MIAMI – Only one MLS team has progressed to the final of the CONCACAF Champions League since the rebranded in 2008. MLS continues to examine how to buck that trend, according to LA Galaxy president Chris Klein.
The Galaxy fell at the semifinal hurdle to two-time reigning champion Monterrey. Fellow Liga MX side Santos Laguna eliminated Seattle Sounders FC in the other semifinal to set up an all-Mexican final for the fifth time in six years. (Real Salt Lake lost in the final in 2011.)
"I think there's a number of issues with Champions League and its format. Obviously MLS teams are in preseason form; Mexican teams are in mid-season form," Klein told Goal.com. "I don't know what the solution is. I will say the league is looking very hard at our schedule and to see from all vantage points how we can be most effective as a league."
At the time of the first leg, Los Angeles had played four league games and Monterrey 12.
MLS grants teams that qualify for the CCL additional allocation money. That isn't enough to bridge the divide, according to Klein.
"You also have some economic disparity between the Mexican teams and the U.S. teams, even with [the Galaxy]," Klein said. He pointed out that MLS teams' depth "drops off. The guys that they're bringing off the bench are certainly more experienced than our players."
So despite including, as Klein made sure to mention, World Cup veterans in coach Bruce Arena, striker Robbie Keane and U.S. international Landon Donovan, Monterrey as a whole could offer more experience, especially in the CCL. The ability to pay a "real salary" to bench players made the difference, according to Klein.
Still, with two teams in the semis and Seattle becoming the first MLS team to knock out a Mexican outfit in a two-legged round, Klein sees improvement.
"It's being addressed," he said. "We're moving forward at the pace that we need to move forward."
The Galaxy's next major move to catch up regionally will likely involve a third Designated Player this summer, taking up the slot vacated by Paris Saint-Germain midfielder David Beckham.
"We're not done yet, but our expectation is that we'll have a Designated Player in the summer," Klein said.
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