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ATLANTA (Oct. 21, 2018) – Atlanta United clinched a spot in the 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League by defeating Chicago Fire 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta earned the berth by posting the league’s highest combined points total from the 2017 and 2018 regular seasons. With today’s win, the club tied the MLS regular season points record with 69. The international competition will be drawn in December, while play will begin in February 2019.
“We’re delighted to have qualified for the 2019 Concacaf Champions League and it speaks volumes about our club that we finished with the highest two-year points total in MLS in our first two of years of existence,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “When we launched this club two years ago, we set high expectations to win championships, compete on a global stage and to extend our brand into international markets. We’re pleased with the progress that has been made and we’re looking forward to competing in this prestigious international tournament next spring.”
The 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League will be the 11th edition of the competition under its current name, and the 54th overall edition of the premier club competition organized by Concacaf. Next year’s tournament will feature a total of 16 teams from Concacaf regions, comprised of nine teams from the North American Zone (four teams from Mexico, four from the United States, one from Canada), five teams from the Central American Zone (one berth each from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama) and one team from the Caribbean Zone (winner of the Caribbean Club Championship). The final spot goes to the winner of the Concacaf League, a regional tournament between the Central American and Caribbean Football Unions.
With Atlanta clinching a spot following today’s result, 14 of the 16 participants in next year’s Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League have been determined. Atlanta United join Sporting KC (2017 U.S. Open Cup Winners), and Houston Dynamo (2018 U.S. Open Cup winners) as representatives from the United States. The final U.S. spot will go to the 2018 MLS Cup Champion. Toronto FC, runners-up in this past year’s Champions League, qualified as winners of the 2018 Canadian Championship.
Mexican teams have dominated the Concacaf Champions League, winning every single edition of the tournament since its current format was adopted in 2008. During that time, only three MLS teams have been able to reach the final. In the history of the competition (known as Champions’ Cup from 1962-2008), only two U.S. teams have been crowned champions.
The draw for the 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League will be held in December. The 16 teams will play in a knockout-style tournament, with each match-up consisting of a two-legged series based on aggregate scoring. The winner of the tournament qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup.