Austin FC is set to compete in the 2023 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League after qualifying for the continental championship tournament in only its second year. On Monday, November 7 at 6 p.m. CT, Austin will find out its first-ever CCL opponent via the competition’s official draw in Miami. Ahead of the draw - which you can stream live via the official Concacaf app or YouTube channel - here’s everything you need to know about the CCL and Austin FC’s participation in it.
What is the Concacaf Champions League?
The Concacaf Champions League is the premier professional soccer competition in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean, pitting the best teams from domestic leagues in Concacaf member nations against one another in a knockout tournament format. The winner is crowed the champion of the region and earns the right to compete at the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament features 16 teams, with each knockout tie taking place over two (2) legs – one home and one away – and the winner determined by aggregate score across those two (2) matches. If the aggregate score is tied after the second leg, away goals are used as the first tiebreaker.
Austin FC is guaranteed to play in a country where it has never previously played as a result of qualifying for the CCL.
Who competes in the CCL?
Top teams from leagues across the region earn the right to compete in the CCL via their performance the previous season. The U.S. received four berths to the tournament in 2023, with Austin FC qualifying by finishing as the best eligible team in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings not already qualified for the tournament via another mechanism.
The full list of competing teams 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
How does the draw work?
The 16 teams are placed into two “pots” of eight teams each: Pot 1 and Pot 2. Teams from the same pot cannot be drawn against one another in the Round of 16. At random, matchups will be determined by drawing one team from Pot 1 and one from Pot 2.
Austin FC is in Pot 1, meaning it could potentially face any of the following Pot 2 teams in the Round of 16: Alianza (El Salvador), Olimpia (Honduras), Motagua (Honduras), Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Real España (Honduras), Tauro (Panama), Tigres (Mexico), or Violette AC (Haiti).
When will the competition take place?
Concacaf Champions League will run concurrently with the 2023 Major League Soccer regular season, and will be one of four competitions Austin FC takes part in during 2023, alongside MLS, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and Leagues Cup.
Austin FC’s Round of 16 first leg match will take place between March 7-9, and the second leg will take place between March 14-16. Pot 2 teams host the first leg, meaning Austin FC will play away between March 7-9 and at home March 14-16.
The rest of the schedule for the competition is as follows:
- Quarterfinals: April 4-6 (first legs) and April 11-13 (second legs)
- Semifinals: April 25-27 (first legs) and May 2-4 (second legs)
- Finals: May 31 (first leg) and June 4 (second leg)