MIAMI - The Group Stage draw for the 2013-14 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League took place Monday evening in Miami, generating many intriguing match-ups as the confederation's annual club competition will crown a new champion next year.
The quest to become CONCACAF's best will take place without Mexico's Monterrey, which had won the previous three championships, but did not qualify for a fourth attempt. Despite the Rayados' absence, 24 clubs discovered their opponents in a draw that sorted the qualifiers into eight groups consisting of three teams each.
Mexican sides Cruz Azul and Club America, which share the record for most CONCACAF club titles at five, were drawn into Group 3 and Group 4, respectively. Two-time Champions League runner-up Cruz Azul will meet Herediano (Costa Rica) and Valencia FC (Haiti), while current Liga MX champion America will face Alajuelense (Costa Rica) and Sporting San Miguelito (Panama).
This season marks the Montreal Impact's first participation in the competition since it made an impressive run to the 2008-09 quarterfinals, where it fell narrowly to Santos of Mexico 5-4 on aggregate. The Canadians are in Group 5 with the San Jose Earthquakes, also of Major League Soccer, and a yet to be determined Guatemalan representative.
The draw also produced some rematches of past Champions League encounters, with the USA's Houston Dynamo taking on Arabe Unido of Panama in Group 1, plus the LA Galaxy and El Salvador's Isidro Metapan were pitted against each other in Group 8.
Metapan and Honduras' Olimpia are the only two teams to have qualified for all six editions of the tournament.
Competition rules prohibited teams from the same country, as well as those from Mexico and the United States, from meeting in group play. Such a scenario presented itself twice during the draw, requiring adjustments to the groups afterwards.
The schedule of matches will be released at a later date.
2013-14 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Group 1: Arabe Unido (Panama), Houston Dynamo (USA), DirecTV W Connection (Trinidad & Tobago)
Group 2: Olimpia (Honduras), Sporting Kansas City (USA), Real Esteli (Nicaragua)
Group 3: Herediano (Costa Rica), Cruz Azul (Mexico), Valencia FC (Haiti)
Group 4: Club America (Mexico), Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Sporting San Miguelito (Panama)
Group 5: San Jose Earthquakes (USA), Montreal Impact (Canada), Guatemala #2 (Guatemala)
Group 6: Comunicaciones (Guatemala), Toluca (Mexico), Caledonia AIA (Trinidad & Tobago)
Group 7: Club Tijuana (Mexico), Victoria (Honduras), Luis Angel Firpo (El Salvador)
Group 8: LA Galaxy (USA), Isidro Metapan (El Salvador), Cartagines (Costa Rica)