Philly to the semifinals

Photo by Paul Rudderow

PSP’s daily news roundup has already announced that the Philadelphia Union are the only MLS team to survive to the semifinal round of the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.

The other three clubs, all from Liga MX of Mexico, are Cruz Azul, Monterrey, and Club America.


Cruz Azul, Monterrey, and the Union all finished the tournament’s first two rounds with 10 points each. All had three wins and a draw. Cruz Azul wins the first tiebreaker on goal difference and places first, but Monterrey and the Union remain tied on goal difference.

Monterrey wins the second tiebreaker (goals scored) and finishes second, leaving the Union in third.

Club America had an actual loss in the round of 16 as well as a draw in the quarters, and is therefore the lowest ranked survivor to reach the semifinals.


Philadelphia plays its semifinal matches against Club America. The first will be scheduled between Tuesday, August 10 and Thursday, August 12 (inclusively), and will be played at Club America’s home park Estadia Azteca. The venerable stadium sits at 7,200 feet of altitude.

The return leg will be at Subaru Park between Tuesday, September 14 and Thursday September 16 (inclusively). The Union’s home match Wednesday, September 15 against New England will have to move.

Because first place plays second place in the other semifinal, the third place Union have no chance of hosting the single-leg final, should they advance to it.


Unlike the round of 16 and the quarterfinals, the Union will now be the side in late-season form and condition.

The official rules and regulations for SCCL 2021 state that a fresh 35-player list must be submitted 14 days prior the first semifinal match, after already having been approved by the national federation (so on or before July 27).

Should Ernst Tanner complete a deal for Hungary’s  international attacking midfielder Daniel Gazdag, the player’s participation by August 10 will depend on Hungary’s progress in Euro 2020. The postponed tournament is being played this summer.

Hungary are in the same group as Germany, France, and Portugal ,so by FIFA’s official international rankings they should fail to advance. That is bad for Hungary but there might be a slim chance that it is good for Philadelphia: Hungary play their last group stage match Wednesday, June 23.

Were Tanner to successfully have completed the deal, there would be a six-week window for the player to get here in time for Mexico City. In today’s immigration and travel climate, that window seems narrow. Arrival by September seems less problematic, but PSP’s crystal ball is notorious for cracks, fog, and imperfection.

Were the Gazdag deal to succeed and the player physically to arrive, it is allowed under the tournament’s rules to add players to the original 35-man list submitted in July if fewer than 35 were originally listed. Since the Union have less than that on their roster including all loaned players, adding the Hungarian – or anyone else for that matter — should not be a problem.

Whether he would be integrated enough into the side actually to play is impossible to forecast.


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Don’t the Union still have a chance of hosting the final if they do better in their semifinal than the winner of the other semi? Or is it just based on results from the first two rounds rather than the first three?

    • Vince Devine says:

      Good question. I was thinking the same thing. If we win both legs, that six points. the winner of the other semi could escape with a win/draw or even draw/draw (win on PKs).

  2. The CCL final isn’t a neutral site game?

  3. Out of curiosity how much do we know about Estadio Azteca being open to fans?

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