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Leagues Cup: Schedule, format and everything you need to know about the competition between MLS and Liga MX

22:28 EAT 06/10/2022
Leagues Cup 2021 Leon
GOAL answers all of your questions about the new-look competition

For several years, Major League Soccer and Liga MX have worked together closely in an effort to help grow the game in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Those efforts are taking on a new form starting in 2023 as MLS and Liga MX teams will face off in the revamped Leagues Cup.

But what is the Leagues Cup, who will play in it and what will it look like? GOAL has answers with everything you need to know about the new-look tournament.

What is the Leagues Cup?

The Leagues Cup debuted in 2019 with four teams from each league participating in a single-elimination tournament to be held in 2019.

That first iteration was won by Cruz Azul, who defeated Tigres in the final to wih the inaugural trophy. The tournament was then canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but resumed in 2021 with Club Leon defeating the Seattle Sounders 3-2 in the final.

The competition was not held in 2022 - although some exhibition matches were held under the moniker "Leagues Cup Showcase" - as the two leagues focused on a new format, which will begin in 2023.

What is the new format for the Leagues Cup?

Starting in 2023, all 47 teams from MLS and Liga MX will enter into a new-look competition featuring a World Cup-style tournament.

It will begin with a group stage followed by knockout rounds, with teams separated into four regions: East, West, South and Central.

A total of 77 games will be hosted at MLS stadiums throughout the U.S. and Canada, with the venue depending on the region.

How will the League Cup group stage work?

The 2022 MLS Cup champion will skip the group stage and start play in the Round of 32, while the winner of Liga MX's Clausura or Apertura title with the most points accumulated between the two tournaments will also skip right to the knockouts.

Each club will play a minimum of two matches in the group stage, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the knockouts.

MLS clubs ranked two through 16 in the 2022 Supporters' Shield standings will be given the first seed in each group, while Liga MX clubs ranked two through 16 in their combined seasons will be paired on the opposite side. For example, Liga MX's 15 will play MLS No.2, while Liga MX's No.3 will play MLS' 14.

The remaining 13 teams will then be drawn into groups and divided by geography.

There will be no draws in the Leagues Cup group stage. At the end of regulation, if scores are level, both teams will receive one point, with the winner of a penalty shootout getting an additional point.

How will the League Cup knockout rounds work?

The knockouts will be single elimination all the way through, starting with a Round of 32 all the way to an eventual finale and third-place game.

What do teams get for winning the Leagues Cup?

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, though, will skip straight to the CCL Round of 16.

When will the 2022 Leagues Cup be played?

The tournament will run from July 21 through August 19.

Each league will pause its respective seasons, with no MLS or Liga MX matches being played during the tournament.