The Vancouver Whitecaps will compete in Group C in the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL), it was learned on Monday. The ‘Caps found out that their opponents for the group stage will be fellow MLS-rival Sporting Kansas City and Central FC of Trinidad and Tobago at the official draw held in Miami Beach.
— CONCACAF (@CONCACAF) May 31, 2016
The ‘Caps will play each team twice, home and away, between August and October of this year. The group winner will advance to the knockout stages beginning in early 2017.
This is the second time the Whitecaps have participated in the 24-team competition between top club teams from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Last year Vancouver was eliminated after the group stage with a 1W-2L-1D against Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) and C.D. Olimpia (Honduras).
They qualified for the CCL by virtue of winning the Voyageurs Cup last season, as Canadian Champions.
No team from the MLS has ever won the CCL, with Montreal coming closest with a finals appearance in 2014-15. Teams from Mexico have won the last 11 titles.
The winner of the CCL qualifies for the annual FIFA Club World Cup, where they compete against the top club teams from around the world. The reigning Club World Cup champion is FC Barcelona.
2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage:
Group A: W Connection (TRI), Honduras Progreso (HON), Pumas (MEX)
Group B: CD Dragon (SLV), Deportivo Saprissa (CRC), Portland Timbers (USA)
Group C: Central FC (TRI), Vancouver Whitecaps FC (CAN), Sporting Kansas City (USA)
Group D: Don Bosco FC (HAI), Arabe Unido (PAN), Monterrey (MEX)
Group E: Police United (BLZ), Olimpia (HON), Pachuca (MEX)
Group F: Alianza CF (SLV), Antigua GFC (GUA), New York Red Bulls (USA)
Group G: Plaza Amador (PAN), CS Herediano (CRC), Tigres (MEX)
Group H: Real Esteli (NIC), CD Suchitepequez (GUA), FC Dallas (USA)