AUSTIN (KXAN) — While undoubtedly disappointed with how the Major League Soccer season ended in Los Angeles on Sunday, FC Austin has another major accomplishment to celebrate — its first appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League.
By virtue of their MLS regular season finish, Austin FC is one of 16 teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean to qualify for the 2023 knockout-style tournament.
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Five MLS teams qualified for the tournament – Austin, LAFC, Philadelphia Union, Orlando City SC and Vancouver Whitecaps. Vancouver will take the spot reserved for the 2022 Canadian Championship winners, and Orlando City SC won the 2022 US Open Cup to qualify. LAFC won the Supporters’ Shield for the best regular season in MLS, and Philadelphia won the Eastern Conference Championship to enter the field. Austin took the fourth spot assigned to American teams, being the highest-ranked team in MLS not otherwise qualified.
“Qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League has been a goal for FC Austin since we started competing two years ago,” said Claudio Reyna, Sporting Director of FC Austin. “We look forward to going head-to-head with the best teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.”
Austin FC was a placee in Pot A and will find out their Round of 16 opponent when they are drawn on November 7th. The teams in Pot A are as follows:
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- Atlas FC
- CF Pachuca
- Club Leon
- Orlando City SC
- Philadelphia Union
The teams in Pot B are:
- LD Alajuelense
- Alianza FC
- Violet AC
- CD Olympia
- Motagua FC
- RCD Spain
- Tigress UANL
- FC Tauro
Each phase of the tournament is a general format of two matches. Teams play both home and away games and the winner is determined by the combined results of the two games.
The tournament begins in March 2023 and runs concurrently with the MLS season. The winner of the Champions League will represent the region at the FIFA Club World Cup in 2023. Both the USA and Mexico are allocated four places, Honduras has three teams, while Haiti, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama send a team.