Cascadia clash highlights CCL draw


MLS Writer

The group stage for the CONCACAF Champions League doesn’t begin until the middle of August, but the confederation planned ahead and drew the eight groups on Monday night.

For three of the Major League Soccer teams involved, it should be an easy ride. But Seattle and Vancouver were drawn together, putting the local rivalry up on the continental stage. Making matters more difficult, they share a group with Olimpia, who ousted Portland in their group last year.

The full draw is as follows:

Group A

Santos Laguna (Mexico)

Saprissa (Costa Rica)

W Connection (Trinidad and Tobago))

Group B

Tigres UANL (Mexico)

Herediano (Costa Rica)

Isidro Metapan (El Salvador)

Group C

Queretaro (Mexico)

San Francisco (Panama)

Verdes (Belize)

Group D

LA Galaxy

Communicaciones (Guatemala)

Central (Trinidad & Tobago)

Group E

 Club America (Mexico)

Motagua (Honduras)

Walter Ferretti (Nicaragua)

Group F

Seattle Sounders

Vancouver Whitecaps

Olimpia (Honduras)

Group G

Real Salt Lake

Municipal (Guatemala)

Santa Tecla (El Salvador)

Group H

DC United

Montego Bay (Jamaica)

Arabe Unido (Panama)

While the Montreal Impact represented MLS well by reaching the final this spring, they were just one of two North American sides to reach the quarterfinals. In seven seasons of the current group stage format, no more than three MLS teams have ever gotten out of the group in a single year.

The scheduling forces teams to make difficult decisions about their priorities, as the group stage is played right alongside the stretch run of the regular season. But if the league is to be taken seriously on an international level, it is past time for MLS and its teams to take international competition seriously.

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