HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 04: Humberto Suazo #26 of Monterrey exits the field after being issued a red card in the first half against the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium on September 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
It's the final day of CONCACAF Champions League group stage play and the possibilities are numerous
It all comes down to this. One matchday left and of the eight spots in the knockout stages of the CONCACAF Champions League, six are still up for grabs. Maybe more incredibly, only two teams have been eliminated from the competition going into the final matchday, leaving us with an absolute mess. It's the good kind of mess though. It's the every match matters kind of mess. It's the kind of mess that leaves us scrambling while we try to watch multiple matches, check the tables and do basic math that for some reason feels far more complicated than it normally would be. Maybe it is the variables? God damnit, x, y and z.
This one is a little easier because one team in this group is already eliminated. CD Motagua hasn't gotten a point yet in five matches and won't be in the knockout stages, but they still have a role to play because they play the Los Angeles Galaxy, who are in a battle with Monarcas Morelia and Alajuelense for the two advancement spots. Alajuelense lead the group with 12 points, while LA and Morelia are on nine points. The Galaxy and Alajuelense each control their own destiny as wins put them through, but it gets a bit complicated if there's a three-way tie atop the group. The first three tiebreakers are all of the head-to-head variety and it's not until the fourth tiebreaker that total goal-difference factors in.
If Los Angeles wins: They will advance to the knockout stages with a win in Honduras as they could finish no worse than second in a tiebreaker.
If Alajuelense wins or draws: The Costa Rican side will advance to the knockout stages as the group winner if they can get a result in Mexico.
If Morelia wins: They can win the group if they win by more than one goal, but would finish no worse than second.
If Los Angeles loses: Morelia go through to the knockout stage with just a draw if LA loses. If Morelia also loses, LA could technically still advance, but odds are that Morelia would go through over them on goal difference.
If Los Angeles draws: They will advance only if Alajuelense wins. If LA draws and Morelia either draws or wins, LA is out and Morelia moves on.
This one is a little easier because Santos Laguna is already through to the next round and will win the group unless they lose by more than three goals. The real battle is for the second advancement spot in the group. It's a spot the Colorado Rapids currently hold with seven points, but Isidro Metapan are on their heels with six points, while Real Espana have five. That's a tough spot for Colorado, who travels to Santos, while Metapan hosts Real. .
If Colorado wins: They will advance to the knockout stages along with Santos.
If Colorado loses or draws: A loss would leave the Rapids hoping for a draw in the other game, as they hold the tiebreaker with Metapan. A draw would still leave them exposed as well, because Real Espana holds their head-to-head tiebreaker and Metapan could leapfrog them with a win.
If Metapan or Real Espana win: Either team will advance with a win so long as the Rapids do not win.
Not only are all four teams still alive in Group C, but all four can finish anywhere from first to last in the group. UNAM Pumas lead with eight points, while FC Dallas and Toronto FC are tied for second place with seven points and Tauro FC brings up the real with five points. As Toronto travels to Dallas and Tauro heads to Pumas on the final matchday, Pumas has a plus-five goal difference, Dallas is minus-two, Toronto is minus-three and Tauro is even.
If Pumas wins: A win and Pumas wins the group. Simple as that and they also eliminate Tauro
If Dallas or Toronto win: The winner of this match advances to the knockout stage. A win, along with a Pumas loss or draw will give them first place in the group, but at the very least three points guarantees the winner a spot in the next round.
If Dallas and Toronto draw: A draw would eliminate Toronto and send Dallas to the knockout stages so long as Pumas at least draws. If Tauro wins, that would create a four-way tie for second and would eliminate both MLS teams.
If Tauro wins: A win could give Tauro a spot in the next round, but only if Dallas and Toronto tie.
A draw in Guatemala last matchday was enough for the Seattle Sounders to clinch a spot in the knockout stages, but with 10 points, they are not guaranteed the top spot in the group. Monterrey trails them by just one point as they head to Seattle for the final group stage match. Comunicaciones are still in the race too on seven points with a trip to Herediano, who have already been eliminated, on tap. The only relevant tiebreaker is between Monterrey and Comunicaciones, in which Monterrey wins 3-2 on aggregate.
If Seattle wins: They win the group. Very simple for them.
If Monterrey wins: A win and Monterrey will top the group, also eliminating Comunicaciones.
If Seattle and Monterrey draw: A draw here hands Seattle the top spot in the group, while also earning Monterrey second place and eliminating Comunicaciones.
If Comunicaciones wins and Monterrey loses: Second place in the group goes to Comunicaciones and the defending champions are eliminated.
If Comunicaciones loses or draws: Night, night, thanks for coming.