NEW YORK - Two-time defending champion Monterrey will face Chorrillo of Panama and Municipal of Guatemala in the Group Stage of the CONCACAF Champions League, while Mexican title winner Santos will play Toronto FC and Aguila of El Salvador.
Tuesday's draw conducted by Acting General Secretary Ted Howard at the New York headquarters of the confederation set the match-ups for the fifth installment of the tournament, which changed its format by eliminating the Preliminary Round and establishing an initial round of eight, three-team groups.
Besides Group 1 with Santos and Group 7 with Monterrey, the LA Galaxy will head Group 5 with Metapan of El Salvador and the third-place team from the Caribbean; Mexican Apertura champion Tigres was placed in Group 6 with Alajuelense of Costa Rica and Real Esteli of Nicaragua; and 11-time Mexican champion Chivas de Guadalajara will be in Group 8 with Xelaju of Guatemala and the second-place team from the Caribbean.
Four teams remain in the Caribbean Club Champions Cup, the Puerto Rico Islanders, Antigua Barracuda FC and W Connection and Caledonia AIA of Trinidad, from which three will qualify for the Champions League. The final round of the Caribbean club championship will be held June 19 and June 21 in Trinidad & Tobago.
The remainder of the groups were drawn with Herediano of Costa Rica, 2011 runner-up Real Salt Lake and Tauro FC of Panama in Group 2; Olimpia of Honduras, the Houston Dynamo of the United States and CD FAS of El Salvador in Group 3; and the Seattle Sounders FC, Marathon of Honduras and the Caribbean champion in Group 4.
Only the group winners will advance to the knockout round.
Unlike previous years where a second draw was conducted to set the pairings for the Championship round, the quarterfinals will match the team with the best record against the qualifier with the worst record. The second-best team will face the seventh-best, third against sixth and fourth against fifth.
The top four teams will play the second leg at home.
In the semifinals, the winner of 1-vs-8 will face the winner of 4-vs-5 (with the 1-vs-8 winner hosting the second leg), and likewise 3-vs-6 will play 4-vs-5 (with the survivor of 3-vs-6 hosting the second leg). In the finals, the team that prevails out of the upper bracket of 1-vs-8_4-vs-5 will host the second leg.
The Group Stage of the Champions League will begin July 31 and conclude October 25, with the quarterfinals set to begin March 5.