Champions League Confusion Abounds

Mike Stobe

Yeah, no one really knows what's up with MLS's four CONCACAF Champions League slots.

Last night, we posted about how D.C. United might be out of the CONCACAF Champions League despite winning the U.S. Open Cup, as the slot allotted to that competition's winner was, reportedly, on the chopping block.

Well, U.S. Soccer shot that rumor down on Twitter, but others persist.

Brian Straus over at Sports Illustrated's Planet Futbol blog has a good rundown.

Essentially, MLS still wants to move forward with removing the MLS Cup runner-up berth, replacing it with a spot for the regular season conference champion that didn't win the Shield, as ProstAmerika reported.

But this isn't some kind of late-in-the-game push to put the Portland Timbers in the Champions League, though. Straus reports that was a recommendation made by the MLS Competition Committee made at the start of the season. The issue is that CONCACAF has been dragging their heels.

Possibly the most groan-inducing rumor surfaced today: The NASL New York Cosmos are pushing CONCACAF to let them into the Champions League by virtue of their winning the Soccer Bowl. That news broke on WorldSoccerTalk, which sounds like a site where they'd pull the news out of thin air, but the writer likely has his sources.

Straus notes the author, Kartik Krishnaiyer, was the NASL's PR and communications director up until May. Also, the NASL and CONCACAF share a marketing company, Traffic Sports.

That sounds unlikely -- the Mexican second division, Ascenso MX is likely lightyears ahead of the NASL, so why not let their champion in too? -- but the Cosmos are an ambitious team. It'd make sense they'd ask. One would just hope CONCACAF nips the idea in the bud before the entire thing looks like a joke.

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