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Superliga 2010 Kicks-Off Tonight In New England, Chicago

Superliga kicks-off its 2010 tournament on Wednesday, with Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution and Chicago Fire hosting Mexican clubs UNAM (Pumas) and Monarcas Morelias, four of the sides competing in this year’s eight-team tournament.

For those unfamiliar with the event, Superliga is CONCACAF’s UEFA Europa League analog, taking those teams that did not qualify for Champions League and throwing them into a secondary competition. Unlike Europa League, Superliga is not open to the whole confederation; rather, only clubs from Canada, the United States and Mexico are eligible.

In addition to the teams starting play on Wednesday - all of whom make up Group A in the tournament’s round-robin stage - Thursday will see Group B start: Houston Dynamo hosting Pachuca, with Chivas USA welcoming Puebla to Home Depot Center for the nightcap.

Over the next week, the eight teams will complete group play, with matches this weekend and through Thursday of next week. All games, promoted by MLS’s marketing arm - Soccer United Marketing - will be staged at Major League Soccer venues. July 17th’s Morelia-Pumas match will be at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, while July 18th’s Pachuca-Puebla game will take place a Robertson Stadium in Houston.

This is the fourth edition of SuperLiga, which has seen Pachuca, New England, and Tigres (last year) emerge as champions, and with last year’s winner unable to defend their title (not qualifying for the tournament), August’s final will see a new championed crowned for 2010.

Here is a brief profile of the eight teams taken part of Super League! A!

Group A
Chivas USA Houston Dynamo Pachuca Puebla
Qualified: 6th place, 2009
Recent: 13th place, 2010
Captain: Jonathan Bornstein
Leading Scorer: Justin Braun (6 goals, 14 games)
Schedule: July 15, Puebla; July 18, at Houston; July 21 Pachuca
Qualified: 3rd place, 2009 Overall
Recent: 9th place, 2010
Captain: Brian Ching
Leading Scorer: Ching (3 goals, 9 games)
Schedule: July 15, Pachuca; July 18, Chivas USA; July 21, Puebla
Qualified: 2nd place, 2009 Overall
Recent: 8th place, 2010 Bicentenario
Captain: Miguel Calero
Leading Scorer: Damián Manso (7 goals, 20 games)
Schedule: July 15, at Houston; July 18, Puebla (Robertson Stadium); July 21, Chivas USA
Qualified: 6th place, 2009 Overall
Recent: 13th place, 2010 Bicentenario
Captain: Joaquín Velázquez
Leading Scorer: Álvaro González (7 goals in 15 games)
Schedule: July 15, at Chivas USA; July 18, Pachuca (Robertson Stadium); July 21, Houston

Group B
Chicago Fire Monarcas Morelia New England Revolution UNAM Pumas
Qualified: 5th place, 2009
Recent: 9th place, 2010
Captain: Brian McBride
Leading Scorer: Marco Pappa (6 goals, 14 games)
Schedule: July 14, Morelia; July 17, New England; July 20, Pumas
Qualified: 4th place, 2009 Overall
Recent: 7th place, 2010 Bicentenario
Captain: Mauricio Romero
Leading Scorer: Miguel Sabah (7 goals, 13 games)
Schedule: July 14, at Chicago July 17; Pumas (Toyota Park); July 20, at New England
Qualified: 7th place, 2009
Recent: 12th place, 2010
Captain: Shalrie Joseph
Leading Scorer: Zack Schilawski (5 goals, 15 games)
Schedule: July 14, Pumas; July 17, at Chicago; July 20, Morelia
Qualified: 9th place, 2009 Overall
Recent: 4th place, 2010 Bicentenario
Captain: Sergio Bernal
Leading Scorer: Martín Bravo (5 goals, 17 games)
Schedule: July 14, New England; July 17, Morelia (Toyota Park); July 20, Chicago