Sunday, October 25, 2009

Concacaf Tier 1

3 Tiers of CONCACAF 2009 update

Tier 1
1. Mexico
2. USA
3. Costa Rica
4. Honduras

Tier 1

I am going to rank the nations in CONCACAF as to the “program” that each country has. The ranking is based on the national team and the domestic league the nation has. The criteria I will use World Cup Qualifying, the Gold Cup and Caribbean Cup or UNCAF Cup to gauge the national team. I will also look at how the top Club teams from each country faired in the Champions league.
I believe there are 3 Tiers in the CONCACAF. The top tier now consists of 4 consistently good teams in (USA, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras). The second tier has 6 teams and the rest are in Tier 3.
Mexico I see as the clear #1 spot. They have qualified for the last 4 Hexagonal rounds. They have also come in first twice and finished second the other 2 times. This placed them in the last 4 World Cups (I am only using last 4 Hex rounds). Mexico has also won the regional Championship (Gold Cup) a record 5 times. They are also the reigning Champion. El Tri won the 2009 Gold Cup slaughtering their archrival 5:0. This game was played in the states.
Now comparing the domestic leagues Mexico dominates. The CONCACAF Champions League 2008/09 all 4 Mexican teams made the knock out round. No other nation could knock them out. They had to knock each other out. Atlante beat Cruz Azul in the Final for the 08-09 Title. The CONCACAF Champions League 09-10 league had all 4 Mexican teams winning their groups. Mexico is the clear #1 in Club teams within CONCACAF. All leagues in CONCACAF strive to Mexico’s standard.
The Yanks get the second slot. They participated in the last 4 hexagonal rounds. They won the last HEX-09 with 20 points. They automatically qualified for the Gold cup since they host it. They have won the Gold Cup 4 times. The yanks strong national prowess places them into the #2 spot.
The domestic league is why I place them second. The MLS evolving very slowly. MLS is expanding almost every year. Seattle joined MLS this year, Philly next then Vancouver and Portland in 2011 to make 18 teams. The feeder system to MLS is supplied by college soccer players. Each year there is the Superdraft for the top players. The SuperDraft has produced some impact players like DC United Chris Pontius, LA’s Omar Gonzalez and Toronto’s G Stefan Frei. If each team can get impact players like the NFL then both the SuperDarft and MLS will flourish. The Yanks also have a good youth developmental program that also feeds the national team. The best news for the Yanks is the expansion of MLS and the Clubs that are building soccer specific stadiums. The Red Bulls are building Red Bull Arena at a cost of $180-200 Million. Investments like this will make sure there is some league to play in. Soccer playing kids now will have something to strive for just like their football, hockey, baseball and basketball playing classmates.
Costa Rica is the clear #3. The Tico’s have qualified for the last 4 Hexagonal rounds and qualified for the last 2 World Cups. They find themselves in a playoff with Uruguay for a spot in the World Cup South Africa. The Tico’s have also qualified for 9 of the 10 Gold Cups. The Tico’s have dominated the UNCAF Nations Cup since 1991. They have been in every Nations Cup final except one and have won a record 6 Titles. They have had the best national team in Central America.
They also have excellent teams at the top of their Domestic league. Saprissa and Alajuelense are two clubs that stand out. Saprissa has won the Champions League 3 times while Alajuelense has won it twice. The national team plays in Saprissa stadium with the God Awful turf the players hate to play on. Thank goodness China is building them a new national stadium pictured here. Costa Rica also has a very good youth program that feeds the national team and domestic league. They have been punching above their weight for years for such a small country.
Honduras joins the elite of CONCACAF with their consistent play in both the national team and domestic league over the last few years. This is great news for CONCACAF to have another quality team in this confederation. Honduras has made it to 2 of the last 3 Hexagonal qualifying rounds. They finally made their first World Cup since 1982 Spain. The dominated Costa Rica 4-0 and beat Mexico 3-1 in this year’s Hexagonal round. This should be a huge boost to its domestic league and soccer as a whole in Honduras. Honduras has also qualified for 9 of the last 10 Gold Cups. They advanced out of the Group state in 2005, 2007 and 2009 Gold Cups. They have beaten El Tri in Gold Cup 07 and Costa Rica in Gold Cup 05.
Their domestic league has very good talent at the top. Olimpia, Marathon, Real Espana and Montaua are the high profile teams that jump out at me in Honduras. Olimpia won the Champions League twice to represent Honduras on the Club stage. Marathon made the knock out round last year CONCACAF Champions League. The 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League place 3 clubs from Honduras (Marathon, Olimpia and Real Espana.) Marathon again made the knockout round. The strong showing of the national team and the consistent play of Honduras club teams solidifies their spot to join the Elite of ConCACAF.

Next will be tier 2
Posted by James Lagrange at 12


Anonymous said...

Costa Rica abused the Americans in San Jose and the Americans were lucky to get a tie at home. Costa Rica would have as many Gold Cup as either Us or Mex if the tournament was in Costa Rica.

Anonymous said...

Would of, could of, should of. Costa Rica came in 4th because they are a 4th place team now. They choked. See if your little Tico's can beat someone from South America.