This is what RSL and the rest of the Champions League teams will be playing for.
When CONCACAF announced major changes to the Champions League format for the 2012/13 season it left RSL a bit relieved as now the number of group stage matches is down to 4 from 6 as now their will be 8 groups of 3 teams each. For the draw CONCACAF will use 3 "pots" with 8 teams in each pot that will be drawn into the groups, here are the teams in each pot:
- Pot A - Tigres (MX), Santos (MX), LA Galaxy (US), Seattle Sounders (US), Olimpia (HN), Herediano (CR), Xelaju (GT), and Chorillo (PA)
- Pot B - Chivas de Guadalajara (MX), Monterrey (MX), Houston Dynamo (US), Real Salt Lake (US), Toronto FC (CA), Isidro Metapan (SV), Marathon (HN), and Alajuelense (CR)
- Pot C - CD FAS (SV), Aguila (SV), Municipal (GT), Tauro FC (PA), Real Esteli (NI), and 3 yet to be determined Caribbean qualifies
Real Salt Lake will get trips to Costa Rica to face the top team from there Herediano, and to Panama to face Tauro FC, and both teams will make trips to Rio Tinto this summer as well. More than in year past the group stages will be huge as only the winners will advance and your final results in your group determine your spot in the knockout rounds as well. So expect lots of goals to be scored as teams will know that Goal Differential will be a huge factor this time around. Let us hope that this opponent from Panama doesn't employ Árabe Unido type tactics of laying down and waiting for stretchers.
While dates aren't final yet, we know that RSL was proposing their first match be at home on August, 21st, then a road match on September, 18th, another home match on September, 26th and then their final away match on October, 23rd. I am sure those dates will probably change as the final schedule is announced but now we know who will will be facing this summer.
So here is the full list of the groups that will be part of the 2012/13 version of the CONCACAF Champions League:
Santos Laguna (MEX)
Toronto FC (CAN)
Real Salt Lake (USA)
Tauro FC (PAN)
Houston Dynamo (USA)
Seattle Sounders FC (USA)
LA Galaxy (USA)
Tigres UANL (MEX)
Real Esteli (NIC)
Chivas de Guadalajara (MEX)
More on the Champions League as details come out.
OFF MY SOAPBOX