Manolo Zubria is encouraged by the increased attention the tournament has gotten after MLS teams won the first legs of their CCL quarterfinals
People are talking about the CONCACAF Champions League.
After the three remaining MLS teams in the tournament topped their Mexican opponents in last week’s first legs, the continental championship is getting an unprecedented amount of attention on both sides of the border ahead of the second legs Tuesday and Wednesday. That hasn’t always been the case, with interest difficult to generate in a tournament that has been dominated by Mexican clubs.
It’s clear MLS teams’ first-leg success has added a jolt to the competition this season, and CONCACAF Director of Football Manolo Zubria said he’s encouraged by the extra buzz.
“I think the gap is closing and I think with this new format obviously it’s tougher to just go into a knockout round right away rather than having a group stage to see how your team’s doing and see how the other teams in the competition are doing,” Zubria told Goal. “Now you kind of go into things with, ‘Let’s see what happens.’ Obviously teams are going in full steam ahead as we see by the lineups. The teams are putting out their top teams, they’re not taking any chances. With the group stage, perhaps you had more chances to have a bad game and still recover. Here there’s no room for error.
“The Mexican teams still are taking it very seriously. You could just see from the media reaction…