CONCACAF Champions League: Portland Timbers may have 2014-15 berth, pending USSF plan
The Portland Timbers might be participating in the next edition of the CONCACAF Champions League. Or maybe not.
They'll need to wait until Dec. 13 to find out.
As first reported by Prost Amerika and confirmed by MLSsoccer.com, that's when the CONCACAF executive committee will decide whether to accept a new proposal for determining the USA's four berths into the CCL.
The proposal, originated by MLS back in January and submitted by the U.S. Soccer Federation for formal CONCACAF approval, outlines the following suggested criteria for dishing out the CCL berths, as confirmed by the USSF on Thursday:
1) MLS Cup winner
2) Supporters' Shield winner (team with best regular-season record)
3) Other MLS regular-season conference winner that is not the Shield winner
4) US Open Cup winner
The only difference from the current set-up? Instead of the MLS Cup runner-up earning a CCL spot, that ticket would instead go to the other regular-season conference leader that is not the Supporters' Shield winner, making the the top spot in each conference more valuable.
If a single MLS team occupies more than one of the slots, or a Canadian team captures one of the above titles (Canada has one CCL berth awarded to the Canadian Championship winner), the CCL berth would go to the next best US-based MLS team based on regular-season record.
The plan is now pending the CONCACAF executive committee stamp of approval on Dec. 13, when the regional soccer body will also determine whether the new criteria take effect with the 2014-15 or the 2015-16 edition.
The winner of the CONCACAF Champions League advances to the prestigious FIFA Club World Cup which takes place every December.
Mexican club Monterrey will represent the region in Morocco this December, when they will do battle against the world's other regional champs – including Europe's Bayern Munich and South America's Atlético Mineiro – for the world title.
The knockout rounds of the 2013-14 CCL will begin in March, with three MLS clubs – the LA Galaxy, Sporting KC and San Jose – all facing Liga MX teams in the quarterfinals.