Only in the United States can this happen. A Canadian team has to be champs of the US for NYCFC to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League.
This is a series of scenarios that make the union between the United States and Canadian clubs in MLS look ridiculous. Let us count the ways. The Champions League for the CONCACAF section of the world allows for nine teams from the NAFU, North American Football Union, to enter the tournament.
That sounds simple enough. What’s the breakdown, you may ask? Well, Mexico and the United States gets four club berths and Canada has one. However, Canada will have a big say in who qualifies for the U.S. Now this is where it gets a bit complicated especially NYCFC fans.
The MLS Cup champions get one berth. Understandable. The Eastern and Western Conference champions get the other two berths, one of which is the 2016 Supporters Shield, which is awarded to the MLS team with the best regular-season record. The fourth berth goes to the U.S. Open Cup Champions.
Now we get to the meat and potatoes.
The Key for NYCFC is the double-trophy aspect for qualifying. If any team gains berths in more than one way, then the next best record in the Supporters Shield standings that has not qualified in any other manner gets the slot.
Now this also goes if any MLS team based in Canada gains a berth from the MLS side. The only Canadian team that can qualify outright for the Champions League is the winner of the Voyageurs Cup, which is awarded to the best team in Canada via the tournament.
Now, let’s do the math.
The New York Red Bulls won the East and are in. Dallas won the West and the best record which gains them the Supporter’s Shield. But, they also won the U.S. Open Cup. This opens one slot for the next best record in the shield, which would have been Colorado, who is four points better than NYCFC. However, if the Rapids had gone on to win the MLS Cup with Dallas already Shield Champions, the slot that goes to the U.S. Open Cup champ would have been awarded to NYC.
But Colorado got eliminated in the MLS Playoffs by the Seattle Sounders in the Eastern Conference Finals. If Colorado had failed to win the title and a Canadian team won it, the Rapids get in with the extra berth as next best record. But what does that mean for NYCFC?
Well, it means that they now wait and root for the Canadian team to win the MLS Cup. Colorado has already wrapped up the extra berth from Dallas being double winners. But another berth opens if Canada wins the MLS Cup because a Canadian team cannot represent the United States in the regional championship. This opens a second berth and NYCFC would slide in as the next best record remaining from any team that has not qualified in any other manner.
I hope you followed all of this and now understand the absurdity of it all. Now NYCFC Fans should go home and learn the words to O’ Canada because that’s the only way this U.S. team gets to represent the U.S. Follow?