PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have been drawn into Group 5 of the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League tournament alongside Club Deportivo Olimpia of Honduras and Alpha United FC of Guyana. The CONCACAF Champions League draw, which set the eight, three-team pairings that comprise the tournament’s group stage, was held Wednesday night at the InterContinental at Doral Miami in Doral, Fla. The full tournament schedule will be announced at a later date while the eventual CONCACAF Champions League winner will earn a berth in the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup.
The 2014-15 edition of the competition marks Portland’s first-ever berth in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament. Portland qualified for the tournament by virtue of finishing with the best overall record from the conference opposite the MLS Supporters’ Shield winner in 2013. Along with Portland, MLS Cup-champion Sporting Kansas City, U.S. Open Cup-champion D.C. United and Supporters’ Shield-winner New York Red Bulls represent the four U.S.-based MLS clubs in the competition.
The Timbers will play both teams at home and away in a round-robin format and the club with the most points from the group will advance to the tournament’s knockout round. The knockout round will consist of a two-legged, aggregate-goals series with away goals used as the first tiebreaker. The winner of the CONCACAF Champions League tournament will represent the confederation in the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup.
Club Deportivo Olimpia, the 2014 Clausura champions of Honduras’ Liga Nacional, finished in first place in the regular-season standings with a record of 9-5-4 (32pts). In the playoffs, Olimpia earned a 2-0 win on aggregate over C.D. Victoria in the semifinals before capturing the championship in a dramatic, 4-2 penalty-kick shootout win over C.D. Marathón. Founded in 1912 in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, Olimpia has garnered a record 28 Liga Nacional championships. Known as the Leones, the club lifted the CONCACAF Champions Cup on two occasions, winning the tournament in 1972 and 1988. Led by forward Roger Rojas (17 goals combined in the 2013 Apertura and 2014 Clausura seasons) and Anthony Lozano (16 goals), Olimpia has qualified for seven straight CONCACAF Champions League tournaments since the competition adopted its current format for the 2008-09 edition.
Based in Georgetown, Guyana, Alpha United FC qualified for the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League tournament as one of three group winners from the 2014 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship, shutting out Trinidad and Tobago side Defence Force and Jamaica’s Harbour View in consecutive matches as Grenada international Kithson Bain scored two of the team’s three goals in group play. Making their second appearance in CONCACAF Champions League, Alpha United FC qualified for the 2011-12 Preliminary Round before falling 10-2 on aggregate against Costa Rican side Herediano. Alpha United FC are five-time winners of the GFF National Super League, Guyana’s domestic league.
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) is the governing body of football in the region, and one of six continental authorities that administer the sport along with FIFA, the world governing body. Founded in 1962 as the CONCACAF Champions Cup, the CONCACAF Champions League tournament adopted its current format in 2008 and crowns the continental club champion among a field of 24 teams representing CONCACAF member associations. The 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League tournament marks the 50th overall edition of the annual international club competition.