MLS not yet considering Copa Libertadores

League says success in CONCACAF tournament must come first

 

NEW YORK, NY

Mexican teams received the nod from CONCACAF on Wednesday to continue their participation in South America’s Copa Libertadores.

Major League Soccer, however, says it is not yet ready to consider a similar push.

“The most important competition that any club can be involved in is their domestic one,” MLS Executive Vice President Nelson Rodriguez said. “Having said that, the CONCACAF Champions League has to be the next most important competition for us.

“We have unfortunately not fared well in the CONCACAF Champions League,” Rodriguez added. “And I think it would be unwise for us to consider other events and other tournaments, particularly those outside our confederation, until such time as we do well on a regular basis in the one tournament that should mean so much to us.”

MLS clubs did not advance past the quarterfinal stage in the current edition of the Champions League. The Los Angeles Galaxy were the last MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup (or Champions League as it has been known since 2008) when they captured the trophy in 2001.

Meanwhile, Mexican clubs have competed on dual fronts since 1998, when they first gained entry to the Copa Libertadores. Despite never winning the South American tournament, Mexican teams have fared well and have regularly advanced deep into the competition. During that same span, teams from Mexico also captured seven CONCACAF titles.

“We’ve talked for years about MLS in Libertadores,” Rodriguez said. “A lot of that talk has subsided since CONCACAF has created the Champions League and repositioned that tournament. So our focus remains on CONCACAF and the Champions League and that’s appropriate for where we are today.”