regulations

Right now the 3 teams in first place in the other groups are: Columbus Crew (USA), Monterrey (MEX), and Toluca (Mex).  Given the MLS history of never winning a match in Mexico, you would think winning the group and facing a potential foe from the 2nd place teams would be preferred.  The 3 teams in second place are: Santos (MEX), Saprissa (Costa Rica), and Olimpia (El Salvador).  Now we can count of both teams likely bringing youth laden lineups for the final match of Group A play, but I think there is still a lot to play for.

In the end 13 days with a lot of travel and 5 matches ended with RSL getting 3 wins and 2 draws and securing a spot in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and still keeping themselves in a position to make a serious run at the Supporters' Shield.  That run will start on Saturday as RSL head into their "Final 4" MLS matches, and I will spend more time on that later this week.

OFF MY SOAPBOX