MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The stage is set.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC will meet Honduran side C.D. Olimpia and Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders FC in Group F of the 2015-16 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL).
“It couldn’t be any more competitive,” Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi told reporters on a conference call from the draw in Miami. “We’ve definitely got the most difficult group of the eight. You’ve got the Honduran champions and the Supporters’ Shield winners. Neither will be an easy game.”
The ‘Caps will play C.D. Olimpia and Sounders FC twice, once at home and once away, for a total of four matches between August and October 2015. The top team in each group will advance to the knockout stages, starting in early 2016.
The group stage schedule will be announced in the coming weeks – at which points single match tickets will go on sale. Note that SCCL group stage tickets are included in Whitecaps FC Season Ticket packages for those members who opted in.
This will be Whitecaps FC’s first appearance in the SCCL. The 'Caps qualified by finishing as the top Canadian MLS team in 2014 (which was agreed upon as a temporary solution since the 2015 Amway Canadian Championship won’t conclude in time to determine Canada’s representative).
Highlights from Olimpia's home leg vs. Portland in 2014
This will be Olimpia’s eighth consecutive SCCL appearance. They are the only club in CONCACAF to have qualified for every SCCL in its current format since the first one back in 2008-09. Last season, Olimpia beat out Portland Timbers in the group stage of the tournament.
Founded in 1912, Olimpia are Honduras’ most successful team with 29 domestic league titles. They are also the reigning Honduran champions and a rival of C.D. Motagua, the former club of Whitecaps FC midfielder Deybi Flores.
Olimpia play in a 34,000-seat stadium based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
“I’ve had plenty of experiences in Honduras as a player and a coach,” Lenarduzzi said. “You get a fantastic atmosphere so we’ve got that to look forward to.”
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
As if these two teams aren’t already familiar enough.
The rivalry between Vancouver and Seattle dates back to when both clubs were founded back in 1974 and it remains as strong as ever today. Something tells me a SCCL date will only take it to another level.
This will be Seattle’s fourth appearance in the SCCL. In 2012-13, they made a run to the semifinal before falling to Mexican side Santos Laguna.
“With the fixture congestion that we’re likely to have, the fact that it’s a short hop is something that is beneficial,” Lenarduzzi said. “That’s obviously countered by the fact that they are a very good side. They are one of the best teams in MLS.”
The groups for the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League, in order of position drawn, are as follows:
Group A: W Connection (Trinidad & Tobago), Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica), Santos Laguna (Mexico)
Group B: Isidro Metapán (El Salvador), CS Herediano (Costa Rica), Tigres (Mexico)
Group C: Verdes FC (Belize), San Francisco FC (Panama), Queretaro FC (Mexico)
Group D: Central FC (Trinidad & Tobago), CSD Comunicaciones (Guatemala), LA Galaxy (USA)
Group E: CD Walter Ferretti (Nicaragua), CD Motagua (Honduras), Club America (Mexico)
Group F: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Canada), CD Olimpia (Honduras), Seattle Sounders FC (USA)
Group G: Santa Tecla FC (El Salvador), CSD Municipal (Guatemala), Real Salt Lake (USA)
Group H: Montego Bay United (Jamaica), Arabe Unido (Panama), D.C. United (USA)
WHAT IS THE SCCL ANYWAY?
The Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League is a 24-team competition between the top clubs from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
The winner of the SCCL then qualifies for the annual FIFA Club World Cup, where they compete against the top teams from Asia, Africa, South America, Oceana, and Europe.
Real Madrid are the reigning Club World Cup champions.
Be a part of the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver! Whitecaps FC Season Tickets are now on sale. In addition to Season Tickets, Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket, and single match tickets. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.