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Which Mexican teams play in the Concachampions and how do they qualify?

The CONCACAF Champions League takes place between February and May, featuring 16 teams, including four from the Liga MX.

Atlas' Edgar Zaldivar (C) celebrates advancing to the semifinals after defeating Guadalajara at the end of the Mexican Clausura tournament soccer match at the Jalisco stadium in Guadalajara, Jalisco state, Mexico, May 15, 2022. (Photo by Ulises Ruiz / AFP)

The CONCACAF Champions League or Concachampions, has proved to be a particularly profitable competition for Mexican clubs. Out of the 57 editions of the tournament between 1962 and 2022, 36 - more than half, have been won by clubs from the Liga MX. Monterrey were the last Mexican side to lift the trophy in 2021 and are also the club to have won the tournament the most times in its present guise. The Rayados have five CONCACAF Champions League titles - the same number held by Club América and Cruz Azul in the competition in its previous incarnation, the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup, which ran until 2008.

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Current format

At present, the CONCACAF Champions League is a knockout competition which features 16 teams, including a minimum of nine from the North American Zone - four from MLS, one from Canada and four from the Liga MX. For Mexican clubs, the winners and runners-up from both the Apertura and Clausura tournaments automatically qualify for a place in the CONCACAF Champions League. The tournament itself runs from February and May with two-legged ties from the Round of 16 through to the semi-finals. The winners go on to be CONCACAF’s representatives at the Club World Cup.

The four Liga MX who will be representing Mexico at next year’s CONCACAF Champions League are: Atlas and Pachuca (Clausura 2022 winners and runners-up) León (Apertura 2021 runners-up), and Tigres UANL (the best ranked Liga MX team on the aggregate table). Other teams who have qualified for next year’s edition include: Orlando City SC, Vancouver Whitecaps, Philadelphia Union, Los Angeles FC, CD Olimpia (Honduras), Violette (Haiti), Tauro FC (Panama), Alianza FC (El Salvador), Motagua (Honduras), RCD España and Alajuelense (Costa Rica).

Tournament to be expanded in 2024

However, the 2023 CONCACAF Champions League will be the last to be played in its current format. The tournament will be expanded to include 27 clubs and will feature an additional, preliminary knockout round. Five clubs will qualify directly to the Round of 16 - the MLS Cup champions, the Liga MX champion with the best combined Apertura/Clausura regular-season record plus the winners of three new sub-regional tournaments: the Leagues Cup (which will involving all MLS and Liga MX clubs), the Central American Cup and the Caribbean Cup.

The remaining 22 teams will enter at the first-round stage with the 11 winners of each tie advancing to the Round of 16.


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