Here’s our pick of must-watch CONCACAF Champions League matchups

If you haven’t been watching the CONCACAF Champions League tournament, this week would be an excellent week to start.

The tournament, in which the winner earns a definitive berth into next year’s FIFA Club World Cup, is now deep into the Round of 16, with three matchups worth watching — two featuring clubs from Major League Soccer.

But first…

What the heck is the CONCACAF Champions League?

The tournament pits the champions of various tournaments within the umbrella of the CONCACAF confederation against each other for a winner-take-all prize of being the best club in North, and Central America and the Caribbean. In addition to just the bragging rights, the winner earns a berth into the larger FIFA Club World Cup encompassing the best of the best from federations from around the world.

Short answer: It’s essentially the UEFA Champions League, but for the Americas and island nations within proximity.

With that explainer out of the way, here are those matches that even a casual fan can appreciate.

Inter Miami vs. Nashville

Wednesday, 8:15 p.m., ET (FS2)

Sure watch this one for Messi, but it’s so much more than that. Inter Miami and Nashville have battled in this tournament and are tied 2-2 on aggregate from the first leg with Miami holding a slight edge due to away goals. Messi, who could return from a leg injury sustained against Montreal during their MLS matchup on Sunday would be a big boost. However, as of Wednesday afternoon, Miami coach Tata Martino hadn’t provided word on Messi’s status. Currently, Miami leads MLS’ Eastern Conference. Nashville? They sit 10th with three draws in MLS competition.

Club America vs. Guadalajara

Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET (Fubo TV)

It’s Liga MX at its best for a real prize. The game is even set to kickoff inside iconic Azteca Stadium. Guadalajara will be playing a bit of chase in this second leg matchup considering America leads the series, 3-0, but Guadalajara is hoping to shake off a winless streak, with a loss and a draw in its most recent games, but with just one win in their last five. Club America enters on a four game win streak in all competitions with a goal differential of 11-3.

Monterrey vs. Cincinnati

Thursday, 10:15 p.m., ET (FS2)

This game might say more about Cincinnati than it does about Monterrey. Cincy will head down to Mexico, down a goal in aggregate to a Monterrey team many believe will be crowned champion and is the class of Liga MX at the moment. Cincy also was able to force a red card in their first meeting leaving Monterrey needing to do a bit of shuffling in advance. Also, despite sitting seventh in MLS’ Eastern Conference, Cincy is 3-1-1 in its last five meetings in all competitions.

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