Joe Public wins tonight to advance 6-2 on aggregate over Brujas of Costa Rica (CR makes MLS results look good in #CCL)These are the comments people make in order to underline a particular point. But this one struck me as odd: I know Costa Rica (or any other country other than Mexico) hasn't done well in CONCACAF Champions League. But the record of American teams has been pretty abject in this tournament.
Is it possible that Duane's one-off parenthetical had a seed of truth to it?
Luckily, back in March I prepared a table of the records of all countries in CONCACAF Champions League. With time on my hands, yesterday I updated it to reflect all CCL results to date, up to the end of this year's knock out round.
What do we find?
|CONCACAF Champions League Record by Country|
First, let's study Duane's claim. If we focus on results (wins/draws/losses) only, Costa Rica has USA beat, as their points per game (3 for a win, 1 for a draw) are a notch higher. The next best measure of quality, goal difference, has USA one rung ahead on the ladder.
Really, not enough evidence to make the claim that one is better than the other, and closer than I thought it would be.
Are there problems with this simplistic measuring of teams? Sure. Let me count the ways:
- Small sample size!
- Knockout round byes: Teams like Canada's entry, who play the knockout round every year, in theory have extra matches against easier teams.
- Mexico vs Mexico: Mexican teams have frequently played each other, and are responsible for many of the losses Mexican teams have experienced. If I only counted Mexican teams vs non-Mexican, their dominance would be even more clear.
This, in short, is why I want Toronto to do well in this year's tournament. Canada's high placing in this table is almost entirely attributable to 10 mostly excellent results that Montreal produced during the tournament's inaugural edition two years ago. There is a reputation to uphold.