Vancouver Whitecaps FC will soon learn their group for the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League.
CONCACAF announced on Monday details for the draw of the upcoming edition of the tournament. The draw will take place on Monday, May 30 at 5 p.m. PT in Miami Beach, Florida, and will be streamed live worldwide on the official CONCACAF Facebook page.
Whitecaps FC have been slotted into Pot 2. They will be grouped with either a Mexican Liga MX side or American MLS side from Pot 3, and a team from Pot 1 that could be from Belize, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador, or the second qualifier from Panama. This means that the 'Caps cannot be in a group with a Costa Rican, Honduran or Guatemalan team, nor the top qualifying team from Panama.
Last year Vancouver were placed in Pot 3, and drawn into Group F with reigning MLS 2014 Supporters Shield winners Seattle Sounders FC and 2014 Honduras Clausura champions C.D. Olimpia. After a draw and win in their two home matches at BC Place, the 'Caps dropped their final two matches on the road and finished in third as Seattle advanced from Group F.
The 24 contestants that qualified for the competition, including the five MLS sides, will be sorted into eight groups of three teams using pots for the groups and clubs. The Group Stage of the Champions League will take place from August to October of this year, and the knockout rounds are set for early 2017.
Two of the 24 slots for the tournament still have to be filled, but games over the next week in El Salvador and Guatemala will determine the final two participating clubs.
Based on the results of the last four editions of the competition under the current format, the teams will be distributed as follows (in alphabetical order by country and then by chronological order qualified):
Pot 1: Police United FC (BLZ), Central F.C. (TRI), W Connection F.C. (TRI), Don Bosco FC (HAI), Real Estelí F.C. (NCA), C.D. Plaza Amador (PAN), Alianza F.C. (SLV), C.D. Dragón or C.D. Águila (SLV)
Pot 2: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (CAN), Club Sport Herediano (CRC), Deportivo Saprissa (CRC), Antigua FC (GUA), C.S.D. Comunicaciones or C.D. Suchitepéquez (GUA), C.D. Honduras Progreso (HON), Club Deportivo Olimpia (HON), Deportivo Árabe Unido (PAN)
Pot 3: Pumas UNAM (MEX), Tigres UANL (MEX), CF Monterrey (MEX), CF Pachuca (MEX), Sporting Kansas City (USA), New York Red Bulls (USA), FC Dallas (USA), Portland Timbers (USA)
The 2016-17 Champions League will qualify the winning team directly to the FIFA Club World Cup 2017. Liga MX's Club America are currently the reigning back-to-back champions after coming out victorious in the tournament in 2015 and 2016.