Four Liga MX teams learn Concachampions fate

Sixteen teams will be vying to succeed Monterrey as Concacaf Champions League winners. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Sixteen teams will be vying to succeed Monterrey as Concacaf Champions League winners. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) /
Liga MX CCL fate
The CCL quarterfinals could offer soccer fans a tasty Liga MX vs MLS clash between León and the Seattle Sounders. The two clubs met in the Leagues Cup Final in September with the Esmeraldas hoisting the trophy. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

We’re about two months away from the first 2022 Concacaf Champions League matches, but it’s not too early to salivate with anticipation.

The draw for the Round of 16 was held this week and fans will get to see a MLS vs Liga MX clash right off the bat.

The brackets were also released allowing Concachampions devotees to imagine how the quarterfinals and semifinals might play out.

The 2022 CCL kicks off on Feb. 15 and is set to conclude on May 5, providing viewers with 29 games across 11 weeks. The one thing we know for certain is that we’ll have a new champion since holders Rayados de Monterrey did not qualify.

The participants

Four Mexican teams qualified for the 2022 Concachampions tournament based on a familiar formula – the two Liga MX finalists from the previous year. That means León and UNAM (Guardianes 2020 Final) as well as Cruz Azul and Santos Laguna (Guardianes 2021 Final) are in the mix this time around.

The other 12 teams are as follows:

MLS – NYCFC (2021 MLS Cup champs), New England Revolution (Supporters Shield winners), Colorado Rapids (Western Conference champs), Seattle Sounders (best 2021 ranking) and CF Montreal (Canadian representative)

Guatemala – Comunicaciones (2021 Concacaf League winners) and Guastatoya (2021 Concacaf League semifinalist)

Honduras – Motagua (2021 Concacaf League finalist)

Canada – Forge FC (2021 Concacaf League semifinalist)

Costa Rica – Saprissa (best-ranked 2021 Concacaf League losing quarterfinalist) and Santos de Guápiles (second best 2021 Concacaf League losing quarterfinalist)

Haiti – Cavaly (2021 Concacaf Caribbean Club champs)

Liga MX teams now know opponents

The draw was held on Dec. 15 in Miami and resulted in the following Round of 16 series:

Guastatoya vs León; Motagua vs Seattle Sounders; Comunicaciones vs Colorado Rapids; Santos de Guápiles vs NYCFC; Saprissa vs UNAM; Cavaly vs New England Revolution; Santos Laguna vs CF Montreal; Forge FC vs Cruz Azul

Of the four Liga MX clubs, Santos got the toughest draw as they’ll have to face CF Montreal, formerly known as the Montreal Impact. Although the Canadian club had a down year in MLS this season (12-12-10), the club reached the CCL final back in 2015 before losing to América.

If Santos advances, they could face Cruz Azul in the quarterfinals (the Cementeros will be huge favorites to get past Forge FC, a Canadian Premier League franchise that is just four years old).

At the top of the bracket, fans will be anticipating a León-Seattle Sounders quarterfinal match-up. For this to happen, León – the losing Liga MX finalist this season – would have to defeat Guatemalan minnows Guastatoya (until recently coached by former Santos and Chivas manager Daniel Guzmán) while Seattle faces Motagua in the Round of 16.

The Liga MX side defeated Seattle for the 2021 Leagues Cup trophy by winning a thrilling 3-2 finals contest at the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium last September. The Liga MX has won both Leagues Cup tournaments played thus far (Cruz Azul won in 2019 while the 2020 event was canceled).

The final Liga MX team – UNAM – also faces a tough challenge, drawing Costa Rican powerhouse Saprissa.

The two-legged Round of 16 will be played between Feb. 15-24; the two-legged quarterfinals are set for March 8-17; the two-legged semifinals will take place from April 5-14, while the Finals dates are yet to be established (the first leg in the last week of April with the second leg expected to be scheduled for between May 3-5.

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