Home Canadian Soccer TFC or Vancouver will get Nicaraguan champ in CONCACAF Champions League qualifier

TFC or Vancouver will get Nicaraguan champ in CONCACAF Champions League qualifier

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As Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps prepared for Wednesday night’s first leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship final, they learned who the winner will play in the CONCACAF Champions League qualifier.

The draw was held Wednesday for the 2011-12 CCL, and the Canadian championship winner will play a Nicaraguan side, either Real Esteli or Walter Ferreti, for the right to advance to the group stage.

If either the Whitecaps or TFC advances to the group stage by winning the qualifier, it will face Panamanian side Tauro FC, either Morelia or Pumas UNAM from Mexico and the winner of the qualifier between MLS Cup finalist FC Dallas and El Salvadoran champs Alianza.

Pumas and Morelia are vying for the Mexican Clausura title. The winner would go into Group C.

With the potential of FC Dallas, which has been on a tear since MLS MVP David Ferreira broke his ankle in Vancouver, and the Mexican champs being in the group, the Canadian winners would be longshots to advance out of Group C if they beat the Nicaraguan qualifier.

The Canadian winner will host the first leg of the qualifier, which is scheduled for the July 26-28 window. That puts it in conflict with the MLS All-Star Game, set for July 27 at Red Bull Arena.

Esteli and Ferreti play the second leg of the Nicaraguan championship on Saturday. Ferreti holds a 1-0 lead after the first leg.

The Montreal Impact took out Real Esteli in the qualifying round of the 2008-09 CCL. The Impact won the first leg at home 1-0 on the strength of a goal from Joey Gjertsen. The second leg was played on neutral ground, in Honduras, because Esteli’s stadium didn’t meet international match standards. The Impact played Esteli to a 0-0 draw in the second leg, the first of many successes the team had in Central America as it made it to the CCL quarters, only to blow a two-goal injury time cushion at Santos Laguna.

CONCACAF Champions League
Preliminary Round
First Leg: July 26-28
Second Leg: August 2-4
(Teams on left host first leg)
Motagua (HON) vs. Municipal (GUA)
Mexican Clausura runner-up (Morelia or Pumas) vs. Caribbean club championship runner-up
Isidro Metapan (SLV) vs. Caribbean club champion
Santos Laguna (MEX) vs. Olimpia (HON)
Alianza (SLV) vs. FC Dallas (USA)
Canadian champion (Vancouver or Toronto) vs. Nicaragua qualifier (Real Esteli or Walter Ferreti)
San Francisco (PAN) vs. Seattle Sounders (USA)
Herediano (CRC) vs. Caribbean club championship third-place finisher

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