The New England Revolution and Chivas USA will kick off the first round of the first annual CONCACAF Champions League tonight with the Revs facing Trinidad & Tobago champions Joe Public while Chivas USA is in Panama to face Panamanian champions Tauro FC.
This year marks the first playing of the CONCACAF Champions League, a tournament featuring 24 teams rather than the eight teams featured in the tournament’s original version, the CONCACAF Champions Cup.
Here is a rundown of the games of the opening round, with eight teams vying for four spots in the final 16, which will be broken down into group stages (which I list after the first-round):
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Preliminary Round
- Tonight: Joe Public FC (TRI) vs. New England Revolution; Tauro FC (PAN) vs Chivas USA; CD Cruz Azul (MEX) vs. Hankook Verdes (BLZ)
- Wednesday: Impact de MontrÃ¨al (CAN) vs. Real Estelí (NCA); LD Alajuelense (CRC) vs. Puerto Rico Islanders (PUR); AD Isidro Metapan (SLV) vs. CD Marathon (HON).
- Thursday: Harbour View FC (JAM) vs. Pumas UNAM (MEX); Deportivo Jalapa (GUA) vs. San Francisco FC (PAN)
- SEPT. 2: New England Revolution vs. Joe Public FC (TRI); Chivas USA vs. Tauro FC (PAN); Real Estelí (NCA) vs. Impact de MontrÃ¨al (CAN)
- SEPT. 3: Puerto Rico Islanders (PUR) vs. LD Alajuelense (CRC); Hankook Verdes (BLZ) vs. CD Cruz Azul (MEX); CD Marathon (HON) vs. AD Isidro Metapan (SLV)
- SEPT. 4: San Francisco FC (PAN) vs. Deportivo Jalapa (GUA); Pumas UNAM (MEX) vs. Harbour View FC (JAM)
Here is a breakdown of the Groups in the tournament:
GROUP A: D.C. United, Deportivo Saprissa, Winner of Cruz Azul/Verdes, Winner of Metapan/Marathon
GROUP B: Houston Dynamo, Luis Angel Firpo, Winner of Harbor View/Pumas, Winner of Deportivo Jalapa/San Francisco
GROUP C: Atlante, Olimpia, Winner of Joe Public/New England, Winner of Montreal/Real Esteli
GROUP D: Santos Laguna, CD Municipal, Winner of Chivas USA/Tauro, Winner of Alajuense/Puerto Rico Islanders.
The tournament will run through from tonight until the final, which will be played in two legs in April, with the winner of the tournament earning a place in the FIFA Club World Cup in December of 2009. The group stage runs through October, with the tournament resuming with the quarterfinals in February.
What do you think of the MLS teams’ chances in this tournament? Can Houston or New England or D.C. put together a deep run in this new event?
Share your thoughts below.