Much has been made over the past few years about how MLS fans don't really "get" CONCACAF Champions League. The thinking is that it's so unlike anything else in the world of North American sports that fans just instinctively tune it out.
Wednesday's matches are proof that the attitude is changing, at least in certain locales. It wasn't just that more than 70,000 people showed up to watch CCL quarterfinals held at MLS home stadiums. It was the atmosphere that those people generated.
For starters, check out the tifos in Seattle and Toronto:
Both are quality efforts, even if neither would likely be classified as the best those groups have produced. More importantly, they are indicative of a fanbase that is taking these matches seriously.
Those were, of course, just the beginning. The atmosphere at both stadiums was worthy of the games' importance. The crowd at Rogers Centre was more than twice as large as an average Toronto FC match and it certainly sounded that way. The crowd at CenturyLink Field was not nearly as big, but the more than 23,000 that were there created as much noise as any MLS stadium.
Clearly, our champions league has a long way to go before coming close to the popularity of Europe's. But nights like Wednesday are proof that we are at least progressing in the right direction.