The MLS commissioner dismissed recent speculation that the league had been looking to join the prestigious competition against South American and Mexican clubs.Those watching Club Tijuana's magical run through the Copa Libertadores and dreaming of an MLS team replicating that feat in the near future can put those wishes on hold.
On Thursday, MLS commissioner Don Garber shot down the notion that the league is looking to gain entry into the prestigious competition, where it would be able to compete on a grander stage against top South American and Mexican clubs.
"There's always this buzz about Copa Lib every now and again as if we're engaged in conversations with CONMEBOL about it, and we're not at all," Garber told reporters at an announcement in Columbus regarding the location of the 2012 MLS Business Summit.
Garber said that the entirety of the league's compass is pointed in the direction of the CONCACAF Champions League and figuring out a way to perform at a higher level to capture the regional title and earn a place at the FIFA Club World Cup.
Liga MX side Monterrey captured its third straight CCL title Wednesday night in a riveting second leg of the final against Santos Laguna, and it marked the fourth time in five years -- the time in which the tournament has been in its current format -- that the final was an all-Mexican affair.
Only MLS side Real Salt Lake came close to winning the crown, when it pushed Monterrey to the brink before succumbing at home in the second leg in 2011. Seattle and Los Angeles fell in the semifinals this year.
"We are very focused on our confederation's tournament, the CONCACAF Champions League, and we've got to get into the finals and win it, and we have not been able to do that in its most recent iteration," Garber said. "I watched the Monterrey-Santos game, and it broke my heart that we didn't have a team in it. We've got to get more engaged with getting better in our regional tournament. We have a goal of being one of the top leagues in the world, and we've got to start by being one of the top leagues in our region. Right not Mexico is doing a pretty good job of leading that front, so no conversations at all with CONMEBOL at this point."
Garber also alluded to the impracticality of trying to fit in another tournament into MLS's schedule which is already lengthy and congested because of multiple outside competitions.
"Our schedule is so crowded to begin with," Garber said. "With CONCACAF Champions League, the length of our schedule due to weather, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, it's inconceivable that we could throw another tournament into the middle of that."