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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. ESPN Deportes - America suffers more than necessary in a first-leg draw with Impact America's Saviour appeared when they needed him most. Oribe Peralta woke a sleeping and dazed America to give hope to the Eagles, who suffered against the Impact in the final round of the CONCACAF Champions League at the Azteca. Oribe appeared and Matosas could breathe. At the end it was drawn at one goal apiece and left all be decided in Montreal. America didn’t encounter a Herediano in the Azteca as happened a few weeks ago. The Eagles faced a more prepared, experienced and focused Impact. Montreal knew what they wanted and what they needed to do to get that. Their clear ideas were reflected throughout the game. Secure in defense, strong in midfield with the indomitable Nigel Reo-Coker and shrewd front with Ignacio Piatti and Dominic Oduro, the Canadian group settled in the Azteca, played with intelligence, always very patient and tidy. They had a well prepared plan and followed it step by step. Azteca Deportes (Mexico) - Oribe Peralta rescues America from ridicule The controversial play of the first half came when the Honduran referee, Hector Rodriguez, decided to annul a goal by Michael Arroyo due to an offside call. It was a close play and disputed by the Americanistas who filled the grandstands. Amid an ineffective attack, Gustavo Matosas subbed in Oribe Peralta during the second half, who in the end became the hero for the azulcremas. Another incident that deserves noting occurred when Benedetto came off the field to a chorus of boos to make room for Martín Zúñiga. In a clear sign of disapproval, America's number nine made a hand gesture that seemed to indicate the fans were crazy. Medio Tiempo (Mexico) - America left with life against Impact He had to come off the bench to give new life to America. When it seemed that the doubts would become that much larger, Oribe Peralta appeared in the agony of the match to make it 1-1 against the Montreal Impact, and Matosas’ Eagles remain with aspirations to reach the final of the CONCACAF Champions League. After missing on a number of occasions, the Mexican striker appeared to head the ball home just as despair was starting to grip the team and the fans that filled the Azteca. And it was in those final minutes when the colossus really woke up and appeared ready for a memorable comeback, because for most of the game the Canadian squad knew how to keep the game quiet and take advantage of America’s offensive blunders. La Nacion (Costa Rica) - The Montreal Impact take a grand step toward the Concacaf title The Canadians were not intimidated during their visit to Azteca Stadium and rather were two minutes away from the win against America. Meanwhile, the America squad suffered yet again and battled against the scoreline until the 88th minute due to an early goal on 16 minutes from the Argentine midfielder Ignacio Piatti. The visitors were better team in the first half; they handcuffed America in midfield and took advantage of the the speed of their attackers to do damage on the counterattack. Diez (Honduras) - America rescues a tie against the Impact In the first half the Montreal Impact had two chances to grow the lead: the first was wasted by Piatti who tried to float the ball over keeper Moises Munoz; the second was interrupted by a pulldown by Paraguayan Osvaldo Martinez on Dominic Oduro, who had started to break away one-on-one with the Mexican goalkeeper. In the second half, urged on by the sound of 100,000 followers, America tired of generating dangerous opportunities and failing to capitalize. Quintero, the Argentine Dario Benedetto and Oribe Peralta let Bush off the hook in front of goal. Then the crossbar denied America the tying goal at 67 minutes as Argentine Rubens Sambueza bounced a powerful left-footed shot that hit the bar from the middle distance.
  4. Just in case you've been living under a rock for the past year, here's a quick refresher. The CSA have deemed that the Voyageurs Cup will be competed for later in the season from next year, so whichever Canadian club finishes highest in the MLS standings this season will represent Canada in next year's Champions League. Which does feel like the only way the Whitecaps will claim that honour sometimes! Vancouver and Toronto are currently level on points in the standing, but not only do TFC have a game in hand, they also have the most wins tiebreaker right now. If both teams were to win out (I know, I amuse myself sometimes), then that would see Toronto claim the spot. So a TFC win tomorrow makes achieving that goal slightly more difficult with the games running out. Now if you were to ask me to pick between just one of the options, the Whitecaps in the playoffs or the Whitecaps in next year's Champions League, what would I pick? What would you pick? What would Carl Robinson pick? In reality it's likely that if they make the playoffs, the points they've massed will also mean they clinch the Champions League spot too. I think that's what it's going to take. But if I was only allowed one, well, when I first thought about writing this article I thought my answer would be the playoffs every day of the week. But then I got thinking. If the Whitecaps make the playoffs, they face an away game in Dallas or Real Salt Lake and realistically are going to go one and out. So you're qualifying for just one game and possibly a quick disappointment. Qualifying for the Champions League gets you six more games at least, a Cup competition to go for and some valuable experience and minutes for Vancouver's younger and fringe players. It's a tough one. Of course, you then also have to look at what the likelihood of both scenarios happening will be? Will the Whitecaps even make the playoffs this year, not even looking at any other factor? Right back Steven Beitashour is certainly full of confidence. "It's two points," Beitashour answered incredulously when he was asked at training on Thursday if the Whitecaps still had a chance at making the playoffs. It was a bizarre question. "Five games, 15 points out there," he continued. "Two points. There's no way they're going five for five, so there's going to be a lot of points out there to grab and it starts on Saturday." "What they do doesn't affect us if we don't just win. We just try and control our own thing. At the end of the day we have five games to go, we know that, but we can't look past Salt Lake." The Toronto-Portland game kicks off at 10am PT. An ungodly hour for football and likely right in the middle of the Ryder Cup winding up for the day. Typically selfish east coast bastards. On the plus side though, it does mean that the game will finish four hours before Vancouver kicks off their crucial game with Real Salt Lake. The Whitecaps will know what the Timbers will have done and whether they're looking at closing a five point gap or facing the chance to get above the red line again. Will they be watching? Russell Teibert won't be until later, but he knows which scenario he's rooting for in the game. "I'll watch the Portland-Toronto game after the fact," Teibert said. "I won't pay no mind to it before. We know we can only control what we can control and that's our game, our match, that's our individual performances, that's how we play as a team. We can't control what Portland does but I'll give my boys from Portland a little shout and hopefully they'll do us a favour. "We know that even if [Portland] lose, if we don't win it doesn't mean anything. We need to go out, we need to perform, we need to win the game." So the players at least know that watching and relying on other teams slipping up or other teams do us favours doesn't count for much if they don't get the job done themselves over the next five "cup finals" The Ontario lad is cheering on TFC to do the Caps a favour and coach Carl Robinson is also hoping for the same from his old team. "Maybe Defoe's back and he can bang in four more goals," Robinson joked yesterday before continuing the same message as his players. "Listen, we need to concentrate on our own business. We didn't take care of our own business last week because we weren't at our levels that we need to be barring the first 20 minutes, so we've got to get back to that." The Whitecaps are looking for a Toronto win. Me? Well I'm cheering for an asteroid strike, the stretcher-bearers and failing that either a draw with injuries to key personnel or an absolute thumping of the Timbers by TFC. Even after all this, it could still come down to goal difference, and as we all sadly know, goals are exactly Vancouver's strong suit right now.
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