The matchups for the quarterfinal round of the 2016-2017 Concacaf Champions League (CCL) are set and they include quality teams that will keep the prestigious tournament interesting and exciting for soccer fans. The quarterfinal round is played like every knockout stage of the CCL using a home and away format that includes the away goals rule. The qualifying teams are seeded one through eight based on how they performed in the group stages. These matches are set for February 21-23 and February 28-March 2 of 2017.
The matchups are listed below with our thoughts and picks:
(8) New York Red Bulls (MLS) vs. (1) Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS): While the Whitecaps have had a good run so far in the CCL, their MLS results point to a sad outcome for the number one seed. When February comes around and the Red Bulls aren’t playing their reserves in CCL fixtures, the Whitecaps will have a lot to be afraid of.
Our pick: New York Red Bulls
(7) FC Dallas (MLS) vs. (2) Arabe Unido (PAN): Arabe Unido is the surprise team in this year’s CCL. They were able to advance over past winners Monterrey in the group stage and will certainly put their best efforts in taking down the current MLS leaders. They have never made it past the quarterfinals in the CCL, and will have a hard time improving that statistic as they go up against a FC Dallas team that has consistently been in great form over the past two years.
Our pick: FC Dallas
(6) Deportivo Saprissa (CRC) vs. (3) CF Pachuca (MEX): This matchup is our favorite of the quarterfinal round. Costa Rican powerhouse Deportivo Saprissa will take on Mexican powerhouse CF Pachuca in a series that features intimidating stadiums, solid players, and two teams from two different, well-known leagues. Although Saprissa will have decent shot at winning when on home soil, our prediction puts Pachuca going through to the semifinals.
Our pick: CF Pachuca
(5) Tigres UANL (MEX) vs. (4) Pumas UNAM (MEX): This classic matchup places two teams that know each other well battling for their spot in the quarterfinals. This series will be close and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it decided on penalties. We picked Tigres UANL solely based on recent form and consistency, but this will be a great matchup.
Our pick: Tigres UANL
The winner of the New York Red Bulls vs. Vancouver Whitecaps will go on to face the winner of Tigres UANL vs. Pumas UNAM, and the winner of FC Dallas vs. Arabe Unido will continue on to play the winner of Pachuca vs. Saprissa in the semifinals in mid-March and early-April.
The cards are against the non-Mexican teams as there has never been a winner during the CCL era not from Mexico. With that said, FC Dallas, Arabe Unido, Vancouver, New York, and Saprissa are all teams that could potentially make history and be the first. This edition of the CCL knockout stages features a diverse group of teams that all have a shot at the title, which will make it interesting for players and fans alike.