Wednesday, April 25, 2012
GALAXY: Quick look at the next CCL
By Scott French
Now that the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League is done, with Mexican powerhouse Monterrey maintaining its hold on the trophy, let's take a quick look at the next edition.
The Galaxy is in the competition for the third successive tournament, and they will be top seed in one of eight first-round groups, with a format change dwindling the size of each group from four to three teams while eliminating the preliminary round.
All four U.S. representatives were determined by results in Major League Soccer last year, and the league likely will get a fifth entrant when the Canadian Championship -- with three MLS clubs among four semifinalists -- is contested next month.
Half the qualifiers from Mexico and Central America have been selected, with the current spring championships to decide the other half. The three Caribbean representatives will be selected in a tournament next month.
The CCL will kick off with games July 31 and Aug. 1 and 2, with further first-round games slated for Aug. 21-23, Aug. 28-30, Sept. 18-20, Sept. 25-27 and Oct. 23-25.
Group winners will advance to the quarterfinals (March 5-7 and 12-13, 2013). The semifinals will be played April 2-4 and 9-11, and the final is slated for April 24 and May 1.
CONCACAF has not yet announced a date for the tournament draw, but the Galaxy's group will include one team each from Pot B (possibilities are one of Mexico's runners-up, Canada's rep, the top qualifier from El Salvador and the No. 2 qualifiers from Costa Rica and Honduras) and Pot C (No. 2 teams from El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama; the Nicaraguan and Belizean champions; the three Caribbean qualifiers).
Here is where things stand in qualifying:
United States: Galaxy (MLS Cup/Supporters' Shield champion), Seattle Sounders (U.S. Open Cup champion), Houston Dynamo (MLS Cup runner-up), Real Salt Lake (third in Supporters' Shield, with No. 1 Galaxy and No. 2 Seattle qualifying through other means).
Mexico: Pumas UNAM (Apertura champion), Santos Laguna (Apertura runner-up). Two more slots, for the Clausura champion and runner-up.
Canada: Canadian Championship winner, tournament begins May 2.
Costa Rica: Alajuelense (Invierno champion). One slot for Verano champion.
Honduras: Olimpia (Apertura champion). One slot for Clausura champion.
Guatemala: Municipal (Apertura champion). One slot for Clausura champion.
Panama: Chorrillo (Apertura champion). One slot of Clausura champion.
El Salvador: Isidro Metapan (Apertura champion).
Nicaragua: Real Esteli (champion with best aggregate record).
Belize: Slot for Premier League of Belize champion.
Caribbean: Slots for champion, runner-up and third-place team at the Caribbean Football Union Club Championship (eight teams in second stage, to be played May 1-6, with final four in May 23-27 round robin).