Chapter 3 starts here. Atlanta United begins their quest to conquer international competition this week in the first leg of the 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League (CCL). But what exactly is the CCL? Who is eligible? How do you qualify? Everything you need to know about the international tournament below:
The Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League is the sport’s premier professional tournament in North America held annually featuring the most elite clubs from leagues across North America, Central America and the Carribean. Next year’s will be the 11th edition of the competition under its current name, and the 54th overall edition of the premier club competition organized by Concacaf. The 2019 tournament will feature 16 teams competing in a knockout format with the opening matchups determined by a draw in December. Each round of the knockout will feature two legs, meaning each team will play one home match and one away match with the aggregate winner advancing to the next round. The opening round of the competition will begin in February of 2019.
The field of 16 will be comprised of nine teams from the North American Zone (four teams from Mexico, four from the United States, one from Canada), five teams from the Central American Zone (one berth each from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama) and one team from the Caribbean Zone (winner of the Caribbean Club Championship). The final spot goes to the winner of the Concacaf League, a regional tournament between the Central American and Caribbean Football Unions.
The Road to Glory
The Concacaf Champions League is a 16-round bracket style tournament, with each leg consisting of a home and away match. Four teams from Mexico (Monterrey, Toluca, Tigres, and Santos Laguna), four from MLS (Atlanta United, New York Red Bulls, Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC), and the rest from Central America and the Caribbean (Alianza FC from El Salvador, CS Herediano and Deportivo Saprissa from Costa Rica, Independiente FC from Panama, Guastatoya FC from Guatemala, Atlético Pantoja from Dominican Republic and CD Marathón from Honduras). Atlanta United will start the tournament against Costa Rican champions Herediano, with Mexican powerhouses Monterrey favored to be waiting for them in the second round should they advance.
The Concacaf Champions League has been dominated by Mexican clubs since its current format was adopted in 2008. During that time, only three MLS teams have been able to reach the final – including most recently Toronto FC who fell just short to Chivas in the 2018 final.
In the history of the competition (known as Champions’ Cup from 1962-2008), only two U.S. teams have been crowned champions. Atlanta United will look to become the first U.S. and MLS side to win the competition since 2000 (LA Galaxy).
Teams with the most tournament titles: América – 7 (Mexico), Cruz Azul – 6 (Mexico), Pachuca – 5 (Mexico)
How to Tune In:
All Concacaf Champions League games this year will be streamed live online on Yahoo Sports, while 92.9 The Game will be broadcasting our debut round live. Click here to download the app and listen in wherever you are. As always, stay tuned to Atlanta United’s social media channels (@ATLUTD) as well as ATLUTD.com for all the latest updates throughout the tournament.
For more information on the Concacaf Champions League, click here.