CCL to kick off next week
The fourth season of the CONCACAF Champions League will kick off Tuesday, July 26, when San Francisco of Panama hosts the Seattle Sounders and Costa Rica's Herediano hosts Alpha United of Guyana.
The first legs of the Preliminary Round continue through Thursday, July 28, with 16 teams vying for eight slots in the Group Stage. The second legs will be played the following week on August 3-5. This year's Champions League features six first-time qualifiers: Alianza FC, Alpha United, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Monarcas Morelia and Tempete FC.
It also will welcome four teams that have qualified for every CCL since its inception in 2008: Isidro Metapan, CD Olimpia, The Puerto Rico Islanders and San Francisco FC. For a complete schedule, please visit the Champions League home page. Tempete to play home leg in Mexico
Tempete FC of Haiti will play both of its Preliminary Round matches in the Champions League against Monarcas Morelia in Mexico due to incomplete renovations to Stade Sylvio Cator in Port-au-Prince.
After the first leg in Estadio Morelos on July 28, the teams were to travel to Haiti for the second leg August 3. Instead Tempete will play its "home" leg in Morelos on the same date.
While regulations require teams to play Champions League home matches within their country, the CONCACAF Executive Committee had granted the authority to waive the mandate following the January 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 316,000.
Japan tops U.S. on PKs to win Women's World Cup
Japan rallied twice and beat the United States on penalty kicks 3-1 to win the Women's World Cup on Sunday, denying the Americans a third title and first in 12 years.
Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach twice gave the United States the lead, first midway through the second half and again in extra time, only for Japan to equalize in the 80th minute on a goal by Aya Miyama and then via Homare Sawa with three minutes remaining in the second extra period.
Japanese goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori blocked penalty attempts by Shannon Boxx and Tobin Heath, and Carli Lloyd sailed her try over the bar, while Miyama and Mizuho Sakaguchi converted their tries and Saki Kumagai won the match with hers.
Belize, St. Lucia complete wins over Montserrat, Aruba
Belize and St. Lucia will join Bermuda, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic at the World Cup qualifying draw later this month, claiming the last two places in the first group stage of CONCACAF play.
Deon McCauley scored his fourth goal in two games and helped Belize to a 3-1 victory over Montserrat on Sunday that completed an 8-3 aggregate win. On July 12, Jamil Joseph scored three goals and St. Lucia beat Aruba 4-2, requiring penalties before it prevailed 5-4.
Belize's victory came in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where it was moved due to the ongoing dispute between the Football Federation of Belize and the national government. The dispute, which included the government not recognizing the BFF and refusing to provide assurances for the safety of Montserrat and game officials, led FIFA to suspend the BFF over governmental interference.
The originally schedule match, set for June 19, was postponed, but later rescheduled outside of the country when FIFA provisionally lifted the suspension.
For St. Lucia, which first entered World Cup qualifying in 1994, It is the third straight World Cup qualifying campaign that it has advanced past the initial phase of qualifying.
The World Cup qualifying draw in Rio de Janeiro on July 30 will divide 24 CONCACAF teams into six, four-team groups, from which the winners will advance to the 12-team semifinal round, where they will be joined by the six seeded teams of the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Cuba.
Men's Olympic qualifying resumes today in Dominica
Men's Olympic qualifying resumes Tuesday with a pair of games in Caribbean first-round Group B in Roseau, Dominica. Trinidad and Tobago faces Grenada in the opener with host Dominica playing Curacao in the nightcap of a doubleheader.
The matches will continue on Thursday and Saturday. Group D in Basseterre, St. Kitts, involving the host, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Lucia and Haiti, begins Thursday and finishes Monday. Cuba claimed the first place in the second round of Caribbean qualifying, winning Group C in June.
Group A in Paramaribo with host Suriname, Cayman Islands, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Jamaica will play August 3-7.
The four group winners will compete in a second group round, with the top two teams qualifying for the CONCACAF Olympic Finals Tournament in the United States next year.