6/11/2009 – NEW YORK – Last season’s runner-up Cruz Azul will face Costa Rica’s Herediano in the Preliminary Round of the 2009-2010 CONCACAF Champions League, one of eight pairings established in Thursday’s draw.
Fellow Mexican side Pachuca, the 2008 CONCACAF Champions Cup winner, will take on the No. 2 team from Guatemala (either Comunicaciones or Jalapa), while the New York Red Bulls will play W Connection of Trinidad, and D.C. United will face off against Chalatenango of El Salvador.
The full schedule and order of matches will be announced later when the last qualifiers are confirmed and the schedule makers can accommodate the various league fixtures, schedule conflicts and commercial considerations. Three places remain undecided: the second berths from Panama and Guatemala as well as the Canadian spot.
The last spots from Panama and Guatemala will be decided by Sunday, while Canada’s berth has been reduced to Toronto FC or the Vancouver Whitecaps. That place will be determined Wednesday.
Other Preliminary Round pairings include the top Panamanian side (either Arabe Unido or San Francisco) against San Juan Jabloteh of Trinidad; Olimpia of Honduras against the No. 2 Panamanian club (either Arabe Unido or Chorrillo); Liberia of Costa Rica against Real Espana of Honduras; and the Canadian championship winner against the Puerto Rico Islanders.
“With a core group of retuning teams, the addition of more than 50 percent of new clubs will guarantee many surprises and a lot of excitement,” CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer said.
The draw also allocated the eight seeded teams into four, four-team group for the second phase, and placed them with the winners from the Preliminary Round.
The Houston Dynamo, a quarterfinalist last season, will head Group A with Metapan of El Salvador, the winner of the Pachuca-Guatemala pairing and the winner between Olimpia and its Panamanian opponent.
Group B will include Mexican Apertura champion Toluca along with Marathon of Honduras, also a quarterfinalist last season, either D.C. United or Chalatenango, and the winner between San Juan Jabloteh and its Panamanian foe.
The USA champion Columbus Crew will be in Group C with Saprissa of Costa Rica, either Cruz Azul or Heridiano, and the winner between the Canadian champion and the Puerto Rico Islanders. The last quartet, Group D, will consist of Mexican Clausura champion Pumas, the top-seeded team from Guatemala (either Comunicaciones or Municipal), the New York Red Bulls-W Connection winner and either Liberia or Real Espana.