This Wednesday the CONCACAF’s version of the Champions League gets underway. Four of the teams represent the USA and they are allocated spots in the following way. Winners of the MLS Cup 2012: LA Galaxy, Runners-up in MLS Cup 2012: Houston Dynamo, MLS Supporters Shield Winner 2012, (most points in the regular season games): San Jose Earthquakes and the US Open Cup Winners 2012: Sporting Kansas City.
The fifth team in action is the Montreal Impact and they qualified as the Canadian representative by winning their Countries Championship played this year in April/May. After defeating FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League 5-2 on aggregate in the Semi Final, they then dispatched of the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Final on away goals after the two legged tie had ended 2-2, to book their CCL place for the first time since the 2008/09 competition when they made it to the Quarter Finals.
Unlike the European version only the Eight group winners make it to the Quarter Finals and their is only three teams in each group so making a fast start is very important as there is little time to fight back.
LA Galaxy have being drawn in Group 8 and this is the fourth time they have completed in the CCL. They were crowned Champions Cup Winners in 2000 defeating C.D. Olimpa of Honduras 3-2, although that was under the old format before the change to the present set up in 2008. This campaign they are paired with Cartaginés (Costa Rica) 2013 Verano Runners-up and Isidro Metapán (El Salvador), 2012 Apertura Champion.
Houston Dynamo will compete in Group 1. It is also the fourth time they have qualified and their best performance so far was in 2008 when they reached the Semi Finals before losing to Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa 3-0 on aggregate. This time they have W Connection (Trinidad and Tobago), 2013 CFU Club Championship Group 1 Winner and Árabe Unido (Panama), 2012 Apertura Champion.
San Jose Earthquakes are in Group 5 and are making their debut in the tournament. Up against them is experienced campaigners Herediano, (Costa Rica) 2013 Verano Champion and a familiar face in the Montreal Impact.
Sporting Kansas City round out the MLS teams and are placed in Group 2. They are also having their first crack at this event and square off against Real Estelí, (Nicaragua) Who qualified as the Champion with better aggregate record in their 2012–13 domestic season and Olimpia, (Honduras) both the 2012 Apertura Champion and the 2013 Clausura Champion.
So that is who they face and this week three MLS teams take to the field to start their campaigns. Montreal Impact host San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City pack their bags for a trip to Nicaragua to meet Real Estelí.