- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On June 16, 2008
- 0 Comments
- CONCACAF Champions League
After talking about the new CONCACAF Champions League for a couple weeks, we finally get word of the group pairings for this fall’s tournament. Major League Soccer should be well represented in this tournament, with a possibility of five clubs in the mix for the region’s top club title.
(Edit: This may be a bit long for some so you may just want to read the full schedule in the post above!)
D.C. United has been given perhaps the toughest test in their draw. United were drawn into Group A, which features 2005 CONCACAF Champions’ Cup winner Deportivo Saprissa, as well the winners of preliminary round series between Belize’s Hankook Verdes and Mexican side CDSC Cruz Azul and either Isidro Metapan from El Salvador or Honduran sides CD Olimpia or CD Marathon.
Two-time defending MLS Cup champions Houston Dynamo heads Group B, which also features El Salvador’s CD Luis Angel Firpo, either Deportivo Jalapa or CSD Municipal from Guatemala or Panamanian champion San Francisco FC, which meet in one preliminary round series, and Harbour View FC from Jamaica or Mexican side Pumas UNAM from Mexico.
Should Chivas USA defeat Panamanian side Tauro FC in their preliminary series, they will be placed in Group D with Mexican side Club Santos Laguna, CSD Municipal or Deportivo Jalapa from Guatemala and either Costa Rica’s LD Alajuelense or the Puerto Rico Islanders, who also meet in a preliminary round series.
Two MLS teams could find themselves in Group C. Should the New England Revolution advance out of the preliminary round, where they face Joe Public FC of Trinidad & Tobago, they will face Mexican side Atlante FC, either CD Olimpia or CD Marathon from Honduras and either the Canadian winner or the Nicaraguan champion.
Toronto FC still has to get through the three-team Canadian Championship, battling the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps of the USL First Division, and then have to get past the Nicaraguan champion in a preliminary round series. The Reds did win their first match in the Canadian series against Montreal.
D.C. United will host Deportivo Saprissa at 8 p.m. on September 16th, a match that is probably the best match-up of the night in the tournament. United is away September 24, but return to RFK Stadium to meet either Cruz Azul or Hankook Verdes at 8 p.m. on October 1.
D.C. has the lovely task of playing at Saprissa October 9 at 10 p.m. and then away against Cruz Azul or Hankook Verdes October 21 at 10 p.m. D.C. United wraps up Group A play at home against Isidro Metapan or CD Olimpia or CD Marathon October 29 at 8 p.m.
Houston Dynamo opens group play at home against LA Firpo at Robertson Stadium on September 17 at 10 p.m. Then they will play back-to-back road games September 23 and 30, the Orange are back home October 8 to meet either Jalapa or Municipal or San Francisco FC. Dynamo host Harbour View or Pumas October 22 at 10 p.m. before wrapping up group play at Firpo October 28 at 10 p.m.
Should Toronto FC win the Canadian qualifying competition and beat the Nicaraguan winner, it could host the Revs in the lone all-MLS meeting of group play September 17 at home.
The Revs would be home for either CD Olimpia or CD Marathon September 24 at 8 p.m. The Canadian winner or Nicaraguan qualifier is home for Atlante FC September 24 , while Atlante hosts either the Revs or Joe Public September 30 at 8 p.m.
New England or Joe Public hosts either the Canadian winner or Nicaraguan qualifier October 8 at 8 p.m., while the top team to qualify from Honduras will play at the Canadian winner or Nicaraguan qualifier October 21. Also on October 21 at 8 p.m., New England or Joe Public is home for Atlante. On October 28, group play concludes with either CD Olimpia or CD Marathon hosting New England or Joe Public at 8 p.m.. while Atlante is home for either the Canadian winner or Nicaraguan qualifier at 10 p.m.
Chivas could see themselves open group play at either LD Alajuelense or the Puerto Rico Islanders September 16. Chivas USA or Tauro will host either CSD Municipal or Deportivo Jalapa from Guatemala September 23.
Chivas or Tauro will be home for Santos October 1 and then play at the Guatemalan qualifier October 7. Then on October 22, Chivas or Tauro play at Santos and cap the group stage October 29 home for either Alajuelense or Puerto Rico.
Yeah…get all of that?
Here’s a little easier lay out of the groups:
Group A – D.C. United (USA), Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica), Cruz Azul (Mexico) or Hankook Verdes (Belize), Isidro Metapan (El Salvador) or Olimpia/Marathon (Honduras).
Group B – Houston Dynamo (USA), Luis Angel Firpo (El Salvador), Pumas (Mexico) or Harbour View (Jamaica) and San Francisco (Panama) or Jalapa or Municipal (Guatemala).
Group C – Atlante (Mexico), Olimpia/Marathon (Honduras), Joe Public (Trinidad & Tobago) or New England Revolution (USA), Canada vs. Nicaragua.
Group D – Santos Laguna (Mexico), Municipal/Jalapa (Guatemala), Alajuelense (Costa Rica) or Puerto Rico Islanders (Puerto Rico), Chivas USA (USA) or Tauro (Panama).
After group play is complete, the first leg of the quarterfinals will be played from February 24-26 and the second leg is from March 3-5. The first leg of the semifinals will be played from March 17-19 and the second leg is April 7-9, while the first leg of the final will be played April 21-23 and the second leg will be played April 28-30.
More thoughts on this draw later on but from a first look DC really got a tough draw.