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CONCACAF Champions League: Group Stage Draw

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CCL Logo

The Dynamo will enter the group stages of the 2012/13 CONCACF Champions League later this year in Group with Olimpia (Honduras) and FAS (El Salvador). The Dynamo begin their CCL campaign at the end of July. The full schedule will be released eventually...after all, it's CONCACAF. We'll be sure to post it here on the site once we know when and where Houston will be playing.

Here's some details on rule changes implemented in the tournament for the new season:

Only the group winner advances to the knockout rounds.

Unlike previous years where a second draw was conducted to set the pairings for the Championship round, the quarterfinals will match the team with the best record against the qualifier with the worst record. The second-best team will face the seventh-best, third against sixth and fourth against fifth.

The top four teams will play the second leg at home.

In the semifinals, the winner of 1-vs-8 will face the winner of 4-vs-5 (with the 1-vs-8 winner hosting the second leg), and likewise 3-vs-6 will play 4-vs-5 (with the survivor of 3-vs-6 hosting the second leg). In the finals, the team that prevails out of the upper bracket of 1-vs-8_4-vs-5 will host the second leg.

The Champions League will begin July 31 and conclude October 26, with the quarterfinals set to begin March 5.

The most important takeaway from that information is that seeding in the knockout rounds will be based on group stage performance, rather than a blind draw. This should force teams to take all the group stage matches seriously and encourage teams to go for wins to better their chances of having an "easier" path to the final.

This will be Houston's third foray into the CCL. They made the quarterfinals in the tournament's inaugural season in 2008, but failed to make it out of the group stages in 2009. The Dynamo made the semifinals for the previous iteration of the tournament, the CONCACAF Champions Cup, in 2008.

There's a full rundown of the draw after the jump.

Group 1
Santos Laguna (MEX)
Toronto FC (CAN)
Aguila (SLV)

Group 2
Herediano (CRC)
Real Salt Lake (USA)
Tauro FC (PAN)

Group 3
Olimpia (HON)
Houston Dynamo (USA)

Group 4
Seattle Sounders FC (USA)
Marathon (HON)
Caribbean 1

Group 5
LA Galaxy (USA)
Metapan (SLV)
Caribbean 3

Group 6
Tigres UANL (MEX)
Alajuelense (CRC)
Real Esteli (NIC)

Group 7
Chorillo (PAN)
Monterrey (MEX)
Municipal (GUA)

Group 8
Xelaju (GUA)
Chivas de Guadalajara (MEX)
Caribbean 2