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CONCACAF Champions League Groups Revealed

Today, in what I imagine was a dark board room somewhere in New York City, the teams who qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League learned their fate as the 8 groups were drawn for the 2012-13 version of North America's club championship.

The draw took place without the bright lights, dance music, and pretty girls that so often highlight such an event when it is conducted by UEFA but instead it was done behind closed doors. It makes for a bit of a non-event when the draw is just simply released via the internet and various forms of social media. It also leaves room for a lot of questioning of how much was a draw and how much was decided based on hand shakes and agreements to do what is best for tournament revenues. That is a whole other article though as we all know about the many issues that plague the governance of CONCACAF.

To make the fun of the day even better the announced time for the draw to take place was at 11 am ET but the results did not arrive until hours later. When the news finally did come out it was through a steady stream of sources leaking out reported groups with some proving to be a lot more accurate than others (saw one leak of a group that did not even fit the rules).

Toronto FC were handed one of the toughest groups that they could have gotten under the new rule structure. They will face a rematch of their semifinal from earlier this year and a trip to Mexico to play Santos Laguna. Santos will again be one of the favourites to win the whole competition so getting out of this group will be a very tough task. The group is completed by El Salvadorian club Aguila who Toronto should be able to get 6 points off of but as with all trips to central America will mean a tricky away fixture and a lot of air miles.

For now it seems that we will have to wait to see the schedule for TFC as thus far CONCACAF has only provided the dates for each round of matches. The games will get underway on July 31st and the last games of the group stage will take place October 25th, and each team will only be playing on 4 of the 6 dates. That does mean that there is a lot of time between matches and the fixture congestion should not be too extreme.

The complete groups and match dates are as follows:

Group 1
Santos Laguna (MEX)
Toronto FC (CAN)
Aguila (SLV)

Group 2
Herediano (CRC)
Real Salt Lake (USA)
Tauro FC (PAN)

Group 3
Olimpia (HON)
Houston Dynamo (USA)

Group 4
Seattle Sounders FC (USA)
Marathon (HON)
Caribbean 1

Group 5
LA Galaxy (USA)
Metapan (SLV)
Caribbean 3

Group 6
Tigres UANL (MEX)
Alajuelense (CRC)
Real Esteli (NIC)

Group 7
Chorillo (PAN)
Monterrey (MEX)
Municipal (GUA)

Group 8
Xelaju (GUA)
Chivas de Guadalajara (MEX)
Caribbean 2

Match Day 1: July 31- August 2

Match Day 2: August 21-23

Match Day 3: August 28-30

Match Day 4: September 18-20

Match Day 5: September 25-27

Match Day 6: October 23-25