Concacaf Champions League draw sets up for MLS vs. Liga MX quarterfinals

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Graig Abel
The tournament could feature a four matchups between teams from the North American leagues, though the other clubs will look to play spoiler

It's two for two.

Concacaf conducted the second draw for the Concacaf Champions League under its current format and once again ended up with a scenario in which MLS and Liga MX teams could face each other in all four quarterfinals.

Last year, the first in which the tournament didn't feature a group stage and was purely a knockout competition, saw three MLS vs. Liga MX matches with Tauro playing spoiler and upsetting FC Dallas to provide the only club from outside North America.

This season, there once again is a chance for all four quarterfinals to feature head-to-head contests between clubs from the two leagues. Of course, teams have to avoid upset bids from Central America clubs to get there first, though there's one MLS vs. Liga MX contest taking place in the round of 16. 

Recently retired Concacaf legends Blas Perez, the Panama forward whose club career spanned Liga MX, MLS, his native Panama and Guatemala, and goalkeeper Moises Munoz, the Mexico goalkeeper who twice lifted the CCL trophy Club America, drew the balls from their pots.

The results see Santos Laguna face Honduran champion Marathon, Atletico Pantoja of the Dominican Republic take on a MLS team still to be determined, Tigres meet Costa Rican giant Saprissa - a departure from the previous three tournaments in which they've faced Herediano - and the Houston Dynamo face Guastatoya with Guatemalan clubs returning to international competition for the first time since a FIFA ban ruled them out of the last two tournaments.

In the bottom half of the bracket, Sporting Kansas City meets Toluca, Toronto FC locks horns with Panama's Club Atletico Independiente, Atlanta United drew Herediano and Monterrey plays Alianza of El Salvador.

The final MLS place will be decided Saturday. if the Portland Timbers win the MLS Cup, they take the spot as the MLS champion with Atlanta United qualifying thanks to their aggregate record between the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Should Atlanta lift the crown, the New York Red Bulls will snag that place thanks to their record over the two seasons, the second best after Atlanta's. 

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The round of 16 contests kick off Feb. 19-21 with the return legs coming Feb. 26-28. The tournament culminates with a two-legged final. The first leg will fall between April 23-25, and the decider will take place between April 30– May 2.

Chivas are the reigning champion, with captain Carlos Salcido attending the draw at Univision's studios in Miami just days before he and his club head to the Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates to represent the region. A Mexican team has won all 10 editions since Concacaf restructured its top tournament as the Concacaf Champions League prior to the 2008-09 season.

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