CCL News

Pineda: MLS and Liga MX are Even

Gonzalo Pineda Mexico

Not many players in recent years have played on both sides of the CONCACAF Champions League divide between Major League Soccer and Liga MX.  Gonzalo Pineda counts himself among them and on Monday, he appeared on ESPN 700’s On Frame to talk about the way the Champions League Quarterfinals had shaken out to that point.

Pineda played with Cruz Azul in the 2010-2011 Champions League – including in the 5-4 epic in a torrential downpour against Real Salt Lake in the 2010 Group Stage – then went on to play with Seattle Sounders FC in the 2015-2016 tournament before retiring this past off-season.

Having not only seen both sides of the coin and the progress made in both leagues in recent years, Pineda said that the difference between the two leagues lies more in the style of play than in the level of play.

“I think the level of the leagues is very even.  The difference is the style,” said Pineda, now an analyst with Univision.  “I think the style for MLS is different than Liga MX and that’s all I can see.  I don’t see a difference between them, competitively.  I think it’s just different.  The level, to me, is the same.  Maybe better for Mexico, but still very similar.  It’s just a matter of style more than level.  Sometimes the Mexican style is a little better.”

Pineda went on to explain that clubs from Mexico typically play the ball out of the back whereas MLS tends to a more direct style.

Thus far, those differences have played out in favor of the Liga MX clubs, with Queretaro advancing over D.C. United 3-1 and Santos Laguna rocketing past the LA Galaxy 4-0.  In the other matchups on Wednesday, Real Salt Lake hosts Tigres at 8 p.m. MT, trying to overcome a 2-0 deficit while Seattle Sounders FC and Club America are even at 2-2 heading into the second leg in Mexico.

Pineda played most of his career in Mexico, suiting up for Pumas, Chivas, San Luis, Cruz Azul, Puebla and Queretaro from 2002-2013.  He finished his career with two seasons in Seattle.  He also made 44 appearances for the Mexican National Team, including three starts in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

To hear the full interview and more from Monday's On Frame, listen below.