Sporting KC was drawn into a difficult group in the 2014-2015 CONCACAF Champions League. (Kyle Rivas/Getty)
Sporting Kansas City finds itself in what could be called the Group of Death of the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League, while the other Major League Soccer teams in the competition received more favorable draws.
Kansas City will face Costa Rican powerhouse Deportivo Saprissa and Real Estelí, which has won at least one half of Nicaragua's split calendar for eight straight seasons.
For the second year in a row, two MLS teams have been drawn into the same group. The winner of the Canadian Championship final series between the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC will face the New York Red Bulls and Salvadorian club FAS in Group 3.
D.C. United, back in the continental championship for the first time since 2009-10, received probably the most favorable draw in the tournament. D.C. faces Jamaican debutant Waterhouse FC and Panamanian 2013 Apertura champion Tauro FC.
The Portland Timbers also received a fairly friendly draw, coming up against Olimpia of Honduras and Guyanese club Alpha United.
By the rules of the competition, no American club drew any Mexican club in the first phase of the competition. No club from the same national association could be placed in the same group either, but that didn't spare Montreal/Toronto and New York from being paired despite playing in the same league.
The 24 clubs begin play on a date yet to be determined, likely in late July or early August. The complete group draw is as follows:
Group 1: Pachuca (Mexico), Deportivo España (Costa Rica), Municipal (Guatemala)
Group 2: Sporting Kansas City (MLS), Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica), Real Estelí (Nicaragua)
Group 3: New York Red Bulls (MLS), Montreal Impact/Toronto FC (MLS), FAS (El Salvador)
Group 4: Taruo FC (Panama), D.C. United (MLS), Waterhouse FC (Jamaica)
Group 5: Olimpia (Honduras), Portland Timbers (MLS), Alpha United (Guyana)
Group 6: Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Cruz Azul (Mexico), Chorillo FC (Panama)
Group 7: León (Mexico), Isidro Metapan (El Salvador), Belmopan Bandits (Belize)
Comunicaciones (Guatemala), Club América (Mexico), Bayamon FC (Puerto Rico)