• Wednesday Jan 25, 2017

    The evolution of CONCACAF club competitions

    Club America (pictured) lifts the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League trophy after overcoming Tigres in the 2015/16 final. (Photo: Carlos Ramirez/Straffon Images)

    MIAMI – With this week’s announcement detailing the expansion of the CONCACAF club competition platform, the Confederation added another momentous chapter to its on-field history. 

    A new format for the CONCACAF Champions League was accompanied by the introduction of a new event, with both being played in knockout style.

    This all means that starting with the 2017/18 season, 31 total clubs – rather than the current 24 -- will have an opportunity to take part in international play.

    From August-October, 16 clubs from the Caribbean and Central America will battle for a trophy that guarantees the winner a place in Champions League. There, 15 other sides will await to compete in a February-May tournament that crowns the CONCACAF club champion.

    CONCACAF.com takes a look back at some CONCACAF’s most important club-championship moments and occurrences:

    1962: The first-ever CONCACAF Champions Cup was contested between eight teams from seven countries, with Guadalajara (Mexico) earning the title with a 6-0 aggregate triumph over Comunicaciones (Guatemala). Salvador Reyes (25’, 57’, 88’) struck for three goals as Chivas won the second leg, 5-0.

    1963: Racing Club Haitien (Haiti) became the first Caribbean club to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup, when it was awarded the trophy after fellow finalist Guadalajara couldn’t play the two legs during the specified time frame.

    1969: Cruz Azul (Mexico) captured the first of six crowns, when it overcame Comunicaciones, 1-0 on aggregate. Juan Manuel Alejandrez scored the series’ only goal in the second leg.

    1971: Cruz Azul became the first team to win three consecutive CONCACAF club titles, when it finished first in a six-team, final-round group. La Maquina edged Alajuelense (Costa Rica) on goal difference, +13 to +4, after both sides finished atop the table on eight points.

    1977: Club America (Mexico) earned the first of its record seven CONCACAF club titles by edging Robinhood (Suriname), 2-1 on aggregate.

    1985: Defence Force (Trinidad & Tobago) became the last team from the Caribbean to take home CONCACAF club honors after topping Olimpia (Honduras) in the final, 2-1 on aggregate, thanks to a 2-1 win in the first leg at home. Four teams from three countries have accounted for the Caribbean’s six CONCACAF championships -- Defence Force (Trinidad & Tobago: 1978, 1985), Transvaal (Suriname: 1973, 1981), Violette (Haiti: 1984) and Racing Club Haitien (Haiti: 1963).

    1991: The first-ever CONCACAF Cup Winners Cup, a competition pitting the national cup winners of member associations, was contested between seven teams from seven countries. Atletico Marte (El Salvador) was crowned the champion after topping the final-round table with six points, one more than Comunicaciones. The competition crowned three more champions, before it was terminated in 1998.

    1993: Costa Rica rose to prominence as Saprissa started a run of three straight titles by clubs from the Central American nation. The Monstruo Morado nipped Leon (Mexico) and Municipal (Guatemala) on goal difference after the trio completed a four-team, final-round group on four points each. Cartagines lifted the 1994 trophy, outlasting Atlante (Mexico), 3-2, in a thrilling final that was pushed back to February 1995. Then, Saprissa regained the cup in 1995, topping the four-team, final-round table with seven points.

    1998: Eddie Pope scored the only goal as D.C. United defeated Toluca (Mexico) in the final, 1-0, becoming the first team from the United States to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup. United then went on to capture the last-ever Copa Interamericana, beating Brazil’s Vasco da Gama, 2-1 on aggregate.

    2001: The CONCACAF Giants Cup was played for the first and only time. The concept behind the competition was for the teams with the highest attendances in the region to meet in an official competition. It consisted of 12 teams from eight member associations. Club America defeated D.C. United, 2-0, in the final

    2005: Saprissa became the last non-Mexican to earn the CONCACAF club title with a 3-2 aggregate triumph over Pumas (Mexico). Christian Bolaños, who is playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps (Canada) in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, scored for the Monstruo Morado in the 2-1 first-leg win.

    2008: The CONCACAF Champions Cup era closed with Pachuca (Mexico) downing Saprissa in the final, 3-2 on aggregate. Remarkably, the same sides are slated to meet in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

    2008/09: Atlante hoisted the first Champions League trophy thanks to a 2-0 aggregate win over Cruz Azul in the final. Fernando Navarro (17') and Christian Bermudez (24’) scored the goals in the first leg.

    2012/13: Monterrey became the second team to secure three straight CONCACAF titles, when it rallied from a two-goal deficit in the second leg of the final to post a 4-2 win over Santos (Mexico), taking the series by the same score. Aldo de Nigris (60’, 87’) scored two goals, while Neri Cardozo (84’) and Humberto Suazo (90’+2) added one each for the champion Rayados.

    2013/14: Cruz Azul became the CONCACAF club champion for a record-setting sixth time, seizing the title on the away-goals rule after a 1-1 draw with Toluca in the second leg of the final. Mariano Pavone, the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, scored what proved to be the championship-clinching goal in the 41st minute. The two sides played to a scoreless stalemate in the opener.

    2015/16: Club America gained its second straight SCCL title, earning a 2-1 win over Tigres in the second leg of the final and capturing the series 4-1 on aggregate. The Aguilas moved ahead of Cruz Azul for the most CONCACAF club titles with seven and equaled Monterrey for the longest unbeaten streak in tournament history at 13 games.

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