Major League Soccer andhave collaborated closely for several years to develop the sport in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Starting in 2023, those efforts will take on a new shape as teams from the and Liga MX compete in the redesigned Leagues Cup.
However, what is the Leagues Cup, who will compete in it, and how will it be designed? Everything you need to know about the redesigned competition.
What exactly is the League Cup?
Four clubs from each league competed in a single-elimination competition for the Leagues Cup’s inaugural season in 2019. Cruz Azul won the inaugural trophy in the first iteration after defeating Tigres in the championship game. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tournament was temporarily suspended in 2020. It was then restarted in 2021 with Club Leon defeating the Seattle Sounders 3-2 in the championship match.
Although several exhibition games were played under the name “Leagues Cup Showcase,” the competition was not held in 2022 as the two leagues concentrated on a new format that will start in 2023.
A differently new format!
Beginning in 2023, a new competition with a World Cup-style tournament will be open to all 47 teams from MLS and Liga MX. Teams will be split into the East, West, South, and Central regions. A group stage will be followed by knockout rounds.
MLS venues in the United States and Canada will host a total of 77 games, with the location varying by area.
How does this Group Stage work for League Cup?
The 2022 MLS Cup victor will skip the group stage and begin to play in the Round of 32, and the Liga MX Clausura or Apertura champion with the highest points accrued throughout both competitions will likewise proceed directly to the knockout stages. The top two clubs from each group advance to the knockout stages, with each club required to play a minimum of two matches during the group round.
After which, the 13 surviving teams will be sorted into groups based on location. The Leagues Cup group stage will not feature any draws. If the scores are tied at the end of regulation, each side will receive one point, and the victor of the penalty shootout will receive an additional point.
How the knockout rounds will work?
Single elimination will be used for the entirety of the knockout rounds, from the Round of 32 to the eventual finale and third-place game.
Is there a trophy for winning?
Both finals will receive invitations to the CONCACAF Champions League, along with the winner of the third-place game. However, the victor advances directly to the CCL Round of 16.
When will it start?
The competition will take place from July 21 through August 19.
No MLS or Liga MX games will be played during the competition, which will cause each league to stop its seasons.
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