A major piece of Atlanta United’s 2021 puzzle has now been confirmed. CONCACAF announced that the 2021 edition of the CCL will start rolling in April, over a month past its usual February start date. Also released was the Round of 16 draw date (February 10th) and the knockout stage matchdays.
Concacaf Champions League calendar is set.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) January 22, 2021
Draw: Feb 10
Round of 16: April 6-8 (first leg) and April 13-15 (second leg)
Quarterfinals: April 27-29 and May 4-6
Semifinals: Aug 10-12 and Aug 24-26
Final: Oct 26-28 (single match)
Atlanta has a spot in the tournament thanks to its victory in the most recent US Open Cup. This will be the Five Stripes third straight year in continental action, though both prior attempts were under the leadership of Frank de Boer. This later start date will be a boost for Atlanta as Gabriel Heinze has the luxury of an extra month of preseason training to imprint his ideas onto the team. There’s no word yet as to when the MLS Regular Season will kickoff, but if it comes in March like usual, for once the CCL wouldn't be the equivalent of a preseason tournament for MLS teams.
This offseason is the longest one yet for the Five Stripes, but the wait may just be worth it as Heinze and Co. look to rebound from 2020. CCL will be one of the biggest tests for the Argentine, but it promises excitement one way or the other.
Only 74 days to go...