The 2015 MLS season is winding down, and while many teams have their attention on reaching the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, there are also 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League berths at stake.
CONCACAF awards four Champions League berths to US-based clubs and one to Canadian clubs.
With group play scheduled to begin in August 2016, two of five possible berths have already been claimed. With the Vancouver Whitecaps winning the Canadian Championship and Sporting Kansas City winning the US Open Cup earlier this year, both are guaranteed to participate.
Two of the remainning three berths will be determined by or on Decision Day, Oct. 25, when the regular-season winners of each conference are crowned.
The last spot will be earned by the winner of MLS Cup. However, there may be hope for some clubs, even if they do not claim any of those spots.
If any team occupies more than one slot, or any slot is occupied by a Canadian team (i.e. if Kansas City, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal or a regular-season conference champion goes on to win MLS Cup), then US teams who have not qualified otherwise are ranked according to regular-season record, with the unqualified team(s) with the next best record(s) receiving entry into the CCL.
So while your team may be chasing a Knockout Round bye or a championship trophy, keep in mind that they also have a shot at gaining a spot in next year's Champions League.
|2016-17 CCL berths|
|2015 MLS Cup champion||?|
|2015 Supporters' Shield champion||?|
|2015 conference regular-season winner||?|
|2015 US Open Cup champion||Sporting Kansas City|
|2015 Canadian Championship champion||Vancouver Whitecaps|