Christian Gomez will compete against other South Americans.
Tony Quinn/MLS/

Get ready for Copa Sudamericana

  • Copa Sudamericana bracket >

    On Sept, 13, D.C. United will become the first team from the United States to compete in the Copa Sudamericana, or 'the South American Cup.' The tournament kicked off during the second week of August, as play began for a number of the 34 teams hoping to hoist the cup.

    All four of United's potential opponents faced off in their first-round games during the second week of August. Peruvian clubs Universitario and Alianza Atlético played to a 1-1 draw at Universitario's home field on Aug. 10 in the first leg of their series. Alianza Atlético battled Universitario again on Aug. 25 to a 1-1 tie, but Alianza Atlético advanced, winning 4-1 in penalty kicks, to move to the next round. Meanwhile, in the other series, Universidad Católica eliminated its cross-town rival, Universidad de Chile in a battle of Chilean powers. Despite losing 1-0 to Universidad de Chile in the return leg, Católica advanced to the next round because it won the first leg, 2-1, on August 11.

    In the next round, Atlético suffered a huge loss in the first of two games against Católica on Aug. 30. Católica downed Atlético 5-0, which should be enough, based on aggregate goals, for Católica to advance to the round-of-16 against D.C. United. The winner will be confirmed on Sept. 7, pending the results of the second match. The Black-and-Red's opponent, will travel to D.C. on Sept. 13, before meeting in the second leg on Sept. 22. Should United advance to the quarterfinal round, they would face one of four teams: Fluminense (Brazil), Santos FC (Brazil), Banfield (Argentina) or Estudiantes de LP (Argentina).

    The United States (D.C. United) and Mexico (Pumas UNAM and Club América) representatives, both members of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) join teams from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela to compete in this year's tournament. The Copa Sudamericana is organized by CONMEBOL (CONfederación sudaMEricana de FútBOL). CONMEBOL is headquartered in Paraguay and was created in 1916 by Uruguayan Héctor Rivadavia Gómez, with the intentions of uniting soccer in South America.

    The Copa Sudamericana began in 2002 after the Copa Mercosur, which was originally created to provide competing teams with money gained from television exposure, folded in 2001 after just four years of play. The Copa Mercosur feautured just five premier South American countries. In 2002, the Copa Sudamerica featured nine South American countries, then added Brazil in 2004, and has expanded in 2005 to include Mexico and the United States. Today, the Copa Sudamericana is highly successful. The winner of the competition will take home $795,000, while the runner-up will receive $695,000.

    The Copa Sudamericana is now the second most prestigious tournament for South American teams in the CONMEBOL, the first being the the Copa Libertadores de América ("Liberators of the American Cup"). The Copa Sudamericana has been compared to the competition level of the UEFA Cup while the Copa Libertadores de América is closely compared to the competition level of the UEFA Champions League. Many of the teams competing in the Copa Sudamericana also compete in the Copa Libertadores.

    San Lorenzo De Almagro (Argentina) won the inagural cup in 2002 followed by Cienciano (Peru) in 2003. The Argentinian power, Boca Juniors is the defending 2004 champion.

    Download the 2005 Copa Sudamericana bracket >

    Teams competing in Copa Sudamerican 2005:
    Banfield (Argentina)
    Estudiantes de LP (Argentina)
    Newell's Old Boys (Argentina)
    Rosario Central (Argentina)
    Velez Sarsfield (Argentina)
    River Plate (Argentina)
    Fluminense (Brazil)
    Santos FC (Brazil)
    Internacional (Brazil)
    Sao Paulo FC (Brazil)
    Juventude (Brazil)
    Cruzeiro (Brazil)
    Golas (Brazil)
    Corinthians (Brazil)
    Univ. de Chile (Chile)
    Univ. Catolica (Chile)
    Universitario (Peru)
    Alianza Atletico (Peru)
    Bolivar (Bolivia)
    The Strongest (Boliva)
    El Nacional (Ecuador)
    LDU Quito (Ecuador)
    Defensor Sporting (Uruguay)
    Danublo (Uruguay)
    Guarani (Paraguay)
    Cerro Porteno (Paraguay)
    Deportivo Cali (Colombia)
    Atletico Nacional (Colombia)
    Trujillanos (Venezuela)
    Mineros de Guayana (Venezuela)
    D.C. United (USA)
    Pumas UNAM (Mexico)
    America (Mexico)
    Boca Juniors (Argentina)

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