Wizards open 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup against Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica

The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) announced the pairings for the 2005 CONCACAF Champions' Cup today in New York. The Wizards drew Costa Rican club Deportivo Saprissa in the first round, two-leg series. Kansas City will host the first leg on Wednesday, March 9th and play the second leg in Costa Rica on Wednesday, March 16th.

"We look forward to the challenge and are pleased to be a part of this prestigious tournament," said Wizards General manager Curt Johnson. "Bettering our semifinal run in the 2002 Champions' Cup will be an important priority for our club in 2005."

The winner of the Kansas City-Deportivo Saprissa series will face the winner of CF Monterrey (Mexico) and CSD Municipal (Guatemala) in the Semifinals beginning in April 2005. D.C. United will take on the winner of tonight's Jamaican qualifying match between Harbour View FC and Tivoli Gardens FC. The final first round paring features Pumas UNAM (Mexico) against CD Olímpia (Honduras).

Kansas City, CF Monterrey, D.C. United and CD Olímpia will all host the first leg match in the opening round. All venues and kickoff times will be determined in the near future. First round dates are also subject to change. The Semifinal series will be played April 6th and April 13th, while the Champions' Cup Final Series will be played May 4th and May 11th.

The 2005 CONCACAF Champions' Cup winner will earn a berth in the 2005 FIFA World Club Championship, a six-team tournament to be held in Japan in December 2005. The champion of each of the six Confederations - CONCACAF (North & Central America & Caribbean), CONMEBOL (South America), UEFA (Europe), AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa) and OFC (Oceania) - will take part in the World Club Championship.

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