THE CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IS BACK
Marco D'Onofrio takes a peak at the CONCACAF Champions League draw and whether this could finally be the year an MLS team is victorious.
The draw for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League took place in early December with MLS being represented by Toronto FC, Sporting Kansas City, Houston Dynamo, Atlanta United, and the New York Red Bulls.
Last season, Toronto came closer than any other MLS club to winning the tournament, but lost in the final in a heart-breaking penalty shoot-out to Chivas Guadalajara. They also had one of the most difficult paths to get to the final, having to take on the Colorado Rapids and three consecutive Mexican clubs – Tigres, Club America, and
This year though, the draw has been much kinder as they play Panamanian side Independiente in the Round of 16 before meeting either Sporting KC or Toluca in the quarter-finals if they advance. The New York Red Bulls also mounted a serious run in the continental competition last season, reaching the semi-finals before ultimately being eliminated by the eventual champions. The tournament has always been won by a Mexican club and with the continual growth of MLS both on and off the pitch, 2019 could finally be the year a team from MLS wins the tournament.
The competition kicks off before the MLS regular season, with the first Round of 16 game taking place on February 19th. It'll conclude with the second leg of the final on May 2nd.