6/10/2009 – NEW YORK – Teams will learn their CONCACAF Champions League fate Thursday when the draw will set the Preliminary Round pairings and allocate the sides for the Group Stage.

Eight teams will be seeded directly into the Group Stage: Toluca and Pumas UNAM from Mexico, the Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo from the United States, Costa Rica’s Saprissa, Marathon of Honduras, Isidro Metapan from El Salvador and either Comunicaciones or Municipal of Guatemala.

The other 16 teams will be entered in the Preliminary Round draw. Teams in Pot A: Cruz Azul and Pachuca from Mexico, the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United from the United States, either Vancouver or Toronto from Canada, Olimpia of Honduras, Liberia of Costa Rica and Arabe Unido or the Panamanian Apertura champion, will be drawn against the teams in Pot B: Chalatenango of El Salvador, Real Espana of Honduras, Herediano of Costa Rica, the Puerto Rico Islanders, Trinidadian sides W Connection and San Juan Jabloteh and the No. 2 teams from Panama and Guatemala.

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No team will be pitted against another team from the same country, except for potentially the third-placed teams from Honduras and Costa Rica, for the two legs scheduled to be played July 28-30 and August 4-6. Honduras and Costa Rica received a third berth due to the forfeiture of places by Belize and Nicaragua because of inadequate stadia and their third teams will be considered wildcards for the purpose of the draw.

CONCACAF Deputy General Secretary Italo Zanzi will conduct the draw with the assistance of Mary Lynn Blanks at the confederation’s headquarters in New York City. The draw will be recorded at the CONCACAF’s Trump Tower television studio and be available for viewing later Thursday at

After the Preliminary Round is set, a second draw will be conducted to establish the groups, once more using the principle that no two teams from the same country will be placed in the same group with the exception of Costa Rica and Honduras.

The Group Stage will begin the week of September 18 and continue for six rounds, finishing on October 22. Two teams from each group will qualify for the Championship Round, and will learn their path through the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals in a subsequent draw to be held later this year.

Three berths remain undecided in the 24-team field: Canada’s lone berth as well as the second berths from Guatemala and Panama. Although Comunicaciones has claimed one of Guatemala’s berths, it still is awaiting to learn if it will be seeded directly into the Group Stage or be forced into the Preliminary Round.

Preliminary Round Seedings
Pot A
Cruz Azul (MEX), Pachuca (MEX), New York Red Bulls (USA), D.C. United (USA), Vancouver Whitecaps or Toronto (CAN), Olimpia (HON), Liberia (CRC), Arabe Unido or Apertura champion (PAN)
Pot B
Arabe Unido or Apertura champion (PAN), Comunicaciones or Jalapa (GUA), Chalatenango (SLV), Real Espana (HON), Herediano (CRC), W Connection (TRI), Puerto Rico Islanders (PUR), San Juan Jabloteh (TRI)

Group Stage Seedings
Toluca (MEX), Pumas UNAM (MEX) Columbus Crew (USA), Houston Dynamo (USA), Saprissa (CRC), Marathon (HON), Comunicaciones or Municipal (GUA), Metapan (SLV)