Hard work paying off for Portmore - Dixon
Portmore United head coach Linval Dixon said that the team's hard work has paid dividends as he looked ahead to participating in the inaugural season of the Scotiabank CONCACAF League later this year.
The Portmore team advanced to the new club league following a third place finish in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship last month.
"We put in the hard work, and it has paid off with the club advancing to the new league. We are happy about that and will continue working towards the goal of qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League next year," Dixon told The Gleaner yesterday, following the draw last Wednesday in Miami, Florida.
"The team played six matches in the CFU Club Championship and we won five and drew once, but missed the final on goal difference and finished in third," he explained.
"The experience was great for the players as some were travelling for the first time. They were not used to travelling, but the team did what they had to do, and that is amazing," he reasoned.
TOP CLUB TEAMS
The Scotiabank CONCACAF League, the new club competition of CONCACAF, features 16 top club teams from the Central American and Caribbean region. The tournament is played in direct elimination knockout round format, with home-and-away rounds set to begin in early August.
Wednesday's official draw sorted the sixteen qualified clubs into eight pairings for the first round of the competition. The draw was conducted by CONCACAF general secretary Phillipe Moggio, with the assistance of former players Alvaro Saborio from Costa Rica and Omar Daley from Jamaica.
The Round of 16 pairing for the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League are as follows:
San Juan Jabloteh vs Santos de Guapiles FC; CD Honduras Progreso vs Chorrillo FC; CD Arabe Unido vs Central FC; Real Esteli FC vs CD Aguila; LD Alajuelense s CD Olimpia; Alianza FC vs Platense FC; CD Plaza Amador vs Portmore United; and Belmopan Bandits vs CD Walter Ferretti.
For the semifinals, the clubs will be ranked per their performance (points earned, goal differential and goals scored) in the Round of 16 and the quarterfinals, using the competition's tie-breaking procedure.
The highest-ranked club in each semifinal matchup will host the second leg matches. The same tie-breaking procedure will be applied to determine who will host the second leg final.
For the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League, Panama and Honduras each enjoy an additional berth to the tournament, filling the two spots allocated for Guatemala clubs (not eligible to participate in the competition due to the on-going suspension of the Guatemalan Federation).
In total, the expanded CONCACAF club competitions platform - including the newly launched Scotiabank CONCACAF League and the re-designed Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League - will feature 31 club teams from across the Confederation.
The 2018 edition of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League kicks off in February of next year, featuring the winner of the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League and 15 more of the best clubs from the entire CONCACAF region, including the Caribbean, Central America, plus Mexico, the United States and Canada. The champion of that competition will represent the region in the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup.