Champions League Draw Groups Come Out Without Many Surprises
The CONCACAF Champions League draw saw very little intrigue on Wednesday night. The draw went through smoothly and all 24 teams that will be involved in this continental tournament will begin play in August.
There was no group that could be called a "group of death" in this stage as no American or Mexican sides were allowed to be in the same group. That aspect of the tournament aids in having some of the drama emerge in the latter stages of the competition as two teams out of each group will advance and will be drawn into knockout stage ties later on.
If there is a team that has to travel a great deal in the group stage it will be the Portland Timbers. Caleb Porter's side will have to take a trip to the Northern portion of South America to play that country's league champs Alpha United. They will also have to take a trip to Central America where they will face a raucous crowd as Olimpia FC will look to complicate things for last season's Western Conference top dogs in the MLS regular season.
Sporting KC will have to play on the hard turf of the Ricardo Saprissa but they will surely make it a Blue Hell when the men in purple in the return leg.
The New York Red Bulls will wait to see who the Canadian champions could be as a clash with Toronto FC could make this group the most interesting group to watch. Do not count out Salvadorean side FAS who tends to be a squad that gives teams a hard time in their own backyard.
Liga MX Perspective
Club León right now could be considered one of the favorites to win this tournament based on their present form. Although we've seen how they perform when they have to play on multiple fronts. León do have a very accessible group when they face Isidro Metapan and Belize champs Belmopan Bandits.
Club América return to this tournament after having been eliminated surprisingly in the group stage in last year's edition. Antonio Mohamed could look to face this tournament full on with a chance to get out of the group stage and make a serious run at the title and look to represent CONCACAF in the Club World Cup for the first time since 2006.
Pachuca will also look to put up a fight as they are one of the teams that has to travel the least from a distance perspective. They will fly to Honduras as well as Guatemala in order to fulfill their
For Puerto Rico Bayamón FC, they will go on a trip of a lifetime as they will be facing Mexican side Club América at Estadio Azteca. Immediately after the draw was made, there was talk about the club taking advantage of this tie. Early reports state that they will play their home match against the Azulcremas over in Dallas, Tex. The early indicator is that they will look to play at Toyota Stadium in Frisco.
"We are extremely glad to be facing the challenge we have right now," said PR Bayamón press secretary Héctor Morales. "It's a step in the right direction for this club."
The club board present are currently discussing this prospect and an official statement will be made in the coming days regarding this change of venue.
Group 1: Pachuca CF (MEX), Real España (HON), Municipal (GUA)
Group 2: Sporting KC (USA), Saprissa (CR), Real Estelí (NIC)
Group 3: New York Red Bulls (USA), Canada 1, FAS (ESA)
Group 4: Tauro FC (PAN), DC United (USA), Waterhouse FC (JAM)
Group 5: Olimpia (HON), Portland Timbers (USA), Alpha United (GUY)
Group 6: Alajuelense (CR), Cruz Azul (MEX), Chorrillo FC (PAN)
Group 7: Club León (MEX), Isidro Metapán (ESA), Belmopan Bandits (BEL)
Group 8: Comunicaciones (GUA), Club América (MEX), Puerto Rico Bayamón FC (PUR)