2018 CONCACAF Champions League Bracket
Courtesy of CONCACAF

Your cheat sheet for the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League

The revamped 2018 CONCACAF Champions League begins this week with five MLS teams in action in the Round of 16.

Before the games begin across the continent, here's what you need to know about the competition and what's at stake from an MLS perspective.

The Format

The new competition is still called the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League, but in reality it bears resemblance to an expanded version of a previous version of the competition, the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

Starting this year, the tournament proper is now contested entirely in knockout round format, beginning with the Round of 16 this month (full bracket). Teams play a two-legged, total goals series in each round to advance. The teams that advance to the final in late April will play eight games in the competition in total.

What's at Stake?

As always, the winner gets to represent CONCACAF in the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup, a six-team tournament that will be held in late December in the United Arab Emirates.

From an MLS perspective, there is the added allure of becoming the first MLS side to win the competition since it was rebranded as the CONCACAF Champions League (The last MLS side to win a CONCACAF Champions Cup were the 2000 LA Galaxy).

Who Gets In?

Of the 16 entrants, 15 are automatic qualifiers based on their domestic play. The 16th team is Honduran side Olimpia, the winners of last fall's CONCACAF League, a qualifying tournament played only among Central American and Caribbean CONCACAF sides.

As far as MLS goes, the formula is relatively unchanged here. Four US sides and one Canadian side qualify. Four Liga MX sides are also in the field.

When Are the Games?

The Round of 16 begins Tuesday, with teams contesting their second legs the following week. Here's the full schedule for MLS teams:

Round of 16, 1st Leg

Round of 16, 2nd Leg

  • Tuesday, Feb. 27: Toronto FC vs. Colorado Rapids (8 pm ET | TSN2; UnivisionDeportes.com)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 28: FC Dallas vs. Tauro FC (8 pm ET | UnivisionDeportes.com)
  • Thursday, March 1: New York Red Bulls vs. Olimpia (8 pm ET | Univision Deportes)
  • Thursday, March 1: Seattle Sounders vs. Santa Tecla (10 pm ET | Univision Deportes)

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