On Tuesday, Austin FC will make its debut in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, one of four competitions in which the Verde & Black will take part this season. While the team gets ready to take on Violette AC of Haiti in the Round of 16, get up to speed with everything you need to know about CCL.
What is Concacaf Champions League, and how does the tournament work?
The Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League is the premier professional soccer competition in the North America, Central America, and Caribbean region, pitting the best teams from domestic leagues in Concacaf member nations against one another in a 16-team knockout tournament format.
It’s the region’s equivalent to the famed UEFA Champions League, and just like the European champions, the winner of the Concacaf Champions League each year earns a berth to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup against the winner of each region’s respective continental championship, a collection of the best teams in world soccer.
Each CCL matchup throughout all rounds of the tournament, from the Round of 16 to the Final, will take place over two (2) legs – one home and one away – with the winner determined by aggregate score across the two (2) matches.
In the event the aggregate score is tied at the end of regulation in the second leg, away goals will be used as the primary tiebreaker (except in the final). If the teams score the same number of away goals and goals overall, the tie will be decided by a penalty kick shootout.
To win the competition, Austin FC needs to defeat four opponents, and the Club can already plot its possible route to the final through the official tournament bracket.
Why is Austin FC in the tournament, and who will they compete against?
Austin FC qualified for this year’s Concacaf Champions League via its 2022 MLS regular season performance, finishing in second place in the MLS Western Conference and in fourth place in the Supporters’ Shield standings. That position in the table earned the Verde & Black a CCL berth as the best American team not already qualified through another method.
A total of 16 teams from eight countries (the U.S., Mexico, Canada, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and Haiti) will compete in CCL in 2023. Five MLS teams (four American and one Canadian) are set to take part. Los Angeles FC (MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield winners), Philadelphia Union (MLS Eastern Conference winners), Orlando City SC (U.S. Open Cup winners), and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Canadian Championship winners) join Austin in CCL play.
The full list of teams qualified for the 2023 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League is as follows:
- United States (4): Austin FC, Los Angeles FC, Philadelphia Union, Orlando City SC
- Mexico (4): Club León, Atlas, Pachuca, Tigres
- Honduras (3): Real España, Olimpia, Motagua
- Haiti (1): Violette AC
- Canada (1): Vancouver Whitecaps
- Costa Rica (1): Alajuelense
- El Salvador (1): Alianza
- Panama (1): Tauro
Who, where, and when will Austin FC play first? How can I watch?
Concacaf conducted the official tournament draw last November, and paired Austin FC with 2022 Flow Caribbean Club Championship winners Violette AC in the Round of 16. As with every round of the tournament, Austin FC and Violette will play two matches against each other (also called “legs”) – one home and one away.
Though Violette is from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, its home leg will be played at Estadio Cibao FC in Santiago, Dominican Republic on March 7. One week later on March 14, the teams will meet again at Q2 Stadium for Austin FC’s home leg. The full schedule for the tie, including TV info, is below:
1st Leg: Violette AC vs. Austin FC
- When: 7:00 p.m. AT/5:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, March 7
- Where: Estadio Cibao FC, Santiago, Dominican Republic
- How To Watch: Fox Sports 1 (English) or TUDN (Spanish)
2nd Leg: Austin FC vs. Violette AC
- When: 7:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, March 14
- Where: Q2 Stadium, Austin, Texas
- Tickets: Click here to buy tickets for the match.
- How To Watch: Fox Sports 2 (English) or TUDN (Spanish)