MLS Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC will face a tough debut in the 2020 Concacaf Champions League, after being one of 16 teams to learn its fate for the competition on Monday night.
LAFC will open the tournament against Liga MX side Club Leon, giving Bob Bradley’s side a true test in its first CCL appearance. It is the lone MLS/Liga MX matchup in the opening round. Club Leon finished second in the recent Apertura season, before being eliminated from the playoffs.
2019 MLS Cup winners Seattle Sounders take on Honduran side Olimpia, while U.S. Open Cup winners Atlanta United faces Motagua.
New York City FC, also making its debut in the competition, was paired against San Carlos of Costa Rica. NYCFC has still yet to name a head coach following Domenec Torrent’s departure.
Canadian Championship winners Montreal Impact face Costa Rican giants Deportivo Saprissa in their opening round matchup. It will be new head coach Thierry Henry’s first matches in charge of the Impact.
NYCFC, Seattle, and Montreal could all face one another if they advance deep in the competition. LAFC and Atlanta could meet in the semifinals of the tournament, should they advance through the opening two rounds.
The first legs take place between Feb. 18-20, with the return legs occurring the following week.
Here’s the full CCL opening round schedule:
Atlanta United vs. Motagua (HON)
Club América (MEX) vs. Comunicaciones (GUA)
Cruz Azul (MEX) vs. Portmore United (JAM)
LAFC (USA) vs. Club León (MEX)
Tigres UANL (MEX) vs. Alianza (SLV)
NYCFC vs. San Carlos (CRC)
Seattle Sounders vs. Olimpia (HON)
Montreal Impact vs. Saprissa (CRC)
This tournament absolutely doesn’t get the viewership and attendance that it deserves.
All the aspects of Mexico vs US in soccer are great.
LAFC vs Leon in the round of 16. Wow.
I agree but..
Concacaf is not doing it right. The end product that I believe soccer fans in North America would watch and therefore have decent enough tv ratings for matches and the competition to become profitable would be something that looks more like UCL with groups then knockouts. However, they tried that years ago and it didn’t work well because no one wants to want a group stage full of matches like Seattle vs Tauro or NYRB v (insert any semi pro team from Central America or Caribbean who plays in a small stadium on a glorified cow pasture). No one wants to watch that shit.
However, what I want to watch and what I believe lots of other soccer fans in NA want to watch is a UCL style format that showcases a group stage made up primarily of teams from MLS and LigaMX. Go to sixteen teams of 4 groups, Mexico/LigaMX gets 6, US/MLS gets 6, and 4 spots get awarded to other nations based on whoever goes thru a preliminary tournament to enter the group stage just like in UCL.
Groups would potentially look like:
This gives the group stage of this competition potential matchups like ATLvClub America, Seattle v Monterray, Tigres v LAFC, ATL v Tigres, Dallas v Chivas. These are marketable matchups that should draw ratings if at the right time. Imagine its Tuesday or Wednesday night and there’s a ATL v Tigres match on at 8pm followed by LAFC v Pumas at 10pm. SUM just has to organize it and find a way to get the concacaf minnows to see the bigger picture of bigger money for the token spots once it actually takes off years down the road.
This is a format that would draw decent enough ratings to start building something over time. It has to be a showcase of MLS v LigaMX with a handful of token representation from the weaker leagues of the region, which is just what they do in UCL too using a prelim tournament. Although CCL has prelims its not weeding out enough of the none marketable clubs from leagues and nations that won’t draw. Its somewhat anti competitive at the sake and trade off of potentially growing the tournament and participation money if it takes off but is a long game plan that most of the concacaf minnows won’t vote for thereby holding CCL hostage. Essentially we have to convince the minnows to vote for this based on a rising tide raises all boats.
I don’t know what your determination for qualifying is. Just eliminate certain countries from the competition?
Or this group stage comes AFTER some prelim round that not many in the US cares about just like now?
it is so hard to find the games to watch on TV even at this knock out stage. Can’t imagine a group stage would be a better situation. But maybe it is build it and they will come?
I am not against it. The competition is so good, but real world problems ARE there.
For instance, Seattle to Costa Rica is 4,444 miles. London to Rome, 1165…that is almost 4x as long.
I get what you’re after but the representation of the “lesser” leagues is important. IN FACT, it is called the “Champions League”. The Format would be better with a group stage no doubt but the other teams did earn their way into the tourney cause they were the champions in their context. I would have guaranteed slots in the group stage for each country’s Champion for the top 8 countries. Everybody else could go into a 3 tiered weighted pot with tier 4 teams playing either a K.O. play in or a smaller group stage play in.
6 MLS and 6 Liga MX teams is far too many. MLS should never have more than 4 (except in the case of the Canadian Champ not winning the East/West/SS or MLS Cup). Similarly the Apetura and Clausura champs should be guaranteed a spot as well as the Liguilla champ BUT other than that 4 is the max.
A Lack of representation from the CONCACAF region is NOT a Champions league.
The champions from smaller nations are still represented but have to go thru preliminary rounds prior to the group stage to make it in just like what happens to champions from smaller nations in UCL. It weeds out most of the smaller nations but still allows a token few to make it to the group stage.
Only a handful of champions from small nations with less competitive leagues make it to the UCL group stage, clubs from Cyprus or Montenegro or even the Chezch republic rarely make it thru the preliminary rounds in UCL. All I’m saying is concacaf should do the same. That is how you build the competition, thru matches between the regions big clubs. Watching a LigaMX giant send their U23 team to play on a cow pasture in Panama doesn’t build this competition. Ditto for ATL playing in the tall grass in Belize. These small clubs are still given an opportunity thru the preliminary round but most and many get seeded out before the group stage to keep the group stage as a more marketable competition between LigaMX and MLS
*weeded our not seeded oops