The burgeoning bromance between North America’s top two professional soccer leagues takes a big step forward with this year’s edition of the league cup.
Previously played as a cozy eight-team tournament, the Leagues Cup becomes a massive 47-team competition this year, featuring every club from Major League Soccer and Liga MX. Both leagues will pause the regular season for a month to complete the World Cup-style tournament.
The expanded Leagues Cup is just the latest step in the partnership between MLS and Liga MX, which included two joint All-Star Games (2021 and 2022) and the Champions Leaguethe annual confrontation of the reigning champions of each league (this year it will feature LAFC vs. Tigers September 27 at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles).
What is the League Cup?
The Leagues Cup has been held twice before (2019 and 2021) with limited participation by teams from MLS and Liga MX. This year, all teams from both leagues will participate in the tournament.
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The 29 MLS and 18 Liga MX clubs were divided into 15 groups in four regions: East, Center, South and West. The group stage begins on July 21 and continues until July 31. The top two teams from each group, with the exception of Group 1 in the South Region, will advance to the single-elimination knockout rounds, which begin on August 2. It will take place on August 19.
Los Angeles FC − the 2022 MLS Cup champion − and Pachuca − the Liga MX champion with the most combined points accumulated in the closure and opening seasons in calendar year 2022: earned byes to the group stage and will enter the competition during the knockout stage.
Automatic qualification to the round of 16 of the Concacaf Champions League goes to the winner of the tournament. The League Cup runner-up, as well as the winner of the third-place match, qualify for the Concacaf Champions League.
Will Lionel Messi play in the League Cup?
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner revealed last month would play in the United States for David Beckham’s MLS clubbut the deal was not finalized for weeks.
The group stage of the Leagues Cup will not have draws
A victory in regulation time will count as three points. For matches tied after 90 minutes, each team will receive one point and the winner of the subsequent penalty shoot-out will receive an additional point.
Where will the Leagues Cup 2023 be played?
All 77 matches will take place in the US or Canada.
Starting from the round of 16, matches between two MLS clubs will be organized by the club with the best result in the Supporters’ Shield 2022 Standings. Matches between two Liga MX clubs will take place at a venue designated by the tournament organizing committee.
Here is the group of regional venues for matches between two Liga MX clubs during the knockout rounds:
- This: Red Bull Arena (Harrison, NJ), Subaru Park (Chester, PA), Audi Field (Washington, DC)
- Central: SeatGeek Stadium (Bridgeview, Illinois), Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas), DICK’S Sporting Goods Park (Commerce City, Colorado), Shell Energy Stadium (Houston)
- South: Q2 Stadium (Austin, Texas), Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas), Exploria Stadium (Orlando, Florida)
- West: BMO Stadium (Los Angeles), Dignity Health Sports Park (Carson, California), America First Field (Salt Lake City), PayPal Park (San Jose, California)
The knockout round match venues and kick-off times will be announced at the end of the group stage.
How do you qualify for the League Cup?
All MLS and Liga MX teams qualified for the 2023 Leagues Cup. However, teams were seeded based on previous seasons’ rankings. MLS clubs ranked from 2 to 16 according to 2022 Supporters Shield Completion they were planted first in each group. Liga MX clubs ranked 2-16 based on combined total points from Closing 2022 and Opening 2022 The campaigns will be ranked second in each group, against the MLS standings (for example, Liga MX 16 seed Tijuana was placed in a group with MLS 2 seed Philadelphia Union).
How were the clubs seeded for the Leagues Cup 2023?
- Los Angeles FC (bye)
- Philadelphia Union
- CF Montreal
- austin fc
- New York City FC
- new york red bulls
- F.C. Dallas
- los angeles galaxy
- Nashville South Carolina
- FC Cincinnati
- Minnesota United F.C.
- Inter Miami CF
- city of orlando sc
- true salt lake
- portland woods
- Columbus Crew
Unseeded: Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Colorado Rapids, Charlotte FC, New England Revolution, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Atlanta United, Chicago Fire FC, Houston Dynamo FC, San Jose Earthquakes, Toronto Fc, DC United, St. Louis City SC
MX League Seeds
- Pachuca (goodbye)
- America club
- UANL Tigers
- CF Monterrey
- Saints Lagoon
- Blue Cross
- puebla club
- Club Leon
- athletic san louis
- UNAM cougars
Unseeded: Juárez, Querétaro
Previous League Cup finals
- 2021: Club León over Seattle Sounders FC, 3-2
- 2019: Cruz Azul over Tigres UANL, 2-1