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  1. Concacaf Announces Scotiabank Concacaf League Expansion Canadian Premier League gets 1 spot as of July 2019 (Whoever has the most points by then?) 22 clubs 12 Clubs plays (home/away) on the 1st round. Winners joined the next 10 highest ranked teams in Round 2 for the Round of 16 (Knockout Stage) The Winner of the CONCACAF League goes to 2020 Champions League The remaining 15 clubs will be ranked from 1 to 15 Best next 5 also joins 2020 Champions League CPL path to the 2020 Champions League A CPL club must make it to the round of 16 by winning in round 1. That club must advance to the quarter finals to be part of the final 8 A-If the CPL Club wins, they automatically advance to the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League B-If they lose, they most rank as the top 2 of the losing teams from the quarter finals (tie breakers) to advance to 2020 CONCACAF Champions League https://www.concacafleague.com/en/article/concacaf-announces-scotiabank-concacaf-league-expansion The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) today announced that the Scotiabank Concacaf League – the official club championship for Central American and Caribbean clubs – will expand from 16 to 22 teams to include five additional Central American clubs and one Canadian Premier League club for 2019 and beyond. The competition will additionally now serve as the qualifying tournament for Central America clubs to the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League. “We are very excited to take a major step forward to enhance our expanded Concacaf Club Competition Platform,” said Concacaf General Secretary Philippe Moggio. “We are creating a larger Scotiabank Concacaf League that will increase the opportunities for our members in the Caribbean and Central America to play more relevant, competitive matches. With 22 teams participating, the window of access is wider, providing greater chances to qualify to the region’s premier tournament for clubs, the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.” The competition, which will continue to be played in a knockout format, will now kick off with a preliminary round in July. The 12 clubs set to participate in this initial round will be drawn into six home-and-away fixtures. The winners, to be determined on aggregate goals, will join the top nine ranked Central American clubs and the runner-up of the Caribbean Club Championship in the Round of 16. In addition to qualifying its champion to the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, the tournament will qualify an additional five teams. At the end of the competition, clubs will we ranked 1-15, in accordance with the competition tie-breaking procedure. The top five ranked clubs will automatically qualify for the 2020 edition of the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League. For 2019, the Member Association slots have been allocated as follows (in alphabetical order by Member Association): Preliminary Round (12 clubs): Belize 1, Canada 2, Caribbean 3, Caribbean 4, Costa Rica 3, El Salvador 2, El Salvador 3, Guatemala 2, Guatemala 3, Honduras 3, Nicaragua 2 and Panama 3 Round of 16 (10 + 6 winners of the Preliminary Round): Caribbean 2, Costa Rica 1, Costa Rica 2, El Salvador 1, Guatemala 1, Honduras 1, Honduras 2, Nicaragua 1, Panama 1 and Panama 2. The venue, date and time for the official draw that will sort the participating clubs for the preliminary round and round of 16 will be announced in the coming months. Inaugurated in 2017, the Scotiabank Concacaf League has opened the door for a wider participation of Caribbean and Central American clubs, providing them an opportunity to play more relevant matches, at a higher level and the possibility of qualifying for the Confederations premier competition for clubs, the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
  2. Have a listen! You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 20,000 other shows HERE. Or after all that, you could just listen on the player below!
  3. Needing that one point is based on TFC closing out their season with two wins. I'll let Toronto fans be the gauge of how likely that will be, but it looks like that job has been done for Vancouver. Chalk that one up 'Caps. Somewhat surprising really considering the preseason spending of both sides as we covered a couple of days ago. Whilst it's easy for fans and media to get carried away with what lies ahead for Vancouver Whitecaps this season, Carl Robinson's feet remain firmly planted on the ground. There's no chickens being counted here. He won't talk too much about anything other than the next game. Neither will the players. You'll get no public proclamations or flights of fancy looking ahead to the playoffs or a Champions League campaign until both are locked up. Frustrating when you want to write about such things, but understandable! But Robinson knows what playing in the Champions League for the first time means for the Whitecaps in many regards. "It's very important," Robinson told AFTN. "It was a goal at the start of the season to do it. We've still got some work to do because Toronto can go on and win the last two games of the season, so we know we need to go on and get a result. Two wins hopefully will get us there, in the playoffs as well as the Champions League spot. I'll talk about it then. "Goals at the start of the season are always there to try and be reached and if it's something that we manage to do, it will be a great achievement for the group of players and very important to the club. But we've still got work to do with that as well." We know it's kind of ironic to be getting excited about qualifying for a competition that is likely to see lowish crowds and fringe players turning out for the Caps, but for me, it's a Cup competition, a chance of silverware and that always excites me. But there's a lot more to it. Some will see the Champions League as a distraction and a possible playoff killer. That can be very true. I'm pretty sure Portland would prefer not to be having their final group game just days before what could be a MLS away game with vital playoff implications. The Caps will get more allocation money to build a stronger and deeper pool of players and that will also have a key role to play in what is going to be an even tougher Western Conference next season. "I'll need to build a squad," Robinson admitted. "I'll need to build a bigger squad and a better squad, so that will be very important for me when I'm trying to build, as well as the recruitment of players from abroad. So it'll be a busy offseason for me. "There won't be much rest, but it will be very important when I'm trying to piece together a roster that I think can compete for the playoffs, and maybe if we manage to reach our goal of getting into the Champions League, competing in the Champions League as well. It'll be a very important offseason." A Champions League campaign also provides a further outlet to get some of the fringe and younger players in the squad more experience and more minutes. Again, that can only help in MLS action and make for a much stronger Whitecaps side in general. That, along with the new USL PRO team, could have massive longer term implications. "It's a very important part of the club's development for younger players", Robinson told reporters, talking primarily about the USL option. "There needs to be a platform to play. Now and again you'll get young players that are able to make that jump, like Kianz did on Friday, but not every player follows the same path. So it's important that we have another outlet for them to play games, so that there's not a gap between the Residency and the first team. "That's very important, so hopefully that'll come through as well. So there will be a lot of games and you guys will be following a lot of games and travelling a lot of places, and I'll be sitting on the sidelines as well at a lot of games."
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