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Atlanta United will face Motagua in Champions League

Atlanta United fans hold banners before the first round of the MLS playoffs between the Atlanta United and the New England Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Atlanta United won 1-0 over the New England Revolution. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Atlanta United fans hold banners before the first round of the MLS playoffs between the Atlanta United and the New England Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Atlanta United won 1-0 over the New England Revolution. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Atlanta United will play Honduran club Motagua in the Round of 16 of the Champions League after the tournament draw was held Monday night in Mexico. For the second consecutive year, the Five Stripes received a brutal draw.

The first game in the home-and-away series will take place Feb. 18-20 and scheduled to be in Honduras. The return leg will occur Feb. 25-27. Mercedes-Benz Stadium already has events booked for Feb. 22-23 and Feb. 29.

The tournament is composed of 16 teams from domestic leagues in Central America, North America and the Caribbean. The teams qualified through various ways, including winning their league, finishing with the most points in their league or by winning their domestic tournament.  Atlanta United qualified for the 2020 tournament by winning the U.S. Open Cup. Motagua qualified by finishing as the 2019 CONCACAF League runners-up.

It will be Atlanta United’s second time competing in the Champions League. It advanced past Costa Rica’s Herediano in the first round before losing to LIGA MX power Monterrey in the second round earlier this year. Monterrey, one of the richer clubs in the Western Hemisphere, won the tournament.

Should Atlanta United advance past Motagua, it will likely face Club America in the quarterfinals. Atlanta United defeated Los Aguilas to win the 2019 Campeones Cup. Club America will face Comunicaciones in the Round of 16. America is one of the most stories clubs in Mexico, plays in one of the most intense stadiums and also benefits from playing in the thin air of Mexico City.

Also on Atlanta United’s side of the bracket are Cruz Azul, LAFC and Club Leon.

This is Motagua’s fifth appearance in the Champions League. Its best finish was the Round of 16 in 2018. Motagua is based in the Honduras capital of Tegucigalpa. The club was founded in 1928 and plays its games in Estadio Nacional, which as a capacity of 35,000. The club has won its league 17 times.

The first leg of the quarterfinals is March 10-12 and the second leg is March 17-19. The legs of the semifinals are April 7-9 and 14-16, and the finals are April 28-30 and May 5-7.

Other matchups:
Saprissa vs. Montreal
Olimpia vs. Seattle

San Carlos vs. NYCFC
Alianza vs. Tigres

Leon vs. LAFC
Portmore United vs. Cruz Azul