CONCACAF Champions League: DC United get kind draw; Portland Timbers to rack up air miles
CONCACAF conducted the draw for the 2014-15 Champions League on Wednesday, and reigning MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City will have a tough road to advance to the knockout stages for the second year running.
Sporting have arguably one of the toughest draws for the group stage in the coming tournament, as they will face powerhouse Costa Rican side Saprissa in addition to a rematch with Real Estelí in Group 2. Sporting racked up a win and a draw last year in CCL action against the Nicaraguan club.
The New York Red Bulls, in the CCL by virtue of the 2013 Supporters' Shield, will face El Salvador side FAS in Group 3, as well as a familiar foe in either Toronto FC or the Montreal Impact, depending on the winner of the current Canadian Championship, the first leg of which also took place on Wednesday.
The winners of the 2013 US Open Cup, D.C. United, received what appears to be a favorable draw, against Panamanian side Tauro FC and Jamaica's Waterhouse FC in Group 4.
The Portland Timbers, winners of their conference during the 2013 MLS regular season, have the longest road to travel, literally, among the MLS teams in the tournament. They were drawn with Honduras' Olimpia and Guyanese club Alpha United.
Reigning CCL champions Cruz Azul of Mexico were drawn with Costa Rica's Alajuelense and Panama's Chorrillo FC.
A reminder about the current format of the tournament: Only the group winners advance to the knockout stages.
The full draw for the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League (MLS teams in bold)"
Group 1: CD Pachuca (Mexico), Real España (Honduras), CSD Municipal (Guatemala)
Group 2: Sporting Kansas City (US), Saprissa (Costa Rica), Real Estelí (Nicaragua)
Group 3: New York Red Bulls (US), Montreal Impact/Toronto FC (Canada), Club Deportivo FAS (El Salvador)
Group 4: Tauro FC (Panama), D.C. United (US), Waterhouse FC (Jamaica)
Group 5: CD Olimpia (Honduras), Portland Timbers (US), Alpha United FC (Guyana)
Group 6: Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Cruz Azul (Mexico), Chorrillo FC (Panama)
Group 7: Club León (Mexico), Isidro Metapán (El Salvador), Belmopan Bandits (Belize)
Group 8: Comunicaciones FC (Guatemala), Club América (Mexico), Puerto Rico Bayamon FC (Puerto Rico)