Monday, June 03, 2013

Sporting Drawn in Group 2 for Champions League

CONCACAF held the draw tonight for this year's CONCACAF Champions' League. The draw as a held was filled with the unintentional humor that we've come to expect from CONCACAF.  According to the rules, USA and Mexican teams could not be grouped together. But when the draw was done there were two US teams, Houston and LA grouped with Mexican teams, Tijuana and Cruz Azul.  So a redraw of 4 groups was done moving Houston and Cruz Azul so that CONCACAF followed their own rules.

Sporting KC on the other hand, had an uneventful draw when it came to CONCACAF humor.  Sporting was inserted into Group 2.  They'll face off against the Honduran league's Apertura and Clausura champion, Olimpia. They'll also play Real Esteli out of Nicaragua.  Esteli has won eight of the last nine championships in Nicaragua.

Both are also veterans of the CONCACAF Champions' League.  Olimpia is playing in their 6th CCL. Olimpia has qualified for the tournament every year since it's switched formats from the Champions' Cup. Their best finish was in the 2010-2011 version, where they finished first in their group that included Mexican club Toluca. Olimpia ended up losing in the quarterfinals to Saprissa that season. In their other 4 tournament appearances they've been eliminated in the group stage twice, and twice being eliminated in the preliminary rounds (before everyone qualified for the group stage). Like Olimpia, Real Esteli has qualified for all 6 editions of the CCL.  Unfortunately for them though they did not end up playing in two of those due to a lack of facilities in Nicaragua. Esteli hasn't had much success in the Champions' League though.  They've twice been eliminated in the preliminary rounds and last year had their best finish, finishing 3rd in their group with a 1-3-0 (W-L-D) record.

The dates of the competition have not been finalized yet, but should kick off in late July or early August just like last year.

Here's the rest of the draw:

Group 1

Árabe Unido (PAN)
Houston Dynamo (USA)
W Connection (TRI)

Group 2

Olimpia (HON)
Sporting Kansas City (USA)
Real Estelí (NCA)

Group 3

Herediano (CRC)
Cruz Azul (MEX)
Valencia (HAI)

Group 4

Club América (MEX)
LD Alajuelense (CRC)
Sporting San Miguelito (PAN)

Group 5

San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
Impact de Montréal (CAN)
Clausura winner (GUA)

Group 6

Comunicaciones (GUA)
Toluca FC (MEX)
Caledonia AIA (TRI)

Group 7

Club Tijuana (MEX)
Victoria (HON)
Luis Ángel Firpo (SLV)

Group 8

LA Galaxy (USA)
Isidro Metapán (SLV)
Cartaginés (CRC)

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