• Sunday Jul 22, 2012

    CCL Draw procedures unveiled



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    NEW YORK - The change in the format of the CONCACAF Champions League will mean alterations to the tournament's draw procedure.

    Tuesday's event will divide the 24 qualified sides among eight, three-team groups, instead of eight teams paired off into a knockout round and the winners advancing to the main 16-club Group Stage.

    Teams will be seeded into one of three "pots" from which they will be drawn into the groups. The first pot will consist of the Mexican Apertura and Clausura champions (Tigres and Santos), the U.S. league champion and the team with the best overall regular-season record in MLS (LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC), and the champions of Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama that had the best overall record from their split seasons (Olimpia, Herediano, Xelaju and Chorillo).

    The second pot will be comprised of the Canadian champion (Toronto FC), El Salvador's champion with the best overall record (Isidro Metapan), the second teams from Honduras (Marathon) and Costa Rica (Alajuelense), as well as the third and fourth teams from Mexico (Chivas de Guadalajara and Monterrey) and the United States (Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake.)

    The final pot will contain the three Caribbean qualifiers, which are still undecided, and the remaining teams from El Salvador (CD FAS and Aguila), Guatemala (Municipal) and Panama (Tauro FC) as well as Nicaragua's lone entrant (Real Esteli).

    No team will be drawn into a group with a club from its own country, with the possible exception of CD FAS, a wildcard team which qualified in the berth allocated to Belize. Belize's berth was revoked because the country lacks a stadium that meets the tournament's minimum standard requirements. The teams from the United States and Mexico also will not face each other in the Group Stage.

    As only the group winners will advance, the draw also will in effect determine the knockout Championship Round pairings as well. The team that finishes with the best record in the Group Stage will face the team with the eighth-best record in the quarterfinals. Two will play seven, three will play six, and four will face five.

    Likewise, the semifinal pairings also will be determined with the winner of 1-vs-8 advancing against the winner of 4-vs-5, and 3-vs-6 facing 2-vs-7.

    Results of the draw, set to begin at 11 a.m. at CONCACAF's New York headquarters, will be announced via the confederation's website, CONCACAF.com, as well as its official Facebook and Twitter outlets.

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