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What's at stake in final games of CONCACAF Champions League group stage

It’s almost #DecisionDay, but before that, some things will need to be decided in the CONCACAF Champions League. Three MLS teams are in action this week, with Real Salt Lake battling for qualification to the knockout rounds and the LA Galaxy – who have already advanced – in a clash that could have big seeding implications when the dust settles.

Three Liga MX teams are also in action and, again, advancement and seeding for the knockout rounds will be factors in every matchup.

Before we take the deep dive, here are your two pages to bookmark and refer back to as the week progresses: the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League standings and schedule.

It's quite possible that a few groups will see two teams tied at the top of the standings. In that case, the tiebreakers, per CCL regulations, are:

  1. head-to-head record (factoring in goal difference, then away goals)
  2. goal difference in all group matches
  3. goals scored in all group matches
  4. away goals scored in all group matches
  5. drawing of lots

It's still a little early to project exactly how the seeding will shake out, but here's the rub: The eight teams that advance will be seeded according to their points total in the group stage, with the tiebreakers as follows:

  1. best goal difference
  2. most goals scored
  3. most goals scored away
  4. most wins
  5. most away wins
  6. drawing of lots

The top four teams will have the advantage of hosting the second leg of their quarterfinal series at home. The winners will not be re-seeded for the semifinals: the winner of No. 1 vs. No. 8 will face the winner of No. 4 vs. No. 5, and the winner of No. 2 vs. No. 7 will face the winner of No. 3 vs. No. 6.

Here is what’s at stake in each CONCACAF Champions League group heading into the decisive matches, starting with MLS groups:

Group G (Real Salt Lake): RSL host Municipal (Guatemala) on Tuesday (10 pm ET; FS2, Sportsnet World, match preview). The scenario is simple for the Claret-and-Cobalt: Win or tie and they're through, lose and they're out. (Even a 1-0 loss, which would mirror RSL's 1-0 win in Guatemala, would not be enough, as Municipal would finish with more goals scored in group stage play, the next tiebreaker beyond head-to-head and goal differential.)

Group D (LA Galaxy): The Galaxy are at Comunicaciones (Guatemala) on Wednesday (10 pm ET; Fox Soccer Plus, Sportsnet World, match preview). They have already advanced, but a win would guarantee them 10 points – almost certainly putting them in the top four seeds for the knockout rounds and potentially good enough for a No. 1 seed, thanks to LA’s high goal differential. 

Group F (Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders): The Whitecaps travel to Olimpia (Honduras) on Thursday (10 pm ET; Sportsnet World), but the only thing on the line in Tegucigalpa will be pride. The Seattle Sounders have already advanced from the group with seven points. Though Vancouver can catch them with a win, Seattle’s superior head-to-head record has guaranteed their passage to the next round.

Group H (D.C. United): D.C. United have already advanced and played all their games. They have 10 points and a +6 goal differential, likely good enough for a top-four seed, but will be looking closely at results from around the continent.


Group A: Santos Laguna (Mexico) and Saprissa (Costa Rica) both sit on six points and face each other in a winner-take-all match with Santos hosting on Tuesday evening. In the event of a tie, Saprissa would advance on the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to their 2-1 home win earlier in the group stage.

Group B: Tigres (Mexico) have the inside track when they host Herediano (Costa Rica) on Wednesday evening, thanks to their three-point advantage in the standings. A win or tie for Tigres would see them through, but a victory of any margin for Herediano would guarantee them a superior head-to-head record vs. Tigres and a berth in the knockout rounds for the third time in four years.

Group C: Querétaro (Mexico) have already advanced and played all their games. They finished group play with only seven points, meaning they will likely miss out on home field advantage in the knockout rounds.

Group E: Club América are technically not through to the knockout stages yet, but they are the only team in the field that can reach 12 points, which would guarantee them the top seed in the quarterfinals. On Tuesday, they travel to play Motagua (Honduras), who need to win by at least five goals to eliminate América. In other words, the defending champions are good to go.