Sounders GM hints at CONCACAF Champions League format change

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The MLS Cup champions have seen some big changes in the offseason, but look ready to defend the title in 2017.

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The MLS Cup champions have seen some big changes in the offseason, but look ready to defend the title in 2017.

It looks like long-rumored changes to the CONCACAF Champions League format could be coming sooner than later.

Seattle Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey hinted Sunday that the 2016 MLS Cup champions might kick off CCL play in 2018 instead of late 2017, with the competition potentially shifting away from its traditional fall-to-spring schedule.

"We may not play Champions League games until 2018 due to some potential format changes," Lagerwey said on Fox's "Q It Up Sports" in Seattle.

Changes to the CCL calendar have been rumored since September 2015, when D.C. United coach Ben Olsen let slip that CONCACAF was considering an adjustment and the confederation subsequently confirmed the talks.

Since 2008, CONCACAF has held the CCL group stage in the fall and the knockout round in the spring. Clubs from Liga MX have won all eight tournaments, with MLS sides arguing that the knockout round schedule — which kicks off during that league's preseason — is a considerable disadvantage.

The potential change presumably would see the group stage held in the spring, with the all-important knockout round pushed to the fall.

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