There are only two match days left in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage and nobody has clinched a spot in the knockout stage yet, while only one team has been eliminated. That means 15 of the 16 teams are still fighting for advancement, increasing the drama in the region's top championship club tournament.
Motagua is the only team in the competition to have been eliminated after losing all four of their matches. They remain a strong team though and can certainly play spoiler. On Thursday they will look to do that against Alajuelense, who are tied atop Group A with Morelia on nine points. Because the Costa Ricans have to play Morelia in Mexico on the final match day, they really need to get three points at home against Motagua.
The day before those two square off, the Los Angeles Galaxy will host Morelia in the marquee match up of the match day in the entire competition. When the two teams played two weeks ago, LA was robbed by the referees who allowed an offside Morelia goal then disallowed an onside LA goal. It put them back in the pack and now they sit three points behind Morelia and Alajuelense. That means that they absolutely need to get a win at home on Wednesday because a loss would almost assuredly eliminate LA and a draw would force them to depend on favorable results in other matches. Pressure, pressure.
A glance at the table makes this look like the most competitive of all the groups, but the table doesn't tell the table. Santos Laguna lead the group and despite only being five points clear of third and fourth places, they will almost certainly beat Real Espana on Wednesday to win the group.
That leaves Isidro Metapan to take on the Colorado Rapids. It looks like a tantalizing match up, with Colorado traveling to El Salvador, but anyone who has watched the Rapids recently has seen a downright awful team. Manager Gary Smith has said he is not prioritizing the Champions League and if they can't win in league, they won't win on the road in El Salvador. Metapan will cruise and likely clinch a spot in the knockout stages.
FC Dallas is sliding and all of a sudden they are in trouble. They picked up wins in Mexico and Canada to open the competition. They were in cruise control. Then they barely hung on for a draw at home against Tauro and gave up two late goals to lose at home to UNAM Pumas. Now they need to win at Tauro or risk going into the last match of the season with a spot in the knockout stages dependent on getting a result in the final match.
Toronto FC are right on Dallas' heels, one point behind their MLS counterparts, but they have the unenviable task of having to play Pumas this week. There is no way that Toronto is as good as Pumas, but playing at home and if Pumas play a youth team (which they have done in this tournament), who knows what could happen? A point keeps those advancement hopes alive.
Exactly how the Seattle Sounders can beat Monterrey in Mexico, take down Comunicaciones and win at Herediano, then lose to Herediano at home is still unclear, but that's what they did. Needing a win last week to clinch advancement, Seattle lost at home to Herediano and now they are in a bit of a pickle. Get a result at Comunicaciones this week and they're through, but lose and all of a sudden they need a result against Monterrey on the final match day or risk being eliminated. How things have changed in Seattle.
Monterrey have stumbled in this competition, but they're starting to get back on solid footing. They should trounce Herediano at home and if Seattle defeats Communicaciones, they are through to the knockout stages. If Comunicaciones wins though, Monterrey end up in a three-way tie atop the group and in need of a result in Seattle on the final match day. Could the defending champions go out? It's possible, but it won't happen this week because Herediano just are no match for them.