Mexican teams are kings of the CONCACAF hill when it comes to its regional Champions League, the annual competition (formerly the CONCACAF Champions Cup) that carries a smidge of weight with the clubs, but just marginal interest from hardcore supporters and practically zero resonance in the general sports market.
Still, there is a fairly lucrative prize looming as
Mexican sides will be favored to get there, with Pachuca back to defend last year's title. Fellow Mexico side Atlante won in 2008 and Mexico City's Cruz Azul fell in the final both years. Overall, Mexican sides have accounted for seven of the eight semifinalists, as Major League Soccer clubs have struggled to gain any foothold in the tournament. The L.A. Galaxy was hardly the first MLS team to go crashing out ingloriously when it was eliminated in preliminary round action last week.
Following preliminary round play, 16 sides now have reached group stage: four from MLS, four from Mexico, the giant killing Puerto Rico Islanders and seven others sides from Canada and Central America. Here's a quick look at the field with double-round robin play set to begin next week in four groups: