The tournament draw, conducted by CONCACAF Deputy General Secretary Ted Howard at the confederation’s New York headquarters, set the eight Preliminary Round pairings as well as the Group Stage quartets. The first leg of the Preliminary Round will be played July 26-28, with the second leg a week later. The Group Stage will begin with the first round August 16-18 and finish with the sixth round of matches October 18-20.
Monterrey, which beat Real Salt Lake in April for the title, was drawn to head Group D with Comunicaciones. Seattle, which eliminated Metapan in last season’s Preliminary Round, will return to the opening knockout phase against San Francisco of Panama, which has won only twice in 12 previous Champions League games. Herediano also will play in the Preliminary Round, drawn against the third-place finisher from the Caribbean club championship. Honduran Clausura champion Motagua will start against Municipal of Guatemala in the Preliminary Round with the winner advancing to Group A along with the Los Angeles Galaxy and Alajuelense of Costa Rica. The remaining team in the group will be the winner of a Preliminary Round series between Mexican Clausura runner-up (either Morelia or Pumas) and the Caribbean club championship runner-up.
Mexican Apertura runner-up Santos, returning to the Champions League for a third time in four years, will enter in the Preliminary Round and play four-time qualifier Olimpia of Honduras. The winner earns a spot in Group B led by MLS champion Colorado and Honduran Apertura winner Real Espana. The fourth team in Group B will come from a Preliminary Round meeting between Salvadoran Apertura champion Isidro Metapan and the Caribbean club championship winner.
The remaining group, Group C, will be comprised of the Mexican Clausura winner (Morelia or Pumas), Panamanian Apertura winner Tauro and the survivor of the Preliminary Round series between FC Dallas and Alianza, which won the Salvadoran Clausura on Sunday. The last team from Group C will advance from a Preliminary Round match-up between the Canadian champion (either Vancouver or Toronto) and Nicaragua’s entrant (either Walter Ferreti or Real Esteli). Vancouver faces Toronto for the Nutrilite Canadian Championship Wednesday and May 25 while Ferreti and Esteli face off in the second leg of the Nicaraguan finals on Saturday. Ferreti won the first leg 1-0. Herediano will need to wait until the end of the month to learn its opponent.
The CFU Club Champions Cup semifinals are set for May 25 with the championship and third-place match two days later. The Puerto Rico Islanders, seeking a fourth straight trip to the Champions League, will face host Alpha United of Guyana in one semifinal, with Defence Force of Trinidad against Tempete of Haiti in the other.