CCL: What You Need to Know

CCL: Everything You Need to Know about 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League

 FRISCO – With the draw of the newly re-formatted 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League held next week on Monday, December 18, at 6PM CT, we take a look at everything you need to know about the tournament's new look, with FC Dallas being among the tournament’s participants as one of the representatives of MLS.

The U.S. association will continue to have four spots in the Champions League, with teams consisting of: FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders, and Colorado Rapids; alongside Canada's one spot, Toronto FC.

However, instead of participating in the group stages as was the case in the 2016-17 edition, qualified teams from the U.S., Canada and Mexico will enter straight into the second phase of the tournament, a 16-team knockout starting in February 2018, as will the winner of the Caribbean Club Championship and the national champions from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. The final spot in the tournament was decided in the fall of 2017 with the new CONCACAF League that replaced the previous group stage, where Central American and Caribbean teams all competed for a spot in the CCL.

The sixteen clubs qualified for next year’s Champions League are (in alphabetical order by country): Toronto FC (CAN), CS Herediano (CRC), Deportivo Saprissa (CRC), Cibao FC (DOM), Santa Tecla FC (SLV), CD Olimpia (HON), FC Motagua (HON), CD Guadalajara (MEX), Club America (MEX), Club Tijuana (MEX), Tigres UANL (MEX), Tauro FC (PAN), Colorado Rapids (USA), FC Dallas (USA), New York Red Bulls (USA) and Seattle Sounders FC (USA).

The CCL draw is set for next Monday, Dec. 18, and will sort the sixteen qualified clubs into pairings of eight for the knockout phase that will pair teams in a group stage fashion, which will begin in late February. 

The draw will consist of four pots. Normally, pots are used to determine the pairing of clubs prior to tournaments. For the Champions League, there will be two pots containing eight of the 16 qualified teams in each and will be used to construct group A and group B for the knockout round. However, with the new format in place, there will be two additional pots, but instead of clubs, it will be used as a bracket to map out the 16 possible playing scenarios for the later stages of the tournament. Moreover, clubs from the same Member Association cannot face each other in the first round.

Based on the new CONCACAF Club Index, clubs are ranked based on the performance of the countries over the last five editions of the tournament. The clubs will be distributed as follows (in alphabetical order by country):

Pot 1: Toronto FC (CAN), CD Guadalajara (MEX), Club America (MEX), Tigres UANL (MEX), Club Tijuana (MEX), FC Dallas (USA), New York Red Bulls (USA) and Seattle Sounders FC (USA)

Pot 2: Deportivo Saprissa (CRC), CS Herediano (CRC*), Cibao FC (DOM), FC Motagua (HON), Club Deportivo Olimpia (HON), Tauro FC (PAN), Santa Tecla FC (SLV) and Colorado Rapids (USA)

Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League 2018 Match Date Windows

Round of 16: February 20-22 and February 27- March 1, 2018
Quarterfinals: March 6-8 and March 13-15, 2018
Semifinals: April 3-5 and April 10-12, 2018
Finals: April 17-19 and April 24-26, 2018