When CONCACAF went from four to three-team groups in the first stage of their Champions League, one of the benefits was supposed to be proper seeding in the knockout stages. Well, you know what what they say about good intentions?
While the goal may have been admirable, there were definitely some unintended consequences as the quarterfinals matchups are just as haphazard as they ever were. For a longer look at each team, check out our CCL rankings.
Houston Dynamo vs. Santos Laguna, Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET (Fox Soccer)
Few teams have seen more success in recent years than the Dynamo in MLS and Santos Laguna in Liga MX. By most standards, this really should be a compelling matchup. With the Dynamo coming off their season opener on Saturday and Santos Laguna having a bit of an up-and-down season, this lacks just a little punch.
Both teams should be motivated, though. This is the Dynamo's first trip to the CCL quarterfinals since the 2008-09 tournament and Santos Laguna is still seeking their first continental title after falling to Monterrey in last year's final.
The biggest question is what kind of team the Dynamo are able to field. While Dominic Kinnear got away with using mostly reserves in the group stage, that kind of strategy could be disastrous against a team as talented as Santos Laguna.
Xelaju vs. Monterrey, Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET (Fox Soccer 2 Go)
Probably the biggest mismatch of the quarterfinals, at least on paper. Xelaju is one of just two Central American clubs to make it out of the group stage, knocking off Mexican giants Chivas. Unfortunately, the Guatemalan club has not carried that kind of form into their domestic league, where they are currently 10th in the 12-team league.
The good news for them is that Monterrey isn't really living up to their No. 1 seeding, either. Los Rayados are currently 14th in the standings, are winless away from home and have lost four of their last five matches.
Tigres UANL vs. Seattle Sounders, Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET (Fox Soccer)
The Sounders were one of three teams to win all their group stage games, granting them the honor of drawing Liga MX's top team. Since struggling through the Apertura and limping into the CCL quarterfinals, Tigres have come out absolutely on fire in the Clausura. Tigres have yet to lose in nine matches and have a league-best +12 goal difference.
The only good news for the Sounders is that several starters were unavailable in their MLS season opener, meaning they should be reasonably well rested. Tigres will also be a little short-handed, as leading scorer Emmanuel Villa is injured and will miss both legs.
Herediano vs. LA Galaxy, Thursday, 8 p.m. ET (Fox Soccer)
The Galaxy easily represent MLS's best chance to put a team through to the semifinals, as they managed to draw a very winnable matchup with Herediano. The two-time reigning MLS Cup champions were hardly dominant in the group stage, but still get to play a team that is currently fifth in Costa Rica's Primera Division.