Wednesday morning the Sounders FC waited to learn their opponent in the 2010-2011 CONCACAF Champions League. They waited by the phones at 8 am PT when the announcement was scheduled to take place. They continued to wait through their training which started at 10 am. And they waited even more when training ended at noon.
As it turns out, they will wait even more, as they drew a team from El Salvador, but a political controversy in the Central American country may alter the CCL schedule.
With the local government interfering with the National Soccer Federation, CONCACAF has appealed to FIFA to suspend the country at the club and international levels as well as the referees. El Salvador has until June 8th when FIFA’s Congress takes place in South Africa to comply with the world governing body’s regulations.
If those are met, the Sounders FC will face the winner of Sunday’s First Division final between CD Aguila and Isidro Metapan. If not, CONCACAF will pick two new Central American club teams.
The draw was held at CONCACAF headquarters in New York City on Wednesday, May 19.
The first leg of the Preliminary Round will be held July 27-29. The second leg will be one week later. The winners will then advance to the Group Stage, which is set to start August 17-19.
In Group Stage play, the remaining 16 teams are split into four groups of four teams. Each team plays home and away against each other team within its group.
The Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake enter the Champions League in the Group Stage after winning the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup, respectively. The Sounders are joined by the LA Galaxy in the Preliminary Round.