The Top 3 teams at the 2023 Leagues Cup will earn automatic qualification spots at the 2024 CONCACAF Champions League.
The Leagues Cup is an annual football competition between clubs from Major League Soccer and Liga MX in North America.
It was founded to strengthen the ties, as well as provide competition, between clubs from the USA, Canada and Mexico.
FootballOrbit brings all you need to know about the Leagues Cup.
What is the Leagues Cup tournament?
The Leagues Cup is an inter-league tournament between teams from the Major League Soccer (MLS) and Liga MX.
It is organized by MLS and the Mexican Football Federation and sanctioned by CONCACAF — the continental football governing body for North America.
The tournament was announced on the 29th of May 2019.
Major League Soccer and Liga MX clubs had previously played in the North American SuperLiga — which ran from 2007 to 2010.
Both leagues also send clubs to the CONCACAF Champions League, a tournament largely dominated by Mexican clubs.
Clubs from both leagues also featured in the Campeones Cup — a single match played between the winners of the MLS Cup and the Campeón de Campeones.
Format of the Leagues Cup
The inaugural edition of the Leagues Cup (2019) featured four clubs from each league in an 8-team single-elimination knockout tournament — with the first two rounds hosted by the MLS club.
The participating four MLS teams in the first edition were invitees while the four Liga MX participants were chosen based on their league results.
The quarterfinals were played on July 23/24 and the semifinals were played on August 20.
The first ever final of the tournament was played on the 18th of September 2019 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mexican club, Cruz Azul, defeated fellow Mexican side, Tigres, in the final to win the inaugural trophy.
The 2020 edition of the tournament — initially planned to feature 16 teams (8 from each league) — was canceled due to COVID-19.
The 2021 tournament was won by Club León, who defeated Seattle Sounders 3-2 to win the title.
Because of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the 2022 Leagues Cup was replaced by a series of inter-league friendlies called “Leagues Cup Showcase”.
2023 Leagues Cup
Beginning with the 2023 edition, the Leagues Cup will include all MLS and Liga MX teams — 47 teams in total —with all 77 matches to be played in the United States and Canada.
The 2023 tournament will run from the 21st of July to the 19th of August 2023.
Each league will pause its respective seasons, with no MLS or Liga MX matches being played during the tournament.
The top 15 teams from each league will be seeded into 15 groups based on their league standings from the previous season, while the remaining teams are drawn based on geographic proximity.
The group stage will have three matches in a round-robin format and the top two teams will qualify for the knockout stage.
There will be no draws in the Leagues Cup group stage. At the end of regulation time, if the scores are level, there will be a penalty shootout.
Both teams will receive one point, with the winner of the penalty shootout getting an additional point.
However, two teams will skip the group stage, instead qualifying directly to the knockout stage.
The two teams will be the reigning MLS Cup champion and highest-ranked Liga MX champion from either the previous Clausura and Apertura.
Starting with a Round of 32, the knockout stages will be single elimination all the way to the third-place match and the final.
Furthermore, the winner of the eventual third-place match will earn a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League, while both finalists will also earn spots in the CCL.
The winner of the Leagues Cup, though, will skip straight to the Round of 16 in the CONCACAF Champions League.