One of the benefits of FC Dallas finishing in the top half of the MLS table this year is getting to host two games in the 2023 Leagues Cup. Every team is taking part in a new format next season and being better – Top 15 specifically – gets the club two home games rather than having to play away from home.
Major League Soccer and Liga MX have announced a new iteration of the Leagues Cup, the intra-league competition between the two leagues, that looks more like a World Cup in format.
MLS and LIGA MX will pause their respective league seasons. No MLS or LIGA MX regular season matches will be played during Leagues Cup.
The competition will include an opening Group Stage then knockout stages through 5 rounds (Round of 32, Round of 16, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Final plus Third-Place game).
The 2023 Group Stage starts on July 21 and the Final will be played on August 19.
There will be 15 groups with three teams each in the opening group stage (the MLS Cup Champs and top Liga MX team get a bye to the knockout round). The Top 15 teams from MLS get to play two home games. Each team will play the others in their group once with the top two teams advancing.
That means each team is guaranteed two games total and FCD gets both at home. With all the games being played here in the US, the Mexico teams will be playing all their matched on the road.
There will also be no ties. After 90 minutes, tied teams move to PKs with the PK-winning team getting 1 extra point. This is the MLS Next Pro format. (MLS is using Next Pro to test ideas.)
“The arrival of Leagues Cup 2023 means a before and after in history, not only for the sport in our region but for soccer worldwide. Additionally, our confederation endorses and gives an official status to the tournament, which will strengthen the competition for the 47 participating clubs. For LIGA MX, this means spending a month with our great and growing fan base in the United States and creating new international opportunities, so that our clubs and players can show the world their talent and commitment to excellence. We are very excited about the arrival of Leagues Cup 2023 which, in addition to the preparations for the joint World Cup in 2026, will allow fans from all over the world and the global soccer industry itself to turn to see what is happening in Mexico, Canada, and the United States.”LIGA MX Executive President Mikel Arriola
Concacaf Champions League
Winning the Leagues Cup gets you a shiny trophy and a spot in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16. Second and third in the Leagues Cup enter into Round One of the CCL.
“Leagues Cup 2023 is an important step in the partnership between MLS and LIGA MX, and we’re pleased to unveil key competition elements for next summer’s tournament. There has never been anything like Leagues Cup in major professional sports on this continent or anywhere else, and we believe the tournament will help elevate the profile of Concacaf throughout the world.”MLS Commissioner Don Garber
More Group Formatting Info
The top 15 LIGA MX clubs – based on the combined Clausura 2022 and Apertura 2022 standings – will be placed into groups in reverse order from the MLS clubs (No. 15 LIGA MX seeded club will be paired with No. 1 MLS seeded club and so on). There will be at least one LIGA MX club per group.
The remaining 13 MLS clubs together with the 2 remaining LIGA MX clubs, will be divided geographically and drawn into groups. The 13 MLS clubs will each host one Group Stage match each. LIGA MX v. LIGA MX matches will be played at select venues depending on region.
The Leagues Cup 2023 schedule and details will be announced in the coming months.