CONCACAF announced yesterday changes to the way the Champions League will be run starting next year. They have done away with a round and added every team to group stage. The teams will be divided into eight groups of three. While this may not seem like huge news to everyone I feel these changes certainly affect each country differently and the two biggest beneficiaries are the United States and Mexico.
The reason that clubs from the United States and Mexico benefit so much is that the earliest they can meet is the quarterfinal round. Now this is not to be taken as that it is impossible for teams from outside these two countries to qualify for the quarterfinals but I think any US club that does not have to play in Mexico would have a better chance. There seems to be a mental block on US clubs, at least until recently, that travel to Mexico. They just can’t seem to win versus these clubs.
This is obviously a ways off, first game is during week of July 31, so there will be time to look at the exact teams and see which has the best chance. But I think that all of the US teams have a better chance to make it to the quarterfinals next year then they did this year. Now does this mean that a US team can finally win the league? Well the more teams that you have in the knockout stage the better chance you have.
This should be a fun league to watch and fun trips for all the clubs that participate. I can’t wait until Sporting KC makes it to the CCL and we can start talking about trips to Caribbean and Central America.