Whitecaps draw Real CD Espana in Champions League opening series

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps will launch their third Champions League campaign in early March against Honduran side Real CD Espana.

The official draw for the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 was held Monday night in Miami.

The Whitecaps, who failed to qualify for the Major League Soccer playoffs this season, secured their Champions League berth after defeating Toronto FC on July 26 in the Canadian Championship Final at B.C. Place. The teams played to a 1-1 tie and the Whitecaps won 5-3 on penalties.

The Whitecaps will play Real CD Espana in a two-leg aggregate series, with the first leg to take place between March 7-9, and the second leg between March 14-16.

Real CD Espana plays in the Honduran Liga Nacional and are taking part in their fourth CONCACAF Champions League campaign.

The winner will advance to play either MLS Cup champion Los Angeles FC or Costa Rican side LD Alajuelense in the quarterfinals.

The Whitecaps first qualified for the Champions League in 2015-16, and reached the semifinals in the 2016-17 tournament.

The winner of the tournament qualifies for the annual FIFA Club World Cup, where they’ll face the top teams from Asia, Africa, South America, Oceania and Europe.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2022.

The Canadian Press