Tonight will be our first taste of MLS action since 2010 despite the fact that it's not really MLS at all, but rather two MLS teams participating in our conference's Champions League, the continent wide tournament to decide which club is bets in North America. I know for many of you this will be your first time experiencing the CONCACAF Champions League so it might be worth checking out.
Tonight, on Fox Soccer Channel, Real Salt Lake will play against the Columbus Crew at 5:00pm (our time) in a home and away series with the better team winning on aggregate (whoever scores the most goals between the two games).
Now, seeing as how this really has nothing to do with the Timbers, you might be wondering why I'm even bringing this up to you in the first place. The bottom line is that, when it comes to the CONCACAF Champions League each MLS team in the tournament represents our league as a whole. If Real Salt Lake does well in the tournament, our entire league is raised a bit on the global scale. In some manner, other MLS teams doing well in the CCL benefits the Timbers as well.
Of course, tonight is an MLS team vs. another MLS team so really it's just semantics at this point. Only one team will move on in the tournament. Still it's an important game to watch, if for nothing else than to get into the atmosphere of what the CCL is all about.
The winner of this leg will go on to play against Olimpia, or Saprissa from Honduras and Costa Rica, respectively. Winning that match will send one of our leagues' own to the finals against one of the better Mexican premiere division sides.
The CCL finals are held on April 19th and April 26th in a home/away series.