Match dates for the 2021 Concacaf Champions League have been announced, with Major League Soccer’s four confirmed entrants set to learn their opponents in the Feb. 10 draw in Miami, Fla.
Toronto FC could make it five entrants if they beat Canadian Premier League side Forge FC in the to-be-scheduled Canadian Championship final. Columbus Crew SC (MLS Cup), Philadelphia Union (Supporters’ Shield), the Portland Timbers (MLS is Back Tournament) and Atlanta United (2019 U.S. Open Cup) are already into the continental tournament.
The 2021 CCL, which typically would start in mid-February, will now begin in April due to challenges around the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 edition was disrupted for eight months, and ultimately altered, as the public-health situation had a profound impact on international competitions.
The Round of 16 will be played between April 6-8 (first leg) and April 13-15 (second leg). There are then home-and-away quarterfinals in late-April and early-May, as well as two-legged semifinals in mid-August and late-August. The 2021 CCL will be capped by a single-leg final, with the host determined by best performance in the earlier rounds through wins, draws and, if required, goal difference.
MLS is targeting a start to the 2021 season in March, which could give MLS teams more match fitness and sharpness for CCL tests.
2021 CCL calendar
- Draw: February 10
- Round of 16: April 6-8 (first leg) and April 13-15 (second leg)
- Quarterfinals: April 27-29 (first leg) and May 4-6 (second leg)
- Semifinals: August 10-12 (first leg) and August 24-26 (second leg)
- Final: October 26-28 (single leg)
The winner of this year’s CCL competition will qualify for the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup. MLS teams have never advanced to that global club competition, with LAFC narrowly missing out in 2020 before losing to Tigres UANL in the final.
Clubs from around North America qualify for the CCL via domestic leagues and cup competitions, as well as the Concacaf League. The full list of entrants can be found below.
- Canada: Forge FC or Toronto FC*
- Costa Rica: Deportivo Saprissa and LD Alajuelense
- Dominican Republic: Club Atletico Pantoja
- Haiti: Arcahaie FC
- Honduras: CD Marathon and CD Olimpia
- Mexico: Club America, Club Leon, Cruz Azul and CF Monterrey
- Nicaragua: Real Esteli FC
- USA: Atlanta United FC, Columbus Crew SC, Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers