Toronto FC will be in pot one when the draw for the first round of the CONCACAF Champions League is made on December 18.
The Reds qualified for the continental competition by winning back-to-back Canadian Championships. The tournament’s change in format, which essentially created a lost year, necessitated Toronto winning their national competition twice in a row - or else having to play through a one-off game against the other winner - in order to seal their place for 2018.
The American spots, which are decided through MLS and U.S. Open Cup play, will be handled slightly differently. U.S. Soccer will send its 2016 qualifiers into the competition in 2018, meaning the Seattle Sounders, New York Red Bulls, Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas will be its representatives.
In 2019, U.S. Soccer will send the 2017 MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup winners - as well as the 2018 winners as normal - instead of its regular-season conference champions.
Dallas, Seattle and New York will join Toronto in the stronger pot one, while Colorado are in pot two. The pots are based on the CONCACAF Club Index, which is a system by which the participating teams are ranked.
The full lineup of teams is as follows:
Pot One: Chivas (Mexico), Club America (Mexico), FC Dallas (USA), New York Red Bulls (USA), Seattle Sounders (USA), Tigres (Mexico), Tijuana (Mexico), Toronto FC (Canada)
Pot Two: Cibao FC (Dominican Republic), Colorado Rapids (USA), CS Herediano (Costa Rica), FC Motagua (Honduras), Olimpia (Honduras), Santa Tecla FC (El Salvador), Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica), Tauro FC (Panama)
Under its new format, the CONCACAF Champions League goes straight into a round-of-16 knockout stage and begins in February. Teams will play each other home and away in successive rounds, leading up to the final in April.
Clubs from the same member association cannot face each other in the first round - but as Toronto’s berth in this competition comes through Canada Soccer and not MLS, they could be drawn against Colorado. TFC will play on the road in the first leg.
The draw will also shed some light on who Toronto may face in future rounds, should they advance. The winning teams from matches 1, 3, 5 and 7 - the match numbers will also be decided by a blind draw - will play the winners of ties 2, 4, 6 and 8 respectively in the quarter-finals.
The semi-finals will also use the same bracket, with performance rankings based on the previous two rounds deciding who plays away from home first.
The draw will be conducted at the Univision Studios in Miami, Florida. TSN holds the rights to the competition in Canada, but it has not yet been announced whether or not they will broadcast the draw live.