CONCACAF Champions League: A Look Ahead

CONCACAF Champions League: A Look Ahead

MLS- Sporting Kansas City

CONCACAF Champions League: A Look Ahead

CONCACAFCL (CONCACAF)

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

Less than four months after Monterrey’s thrilling 4-2 comeback victory in the 2013 Finals, the CONCACAF Champions League will be back in action on Tuesday night as the top club from around the federation battle for conference supremacy.

After a three-peat from Monterrey, there will definitely be a new champion in this upcoming edition of the tournament as the Mexican club failed to qualify in Liga MX—unlike the UEFA version of the Champions League, the title-winners are not guaranteed a chance to defend their crown.

The five clubs representing Major League Soccer will look to build off of last season’s tournament, which saw two American sides make the semifinals. MLS Cup champions Los Angeles Galaxy are back in the tournament, gunning to be the league’s first CCL champion since Los Angeles’s 2000 title in the old CONCACAF Champions Cup era.

The 2013-14 tournament marks the second year of the new qualifying format, where only the group winners advance to the knockout stages. The Galaxy, Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City are favorites to advance out of their respective three-team groups, but at least one MLS team will be heading home after the group stage.

The 2012 MLS Supporters Shield winners San Jose Earthquakes and 2013 Canadian champions Montreal Impact are in Group 5 with Guatemalan side Heredia. Fans should have August 7 and September 17 circled on their calendars, as those are the two dates when these two MLS sides square off.

Another team American fans will be interested in watching during the tournament is Club Tijuana of Liga MX. With a squad that boasts several American players, including Herculez Gomez, Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Paul Arriola, the surprise 2012 Apetura tournament champions will be looking to build off a dream Copa Libertadores campaign that ended with a tough semifinal loss against eventual champions Atletico Mineiro.

Tijuana will be in action on Tuesday in the second match of the tournament’s opening night. Fellow Mexican side Toluca will kick off the tournament with a match against Trinidad & Tobago’s New Calcedonia AIA.

Here is the schedule for this edition of the CCL:

2013-2014 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SCHEDULE

GROUP 1
Thursday: Arabe Unido (PAN) vs. W. Connection (TNT)
August 20: W. Connection (TNT) vs. Houston Dynamo (USA)
August 27: Houston Dynamo (USA) vs. Arabe Unido (PAN)
September 19: W. Connection (TNT) vs. Arabe Unido (PAN)
September 25: Houston Dynamo (USA) vs. W. Connection (TNT)
October 24: Arabe Unido (PAN) vs. Houston Dynamo (USA)

GROUP 2
Wednesday: Real Esteli (NIC) vs. Sporting Kansas City (USA)
August 21: Real Esteli (NIC) vs. Olimpia (HON)
August 27: Olimpia (HON) vs. Sporting Kansas City (USA)
September 17: Sporting Kansas City (USA) vs. Real Esteli (NIC)
September 24: Olimpia (HON) vs. Real Esteli (NIC)
October 23: Sporting Kansas City (USA) vs. Olimpia (HON)

GROUP 3
Thursday: Valencia (HAI) vs. Herediano (CRC)
August 22: Cruz Azul (MEX) vs. Herediano (CRC)
August 28: Valencia (HAI) vs. Cruz Azul (MEX)
September 18: Herediano (CRC) vs. Valencia (HAI)
September 24: Cruz Azul (MEX) vs. Valencia (HAI)
October 22: Herediano (CRC) vs. Cruz Azul (MEX)

GROUP 4
Wednesday: Sporting San Miguelito (PAN) vs. Club America (MEX)
August 22: Sporting San Miguelito (PAN) vs. Alajuelenese (CRC)
August 29: Alajuelenese (CRC) vs. Club America (MEX)
September 17: Club America (MEX) vs. Sporting San Miguelito (PAN)
September 26: Alajuelenese (CRC) vs. Sporting San Miguelito (PAN)
October 22: Club America (MEX) vs. Alajuelenese (CRC)

GROUP 5
Wednesday: Montreal Impact (CAN) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
August 21: Heredia (GUA) vs. Montreal Impact (CAN)
August 28: Heredia (GUA) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
September 17: San Jose Earthquakes (USA) vs. Montreal Impact (CAN)
September 24: Montreal Impact (CAN) vs. Heredia (GUA)
October 23: San Jose Earthquakes (USA) vs. Heredia (GUA)

GROUP 6
Tuesday: Toluca (MEX) vs. New Calcedonia AIA (TNT)
August 22: Comunicaciones (GUA) vs. Toluca (MEX)
August 29: Comunicaciones (GUA) vs. New Calcedonia AIA (TNT)
September 18: New Calcedonia AIA (TNT) vs. Toluca (MEX)
September 25: New Calcedonia AIA (TNT) vs. Comunicaciones (GUA)
October 23: Toluca (MEX) vs. Comunicaciones (GUA)

GROUP 7
Tuesday: Luis Angel Firpo (SLV) vs. Club Tijuana (MEX)
August 20: Valencia (HON) vs. Club Tijuana (MEX)
August 28: Club Tijuana (MEX) vs. Luis Angel Firpo (SLV)
September 19: Luis Angel Firpo (SLV) vs. Valencia (HON)
September 26: Club Tijuana (MEX) vs. Valencia (HON)
October 23: Valencia (HON) vs. Luis Angel Firpo (SLV)

GROUP 8
Thursday: Isidro Metapan (SLV) vs. Cartagines (CRC)
August 20: Los Angeles Galaxy (USA) vs. Cartagines (CRC)
August 27: Cartagines (CRC) vs. Isidro Metapan (SLV)
September 18: Los Angeles Galaxy (USA) vs. Isidro Metapan (SLV)
September 25: Cartagines (CRC) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
October 24: Isidro Metapan (SLV) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)

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