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CONCACAF Notebook: CONCACAF League Preview

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New CONCACAF tournament debuts this week.

The brand new CONCACAF Champions league format kicks off this week, as the first (fall tournament) of two tournaments gets underway. The Scotiabank CONCACAF League, as the fall tournament is called, will pit the best non-champions from around Central America and the Caribbean, against each other. The winner of CONCACAF League will advance to the spring tournament (CONCACAF Champions League) in 2018, and could be a potential first round opponent for FC Dallas, depending on the draw.

All games will be streamed live on YouTube & concacafleague.com

All times are Central Standard Time.


1st Leg

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chorrillo FC (PAN) v CD Honduras Progreso (HON) 7pm: One of the best matchups in the 1st round, as both teams have Scotiabank CCL experience. Honduras Progresso is a defensive oriented team and is one of the favorites to reach the final, but they are in preseason form. Chorillo is more than capable of getting the win, as they are in excellent form, with three straight wins to start Panamanian League play, but it's hard to envision Chorillo breaking through Progresso's defense.

Editor’s note: Chorrillo won 1-0

Santos de Guapiles FC (CRC) v San Juan Jabloteh (TRI) 9pm: One of the bigger mismatches in the tournament, as Santos is a top 4 team from the tough Costa Rica League, while Jabloteh is a top 4 finisher from the weak Caribbean tournament.

Editor’s Note: Santos won 6-2

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

CD Aguila (SLV) v Real Esteli FC (NCA) 7pm: Nicaraguan kingpins Real Esteli are CCL regulars, and are slight favorites over San Salvadorian power CD Aguila, due mainly to their vast international experience.

Portmore United FC (JAM) v CD Plaza Amador (PAN) 7pm: Plaza Amador is the favorite here, as they are in fine form, winning 3 games to start their season, and are a defensive oriented team. Portmore United were the top team in Jamaica, and are capable of advancing, but they are offensively challenged, lacking a difference making scorer.

Platense FC (HON) v Alianza FC (SLV) 9pm: Alianza gave NY Redbulls all they could handle in last years CCL, and should be the favorites here. Platense had a a terrible second half of the season, and it's hard to envision them being a much better team at this time.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

CD Olimpia (HON) v LD Alajuelense (CRC) 9pm: The best matchup of the 1st round, pits two of the best Central American teams against each other. Both teams have defeated Liga MX and MLS teams in the past. The winner of this series, will be considered the tournament favorite.

Central FC (TRI) v Deportivo Arabe Unido (PAN) 7pm: Arabe Unido are still mostly the same team that lost to FCD in last year's CCL, and will be a big favorite in this match against a team that lost Kenwyne Jones from last years CCL squad and has struggled since. Arabe Unido is one of the favorites to reach the final.

CD Walter Ferretti (NCA) v Belmopan Bandits (BLZ) 9pm: This is a battle of minnows, as both teams have fared poorly in past CCLs. This provides both with a rare chance to advance in an international competition, and as a result, may be the most entertaining 1st round matchup.

2nd Leg

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Real Esteli FC (NCA) v CD Aguila (SLV) 7pm
San Juan Jabloteh (TRI) v Santos de Guapiles FC (CRC) 9pm
Alianza FC (SLV) v Platense FC (HON) 9pm

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

CD Plaza Amador (PAN) v Portmore United FC (JAM) 7pm
CD Honduras Progreso (HON) v Chorrillo FC (PAN) 9pm

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Deportivo Arabe Unido (PAN) v Central FC (TRI) 7pm
Belmopan Bandits (BLZ) v CD Walter Ferretti (NCA) 9pm
LD Alajuelense (CRC) v CD Olimpia (HON) 9pm

Players to Watch:

Carlos "El Mango" Sanchez, Left Back, Honduras Progresso - The team captain was a starter for the Honduras National team that played in the Gold Cup, and is rumored to be a transfer target of FC Dallas for next season.

Alexander Lopez, Attacking Midfielder, Olimpia - Alex played for the Houston Dynamo from 2013 to 2015, and spent last season in Saudi Arabia. He's a difference maker for Olimpia, pulling the strings on offense.

Jonathan "Big Mac" McDonald, Forward, Alajualense - A member of the Costa Rica National team, Big Mac had 14 goals last season, and will be counted on to lead the Alajuelenses assault in this tournament.

Eric Small, Forward, Arabe Unido - Small scored 23 goals for Arabe Unido last season, and could be a complete terror to opponents in this tournament.