Whether it was a purposeful decision or just an amazing luck of the draw, this year's CONCACAF Champions League will have a much more inclusive feel than in years past. Since the tournament adopted its current format in 2008-09, no more than two non-Mexican Primera teams have made it to the semifinals. This year, by virtue of one half of the bracket being entirely populated by Mexican teams and the other half by non-Mexican teams, that will finally change.
Perhaps more importantly for U.S. soccer fans, at least one of those non-Mexican teams to advance will be an MLS side, another first in the current CCL era. The first match of the CCL quarterfinals will feature two MLS teams, Real Salt Lake and the Columbus Crew. Their opposing quarterfinal matchup will be begin on Thursday, and showcase Honduran power Olympia and Costa Rican giant Saprissa.
The Mexican side of the bracket will be populated by a virtual who's who of recent Primera success. Cruz Azul and Santos Laguna will play their first leg on Tuesday. Toluca and Monterrey, meanwhile will start their matchup on Wednesday.
The Crew-RSL match is the only one currently scheduled to air on Fox Soccer Channel, but the other three matches can be viewed on the CONCACAF TV website. SB Nation will provide previews and live coverage of all games as well.