Soccer  > General Soccer  > Banter with Borja: More CCL conversation
September 7, 2010, 12:43 PM
With two rounds of the Group Stage complete and the CONCACAF Champions League set to resume next week, sat down again with former Mexican World Cup hero and confederation Executive Director for Strategic Alliance Enrique Borja for a look back, and a look ahead.

With Toronto beating Cruz Azul at home, the 5-4 game between Cruz Azul and Real Salt Lake, and the 1-0 game between Santos and Columbus, does it appear that the MLS-Mexico rivalry is intensifying?

I think that the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexican teams is growing due to the competitiveness of the matches and the ways in which they are ending. The match between Real Salt Lake and Cruz Azul was a very competitive match, especially as Salt Lake was away from home and, following the rainstorm, the two teams played very well. I think that Salt Lake, especially in the first half, played well, especially being able to come back in such an impressive way. Additionally the team has a lot of very talented players such as Alvaro Saborio.

I think they we saw one of the best matches that we've seen within the Champions League: first, for the level of soccer, second, for the level of play despite the wet field, and, third, for the constant changes in the score. On the other hand, when it comes to some of the MLS teams, I would to like to say that they are raising their level. However, Columbus has only three points so I can't say they are strong as they might be. Seattle is the weakest as they don't have a point. But I think we are seeing that there is more competition. We are seeing that there is a high level of soccer and we are seeing some players that are standing out.

Do you agree with guest analyst Gio Savarese that MLS teams closing on first win in Mexico?

The four Mexican teams are very good teams. In fact, they are at the top of table in Mexico. They are so competitive that when they are at home, they don't want to lose to anyone. But I think that now Mexican teams think that they now have more competition at home. I believe 100 percent that MLS teams now think they can go to Mexico and look for a good result and even a win. I think that mentality, at least, now exists for MLS teams while it didn't before.

Puerto Rico has four points in two games at home. Is that good for them, or not so good considering they still have two games remaining against group D heavyweight Toluca?

I think that in this first phase the most important thing is to win points. You have to think how the teams think. It's not about winning a match but trying to achieve the most points possible to keep on advancing. Try to win at home and then try to win or draw away. Therefore I think a team like the Islanders have done well with four points.They haven't lost, and, well, they have Nicholas Addlery, who is a player that has scored five goals and is an element that allows them to think that going to Toluca, which is a tough away match, they can try to look for a result. But there are a lot of matches left. We are just beginning. The third week of matches is going to start and we still have about four left.

How badly hurt are the teams that didn't win at home (FAS, Puerto Rico, Municipal), or worse lost (Joe Public, Seattle)?


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