The draw for the new-look 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League is out, and the MLS team that got the furthest in 2011-12 will be reacquainted with its semifinal partner in the group stage.
Five MLS teams are spread across the eight three-team groups, and Toronto FC had the misfortune of being drawn with Santos Laguna and Salvadoran side Aguila; Real Salt Lake is paired with Costa Rican side Herediano and Panamanian side Tauro FC; and the Houston Dynamo will play Honduran club Olimpia and Salvadoran club FAS, which is only in the tournament because Belize had its CCL berth rescinded for not having adequate stadiums for the tournament's requirements.
The Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy each know only one of their opponents, with the clubs still waiting on the remaining Carribean qualifiers to fill out their groups. As of now, the Sounders will face Honduran club Marathon, and the Galaxy will face Salvadoran club Isidro Metapan.
With the new format in place this year, there is no more preliminary round, and all 24 qualifying teams enter the group stage, where they will play each of the two other teams in their group home and away. Teams must win their groups to advance to the quarterfinals, where the pairings will be set by seeding based on group-stage records and not a draw, as had been the case in the past.
Here are the eight groups for the 2012-2013 CONCACAF Champions League:
2012-2013 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Santos Laguna (MEX)
Toronto FC (CAN)
Real Salt Lake (USA)
Tauro FC (PAN)
Houston Dynamo (USA)
Seattle Sounders FC (USA)
Caribbean Qualifier 1
LA Galaxy (USA)
Caribbean Qualifier 3
Tigres UANL (MEX)
Real Esteli (NIC)
Chivas de Guadalajara (MEX)
Caribbean Qualifier 2
What do you think of the draw? Which MLS teams do you think have the best shot of advancing to the quarterfinals? Like that the knockout round will be based on seed and not draw?
Share your thoughts below.