Did you like the latest iteration of the CONCACAF Champions League? You know the one — it has a group stage with three-team groups.
Yeah, it’s gone, and there’s a new structure in its place.
There’s no group stage now, but there’s a qualifying tournament that will add a single member to the final 16-stage CONCACAF Champions League. Four teams from the United States will make it to the final stage, as will four from Mexico. A host of others make it, too — see below.
But now, rather than playing several times in the group stage, you’re basically thrust into what CONCACAF is calling a “direct-elimination format” — so, a single-elimination tournament, albeit one where each leg is contested home and away. (Did you know that ‘direct elimination’ is most often used to describe fencing tournament brackets?✨)
31 teams, one winner
Qualifying tournament: 16 teams
- Qualifying tournament for teams from Central America and the Caribbean, with the champion progresses to CONCACAF Champions League
CONCACAF Champions League: 16 teams
- Four U.S. teams — MLS Cup, Supporters Shield, opposing conference winner, U.S. Open Cup winner
- Four Mexican teams — Champion and runners-up in Apertura, Clausura
- Five champions of Central American leagues — Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador
- Caribbean Club Championship winner
- Canadian Cup winner
- Qualifying tournament winner
How are teams seeded?
Places in the two phases will be based on the performances of member associations’ clubs over the nine-year history of the current CONCACAF Champions League. The ranking results will be revealed in the coming weeks.
I want to know more
Trust me, so do we. Not that it matters right now. Sigh. Here are a couple reads from CONCACAF itself. You know, the horse’s mouth.