K.C. to face Deportivo Saprissa in CONCACAF Champions Cup opener
which will certainly be a Jamaican club -- while the Wizards were paired against traditional Costa Rican power and 2004 Champions Cup runner-up Deportivo Saprissa.
The Caribbean finalist will be decided later on Wednesday night, when Harbour View FC and Tivoli Gardens FC meet in Kingston in the second leg of their all-Jamaican series. The teams played to a 1-1 draw on December 8 in the Jamaican capital.
Both MLS teams were drawn at home for the first leg of the quarterfinal series, scheduled to be played on March 9, 2005, with the return leg played one week later. The semifinals are set for April 6 and 13, also home-and-home series, with the final to be played over two legs, scheduled for May 4 and 11. The winner of the tournament will participate in the 2005 FIFA Club World Championship scheduled for December 2005. The champions of each of the six soccer confederations are due to take part.
The other two quarterfinal series see Honduras power CD Olimpia taking on Mexico's Pumas UNAM, which won the FMF Primera Division's Torneo Apertura last week, and CF Monterrey of Mexico taking on Guatemalan side CSD Municipal. The two Mexican clubs and the two MLS sides were kept apart in Wednesday's draw so they would not meet at the quarterfinal stage.
In the semifinals, the winner of the Olimpia-Pumas series will face the winner of D.C. United's series, while the winner of the Monterrey-Municipal series will face the winner of the K.C. Wizards-Saprissa series.
D.C. United will be making their sixth appearance in the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 2005, the most of any MLS club. Their victory against Mexico's Toluca FC in 1998 was the first-ever triumph for a U.S. side in the continental club championship, which started in 1962.
United has never before faced a Jamaican team in the Champions Cup, but they twice defeated Caribbean competition in earlier tournaments, including an 8-0 victory against Trinidad & Tobago's Joe Public FC in the 1998 title run, still the club's record for the heaviest-ever win in official competition. In the short-lived CONCACAF Giants Cup in 2001, United defeated Jamaica's Arnett Gardens FC 5-1 on aggregate in the quarterfinals on their way to the final in the only edition of the event, which they lost 2-0 to Club America of Mexico.
Harbour View currently lead Jamaica's Wray and Nephew National Premier League with 25 points from 10 matches, having lost just once and scoring 23 goals. Tivoli Gardens, which defeated Harbour View 5-3 on aggregate to win the Premier League title last May, currently stand in fourth place with 20 points from 10 matches in the 12-team league. Last year's title was the third for Tivoli Gardens in club history, first since 1998/99, while Harbour View has won just one (1999/2000).
Harbour View had a remarkable run through Caribbean qualifying, defeating Montserrat's Ideal FC by a remarkable 30-1 on aggregate in the quarterfinals, then knocking off Suriname's Inter Moengotapoe 9-6 in the semifinals. Tivoli Gardens faced a slightly more difficult road, defeating Bassa FC of Antigua & Barbuda 4-2 on aggregate in their quarterfinal series, then slipping past Trinidad & Tobago's San Juan Jabloteh -- which last year barely lost to the Chicago Fire in the quarterfinals of the Champions Cup -- 2-1 on aggregate in the semis.
For the Kansas City Wizards, this is their second appearance in the CONCACAF Champions Cup. They played in the expanded 2002 event (which also included champions from the abandoned 2001 tournament) and reached the semifinals. The Wizards defeated Trinidad & Tobago's W Connection FC 3-0 on aggregate in the round-of-16, then upset Mexican outfit Santos Laguna 3-2 in the quarterfinals, overturning a one-goal deficit with a 2-0 second-leg victory at Arrowhead Stadium. The Wizards then lost to eventual runner-up Monarcas Morelia in the semifinals, losing 6-1 in the first leg in Mexico before playing to a 1-1 draw at home in the return leg.
Saprissa won their group in the first half of the 2004/05 Costa Rican Primera Division, qualifying for the four-team playoff which begins this weekend. The morados ("Violets") recorded the third-best record in the 12-team league, claiming 30 points from 16 matches, seven behind league-best CS Herediano. Last year Saprissa won their 23rd national championship -- tying them with arch-rival LD Alajuelense. Those two clubs have won every Costa Rican championship since 1993/94.
Saprissa has won two CONCACAF Champions Cup titles, coming within three seasons (1993 and 1995). They finished second in this year's UNCAF Club Championship -- the Central American qualifying tournament -- behind Municipal. Saprissa reached the Central American final four after defeating Nicaraguan club Real Esteli 5-0 on aggregate in the second round.
2005 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS CUP -- QUARTERFINAL DRAW
CD Olimpia (Honduras) - Pumas UNAM (Mexico)
D.C. United (USA) - winner Harbour View FC-Tivoli Gardens FC (both Jamaica)
CF Monterrey (Mexico) - CSD Municipal (Guatemala)
Kansas City Wizards (USA) - Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica)
*first leg home team listed first
QUARTERFINALS: March 9, 16
SEMIFINALS: April 6, 13
FINALS: May 4, 11
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.