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Concacaf Draw

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NEW YORK - Two-time runner-up Cruz Azul of Mexico will face Panama's San Francisco in the Preliminary Round of the 2010-2011 CONCACAF Champions League while the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Puerto Rico Islanders also will square off when the third edition of the tournament begins in July.

The draw conducted Wednesday by deputy general secretaries Ted Howard and Italo Zanzi at the confederation's New York headquarters set the Preliminary Round pairings and matchups for the Group Stage, including a potentially difficult quartet of Monterrey of Mexico, Costa Rica's Saprissa, the Seattle Sounders and Marathon of Honduras.

Seattle first would have to beat a yet-to-be determined Central American side in the Preliminary Round, while Marathon - a quarterfinalist this past season - will take on Tauro FC of Panama.

Two berths originally were allocated to El Salvador, but FIFA has suspended the country due to governmental interference in the federation's affairs. The government has until June 8 to comply with FIFA's non-intervention requirements or its teams will be barred from international competition, including the Champions League - and its berths will be reassigned.

CD FAS already has qualified with one of El Salvador's berths, and the second would go to either Aguila or Metapan.

Cruz Azul reached the finals in the first two years of the Champions League, losing to fellow Mexican sides Atlante in 2009 and Pachuca in May. This is the third consecutive season Cruz Azul has been forced into the Preliminary Round and is one of six teams to qualify each year since the Champions League was inaugurated.

Other Preliminary Round matches will have the Mexican Clausura runner-up -- either Santos or Toluca -- facing San Juan Jabloteh of Trinidad, Costa Rica's Brujas facing Joe Public of Trinidad, the Canadian champion - either Toronto FC or the Vancouver Whitecaps - against Motagua of Honduras, and Xelaju of Guatemala against a Central America club.

In the Group Stage, MLS champion Real Salt Lake will lead Group A with Arabe Unido of Panama, the Cruz Azul-San Francisco winner and the winner between the Canadian champion and Motagua.

Group B will consist of the Columbus Crew, Municipal of Guatemala, the winner between Jabloteh and Toluca/Santos, and either Brujas or Joe Public.

Monterrey heads Group C while the Mexican Clausura champ, either Santos or Toluca, will top Group D with Olimpia of Honduras, the Galaxy-Islanders winner and the Central America 11-Xelaju winner.

The tournament will begin July 27-29 with the first leg of the Preliminary Round and the second leg a week later. The winners will advance to the Group Stage, the first round is set for August 17-19.


(Host of first leg listed first)

Central America 11 vs. Xelaju (GUA)

Brujas (CRC) vs. Joe Public (TRI)

San Juan Jabloteh (TRI) vs. Santos-Toluca (Mexican Clausura runner-up)

San Francisco (PAN) vs. Cruz Azul (MEX)

Los Angeles Galaxy (USA) vs. Puerto Rico Islanders (PUR)

Tauro FC (PAN) vs. Marathon (HON)

Seattle Sounders (USA) vs. Central America 12

Toronto-Vancouver (Canadian champion) vs. Motagua (HON)


Group A

Real Salt Lake (USA)

Arabe Unido (PAN)

San Francisco/Cruz Azul winner

Toronto-Vancouver/Motagua winner

Group B

Columbus Crew (USA)

Municipal (GUA)

San Juan Jabloteh/Santos-Toluca (Mexican Clausura runner-up) winner

Brujas/Joe Public winner

Group C

Monterrey (MEX)

Saprissa (CRC)

Seattle/Central America 12 winner

Tauro/Marathon winner

Group D

Santos/Toluca (Mexican Clausura champion)

Olimpia (HON)

Los Angeles Galaxy/Puerto Rico Islanders winner

Central America 11/Xelaju winner

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^ Oh yeah, forgot about that...my guess is Costa Rica and Honduras will each get another spot.

edit: So just found out that Nicaragua and Belize lost their spots due to lack of suitable stadia again...which is the reason we're playing Motagua in the first round. Honduras and Panama now have 3 spots each. If El Salvador do not get back in then i assume their spots to go to Costa Rica and Guatemala.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Was curious as to what their stadium was lacking so did an online translation of the following article:

A Concacaf commission checked a few weeks ago the progress realized in the Stadium Independence and the construction of the National in Managua, and the orientations indicate that it goes away for good way to have very quickly at least an installation that fulfills the requirements of the tournament Concachampions and the duels of the Blue one and Target.

In communication that Concacaf sent to the leaders of the Real Estelí, he explains the principal requests that need to be employed at the Independence to enable it for international competitions before April 15, 2010. Of one of the two is not ready in this time, Nicaragua will remain without taking part in the Champions League of the Concacaf.

Between the more emphasized, to work, it is reposicionar and to redistribute the artificial lights to the minimum of approximately 800 Lux in the whole field. But there told the manager of the Estelí, Helmuth Hurtado, that the stadium has 850 of lux but anyone are not well directed to the field of play and rather they focus in the bleachers.

“There are things that we are still to rectify. We had already received this recommendation when the commission came and soon we are going to solve it”, he added Stolen.

Also they must improve the field for the minimal standards. “As soon as I finished the Tournament Opening it goes to remove the area and relocate natural Bermuda grass that fulfills the requirements that a stadium needs to enable it for the Concachampions that is our principal target”, added Hemulth.

Other topics to be treated in the Independence are to mark clearly the routes of evacuation and doors of emergency exit of the stadium, and to complete the construction of dressing-rooms, cabins of television, radio, box of press, area VIP and bankings covered for players substitutes and the fourth umpire.

In the Independence they must construct platforms for TV cameras in the roof of the area VIP. The board of the Real Estelí must send a letter to the General Secretary of Concacaf, Check Blazer, confirming that the team agrees in allowing the use of his stadium for other clubs of the country that classify the Concachampions and in addition to the national teams.

With regard to the National Stadium of Managua there are many things for constructing, precisely in that the recommendations of the Concacaf focus.

Here is their championship celebration:

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Thanks for the info on Real Estelí guys, I lived and worked there for a full year, 4 years ago, and went to all the matches while there, including a Championship match against Costa Rica's Saprissa they drew 1-1 (of course they got massacred on the away leg).

I keep in touch with some of my buddies back there, and they are royally p#ssed off.

Of course, the stadium was always a disaster in the making in terms of security and death, but a lot better than most in the third world. It was a proper footie field though, and the pitch was in pretty good shape, probably better than most of the CSL pitches. Most of the other pitches in the Nicaraguan first division are unconverted baseball fields, so the Estelíenos were quite proud of their pitch. And, who needs lights, footie should be played in the daylight. They did have television cameras on the roof, who cares if they fell through occaisonally. Perhaps they will get one of the El Salvador places in the end, I hope so, so El Tren del Norte (club nickname) can get out of the station.

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