Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Champions League This Summer

Watching the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals tonight has me looking forward even more now to Kansas City's entrance into the tournament this summer.  There's still quite a bit to be decided, but let's take a look at how the tournament is shaping up so far.

CONCACAF have announced no changes to the formatting of the tournament for this year, and I'm not sure we'll see changes this year either.  So with that in mind we'll assume the tournament will again feature 8 groups of 3, same as this past year's tournament.  Currently only 11 of the 24 teams for the 2013-2014 tournament have been decided. You have all four MLS teams decided with San Jose (Supporters' Shield winners), LA Galaxy (MLS Cup winners) going into pot A and Sporting KC (US Open Cup champions) and Houston Dynamo (MLS Cup runners up).  You also have two Mexican league teams, Tijuana (Apertura winners) will be in pot A and Toluca (Apertura runners up) are in pot B.  Toluca can move into pot A if they win the Clasura.

Five Central American teams have also been decided already.  Alajuelense of Costa Rica, Olimpia of Honduras both won their country's first half of the season and will be in either pot A or pot B depending on how the second half of the season goes. Comunicaciones of Guatemala and Arabe Unido of Panama also won their country's first half, they though will be placed in pot A or pot C. Finally, the other team currently qualified is Metapan of El Salvador. They also won the first half of their season, but they'll be placed in pot B or pot C.

That leaves 13 spots still open.  The Clasura champion and runner up in Mexico will both automatically qualify.In Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, and El Salvador the winner of each of their respective second half of the season will also qualify.  If any of them are duplicate winners, other tie breaking methods will be used to see who else joins the tournament.  Canada also needs to decide their winner through the Canadian Championship which starts on April 24th. The Canadian winner will go to pot B. One spot each will go to Nicaragua and Belize, the team with the better aggregate record of each country's two seasons.  Belize though has not had a field that meets CONCACAF minimum requirements, which has kept Belize's representative from getting into the tournament. The final 3 spots are to be filled by 3 Caribbean teams from the CFU Club Championship, which is supposed to take place in April and May but no schedule has been released.

With all that in place, who could KC play of the other 10 teams currently qualified?  Sporting won't be grouped with any of the other MLS teams, and unless rules change, will also not be grouped with any Mexican league teams.  They could be grouped with any of the current Central American teams though as all of them can be grouped in either Group A or Group C.

Still plenty to be decided though.  We're also probably about two months away from the draw for the group stage as last year the draw was in early June.


Rj Keitchen said...

Informative article. What I am noticing though is that most casual soccer fans, or casual sports fans in general don't know what the CCL is, or what the point of it is. To me personally it should be the biggest and most important prize for SKC this year, much more so than the MLS Cup. I wrote my own blog piece about it in an attempt to make the casual fans understand why it is so important. If your blog, and others also start doing this, we could see the fundamental shift in understanding and attendance for these games.

You can see my blog piece here - http://northlandnoise.com/?p=512

Mike said...

I don't think it's more important that MLS Cup.

Rj Keitchen said...

And why is that? If we win the MLS Cup then woopdeedoo, we are better than the other 18 teams in MLS. But if we win the CCL, we are better than all the other champion teams in our hemisphere. Then we also get a birth in the FIFA Club World Cup where we get to actually play against teams like Man U, Madrid, Corinthians, and Barcelona in matches that really matter, not some stupid friendly. Greater glory for our city in my opinion.

Mike said...

Because I think it is? Seems like a good reason to me. Americans in general don't care about international competitions (see the apathy for the World Baseball Classic). "Greater glory for our city" in the eyes of many people in this city would be winning multiple MLS Cups because it fits the American mindset.