Costa Rica Sports – MLS teams dodged most of the danger in Monday’s CONCACAF Champions League draw.
With clubs from around the region in two pots, the clear danger for most MLS teams was the chance of being drawn against Costa Rican giants Saprissa or Herediano. The Costa Rican sides will instead face Mexican teams, with MLS clubs largely coming away content with their round of 16 opponents.
Herediano will play against recently crowned Liga MX champion Tigres, who also won the 2016 Apertura. The teams will remember each other from last year’s edition of the competition when they were in the same group, which Tigres advanced out of after losing just once.
Costa Rica’s other representative in the tournament, Saprissa, also will play a familiar Mexican foe in Club America. Las Aguilas knocked Saprissa out of the 2014-15 quarterfinals on the way to the title.
Chivas and Tijuana, the Liga MX sides returning to international club competition after a long absence, were given much more favorable draws. Chivas take on Caribbean champion Cibao, which hails from the Dominican Republic, while Tijuana will meet Honduran club Motagua.
This is the first time the tournament will be contested in this format, with the tournament running from February to April instead of from the previous summer to the spring. That means a slimmer margin for error for the big clubs in the tournament but also far less travel. Managers also are pleased with fewer fixtures that draw attention away from league contests.
The first leg of the round of 16 games will take place between Feb. 20-22, with the second legs coming between Feb. 27-March 1.
By Jon Arnold, Goal.com