CARSON, Calif. – Another year, another CONCACAF Champions League semifinal that will be dominated by Mexican clubs.
A day after the LA Galaxy fell 4-3 on aggregate to Club Tijuana, the San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City were also eliminated with defeats to Mexican clubs Toluca and Cruz Azul. The results all but assure that the competition will have an all-Mexican final for the sixth time in the competition’s history unless Central American underdog Alajuelense can upset Toluca.
Following the loss to Tijuana, Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan stated that the wage disparity may have played a part in LA’s defeat and veteran Todd Dunivant was quick to agree after LA training on Thursday.
“Our owners are competitive and we want to be the best league in this region and I don’t think that’s too far off to be honest. We’ve made big strides and we’re closer and closer. I think even two or three years ago, you see all Mexican teams playing second teams in these games and now you don’t see that,” said Dunivant who played 45 minutes in the loss. “At the end of the day, we’re still a ways away, but the funny part is that we’re really close. … It’s not that far off, but the difference is pretty big in terms of the depth of the roster and the economics between the two league and, at the end of the day, that makes enough of a difference to consistently get the same results.”
While Dunivant believes that there are “no easy answers” to the league's failures in CCL, but was quick to admit that the wage disparity between MLS and Liga MX “might be brought up” as the players union heads into negotiations for the new CBA at the end of the year.
“Everyone out here is trying to put a 1000 percent into this and we’re not making excuses before about losing, but at the end of the day, when you keep seeing the same results, it’s difficult to argue with the conditions that we have,” said Dunivant. “We’re competitive and we’re going to do everything that we can, but the disparity is pretty obvious.”