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D.C. United, Columbus invited to participate in inaugural Giants Cup.

(Friday, February 16, 20001) -- Major League Soccer's D.C. United and the Columbus Crew were among 12 teams invited to play in the first CONCACAF Giants Cup.

D.C. United will play a quarterfinal home-and-home series against the winner of the preliminary-round series between SV Transvaal (Suriname) and Arnett Gardens (Jamaica). The first game will have United on the road on either April 3, 4 or 5, then hosting the second match the following weekend.

Columbus will face the winner of the series between Alianza FC (El Salvador) and CD Saprissa (Costa Rica) in the same schedule, also opening on the road.

CONCACAF is the region representing North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The Giants Cup was approved last November as one of two major club competitions each year, the second being the Champions Cup, which has been CONCACAF’s premier club competition since 1962.

Teams were invited to the Giants Cup based on on-field success and attendance. In addition to MLS, two teams were invited from Mexico, six from Central America and two from the Caribbean. Games start March 7, with semifinals April 27 and the championship match two days after.

The winning teams gets $50,000 with $40,000 to second, $35,000 to third and $30,000 to fourth.

The winner and runnerup of the 2001 and 2002 Giants Cups, along with the top two finishers in the Champions Cup in both 2001 and 2002 advance to the Clubs Cup, the winner of which will qualify for the 2003 FIFA Club World Championship,

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