The CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) kicked off this past Tuesday with a pair of matches, one of which involved the sole Canadian-based side represented in the competition. Toronto FC earned their place in the competition twice, as a result of the changed format and back-to-back victories in the Voyageur’s Cup in 2016 & 2017. While the single match did little to change their top-position in the elo-ratings, it certainly provided a boost in the preseason.

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In their first match of the 2018 CCL, Toronto FC faced off against fellow MLS-side, Colorado RApids. The away victory boosted Toronto FC’s cumulative rating from 1568.695 to 1586.545, expanding their cumulative lead over Vancouver Whitecaps.

Of more immediate value, however, would be the effect on the 2018 ratings, which were reset at the beginning of the year. The Reds now move from a 3-way tie at 1400.000 points, to the top position with 1443.543. If their 2018 ratings hold and grow in their home-match next week, there will be a sizeable difference when the Reds face Columbus on March 3rd for the first match in the “Trillium Cup.” Similarly, Colorado Rapids would sit at a sizeable deficit in their 1st league match of 2018 against New England on March 10th.

Perhaps just as importantly is how the CCL clubs compare to each other. With the non-MLS clubs starting at the average of the CAN-US teams in the CCL, the opening rounds serve to separate the wheat from the chaff. Due to its exceptionally high starting point, TFC continues to rank at the top, and likely will until they’re eliminated from the tournament (or win it). Conversely, their competition, Colorado, continue to drown at the bottom.

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The interesting part comes from the middle. With the remaining MLS sides matched against non-Can/US sides, we get the chance to measure how the spread will be, and who could become competition for Toronto FC as the CCL progresses. In the next round, TFC looks to be matched against either Tigres or Herediano, who drew in their opening match.

With the Dallas loss against Tauro, New York drew against 2017 CONCACAF League Champions, Olimpia, and Seattle lost to Santa Tecla, the results were disappointing. Discounting the Toronto/Colorado match-up, MLS weakened its position by a total of 5.237 points. As a result of the new elo ratings, the leader radial predicts Toronto will face UANL Tigres and New York will face Tijuana in the quarterfinals.

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Of course, the CCL has just begun and anything could happen in the second leg. Look for our next 2018 Top Canadian Teams update on nothernstartingeleven.com on March 1st, and a Champions League ratings update for Patreons-onlu on March 3rd.

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