While the Portland Timbers prepare for their upcoming match against Chivas USA in Southern California on Wednesday night (7:30pm PT, KPDX), across the country another important event is happening to help decide future Timbers opponents for later this summer.
At their headquarters in Miami, Fla., CONCACAF will hold a live webstreamed draw to determine the group-stage opponents for the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League.
Let’s back up a second. What's CONCACAF? What Champions League?
CONCACAF stands for the Confederation of North, Central and Caribbean Association Football and is the continental governing body for FIFA in the region. Member countries include the United States, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica and a host of others.
The CONCACAF Champions League, similar to the UEFA Champions League in Europe, is an annual competition between the best club teams from the various member countries across Central and North America along with the Caribbean. Progressing from a group stage to knockout round, the competition straddles the summer/fall of the MLS season and then into the knockout round in the spring of the following campaign.
The U.S. is granted four clubs into the competition based off the 2013 final results:
-The MLS Cup champion: Sporting Kansas City
-The Supporters Shield winner: New York Red Bulls
-The U.S. Open Cup champion: D.C. United
-The team with next best regular season record in conference opposite Supporters’ Shield winner: Portland Timbers
In total, there are 24 teams in the competition from across the member countries. The 24 teams are then comprised of eight groups of three teams playing four games against each other beginning in the late summer of 2014. Following the group stage, group winners advance to the quarterfinals in spring 2015.
The Portland Timbers find themselves in Pot B alongside D.C. United though no American nor Mexican teams may face each other in the group stage. Moreover, Mexican teams cannot be drawn against an MLS team. This will be Portland's first-ever appearance in this international competition.
Here are the possible opponents for Portland’s draw from Pot B:
-1 from Pot A: Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Olimpia (Honduras), Comunicaciones (Guatemala) or Tauro (Panama)
-1 from Pot C: Municipal (Guatemala), Chorrillo (Panama), either Dragón or FAS (El Salvador), Real Estelí (Nicaragua), Belmopan Bandits (Belize - subject to stadium meeting criteria), Puerto Rico Bayamón (Puerto Rico), Waterhouse (Jamaica) or Alpha United (Guyana)
Stay tuned to Timbers.com and @TimbersFC for updates on the final group. A group stage schedule will be released at a later date.