Trinidad and Tobago Pro League clubs Central FC and DirecTV W Connection received their assignments for the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League competition at Monday’s draw in Miami, Florida.
Central, the current Caribbean champions, were drawn with North American Major League Soccer (MLS) teams Vancouver Whitecaps and Sporting Kansas while Connection will compete against Mexico’s Pumas and Honduras Progreso from Honduras.
Only the group winners will advance to the knockout phase.
The full schedule for the group stage, according to CONCACAF, will be announced in the coming weeks.
CONCACAF Champions League info:
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 (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)
DirecTV W Connection (Trinidad & Tobago), Honduras Progreso (Honduras), Pumas (Mexico)
Pumas has won three CONCACAF Champions Cup titles and reached the SCCL semifinals twice. If UNAM is to lift its first international trophy since 1989, though, it will do so with a new head coach. Juan Francisco Palencia, who scored nine SCCL goals as a player with the club, was named as Guillermo Vazquez’s replacement shortly after the 2016/17 draw results were announced.
W Connection fell to fellow Trinidadian side Central FC in the final of the CFU Club Championship two years in a row, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Sharks in the 2016 decider. Honduras Progreso captured the 2015 Honduran Apertura crown, but didn’t qualify for the 2016 Clausura playoffs.
Past SCCL Meetings
2009/10: W Connection 2, Pumas 2; Pumas 2, W Connection 1.
Central FC (Trinidad & Tobago), Vancouver Whitecaps (Canada), Sporting Kansas City (USA)
Each of the three teams in Group C has won one or more SCCL games. Two-time defending Caribbean champion Central FC possesses an advantage at home, where it went 1W-1D-0L in two 2015/16 SCCL games, especially since its opposition will be required to make lengthy trips to Port of Spain.
If the Sharks are to advance, however, a win on the road may be necessary. Last year, they lost at the LA Galaxy and Comunicaciones.
This will be Sporting Kansas City’s third trip to the SCCL. It reached the 2013/14 quarterfinals, defeating Cruz Azul in the first leg 1-0 at home, before falling 5-1 at the Estadio Azul.
The Vancouver Whitecaps posted a single win in four 2015/16 SCCL outings, but will look to put that experience to good use in their second appearance.