2023 Leagues Cup

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2023 Leagues Cup
Tournament details
Host countriesCanada
United States
DatesJuly 21 – August 19
Teams47 (from 3 associations)
Venue(s)29 (in 29 host cities)
Final positions
ChampionsUnited States Inter Miami CF (1st title)
Runners-upUnited States Nashville SC
Third placeUnited States Philadelphia Union
Fourth placeMexico Monterrey
Tournament statistics
Matches played77
Goals scored251 (3.26 per match)
Attendance1,328,669 (17,255 per match)
Top scorer(s)Argentina Lionel Messi
(10 goals)
Best player(s)Argentina Lionel Messi
Best goalkeeperUnited States Drake Callender
2024

The 2023 Leagues Cup was the third edition of the Leagues Cup, an international club soccer tournament between Major League Soccer (MLS) and Liga MX. It was held from July 21 to August 19, 2023, with all 77 matches held in either the United States or Canada. The tournament was organized by MLS and the Mexican Football Federation and sanctioned by CONCACAF, the continental governing body for the sport in North America.[1]

Inter Miami CF won the tournament after defeating Nashville SC on penalties in the final at Geodis Park in Nashville, Tennessee. Miami's Lionel Messi was the top goalscorer and awarded the best player of the Leagues Cup.[2]

For the first time in the history of the competition, all MLS and Liga MX teams (47 total) competed in the tournament, with both leagues taking a pause in their respective seasons to participate.[3] In addition, the Leagues Cup finalists and third-place team earned berths to the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup, with winners Inter Miami automatically advancing to that tournament's round of 16.

Format[edit]

The starting lineups of Seattle Sounders FC (in green) and Monterrey (in white) prior to their group stage match

The 2023 Leagues Cup was the first edition where all MLS and Liga MX teams participated. The MLS Cup 2022 winners (Los Angeles FC) and the 2022 Clausura or 2022 Apertura champions with the highest aggregate points accumulated across 2022 (Pachuca) qualified automatically for the round of 32. The remaining 45 teams were placed into 15 groups of three.[4][5]

For the group stage, teams played one match against each team in their group. Regulation wins were worth three points and regulation losses are zero points. Matches tied after 90 minutes advanced to a penalty shoot-out, where the winner earned two points and the loser earned one. All matches were held in either the United States or Canada, with the MLS teams playing at home and intra-Liga MX matches played at MLS venues depending on their region.[1][4][5] Matches disrupted by inclement weather, including thunderstorms, were delayed or postponed to another date to resume at the time of the stoppage.[6]

The top two teams in each group advanced to the round of 32, joining the MLS Cup winners and highest-ranked Liga MX champion. This phase of the tournament was a five-round single-leg knockout format with a third place match. As was the case during the group stage, knockout stage matches tied after 90 minutes were decided by a penalty shoot-out.[7]: 14  The two finalists and third place team earned berths for the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup, with the winners automatically advancing to the Champions Cup round of 16.[1]

Teams and draw[edit]

The competition featured all 47 clubs from the two leagues: 29 from MLS and 18 from Liga MX.[8] Teams were ranked by league using the 2022 Supporters' Shield standings for MLS and the 2022 aggregate table for Liga MX. The champions of each league received a bye to the knockout stage as the highest seed. The top 15 remaining teams from each league were placed into groups based on ranking and in reverse order (for example, the 2nd-ranked MLS club was drawn against the 16th-ranked Liga MX club). The remaining teams (13 MLS and 2 Liga MX) were drawn into groups and divided into geographical regions. The first two teams of every group were seeded. The third team was the nearest geographically located unseeded team to the other two teams.[4]

  Teams receiving bye to knockout stage.
  Teams assigned to a group based on league ranking.
  Teams drawn into a group.
  1. ^
    St. Louis City SC joined Major League Soccer in 2023 and therefore had no 2022 season ranking.

Schedule[edit]

The schedule of the competition was as follows.[9]

Schedule for 2023 Leagues Cup
Phase Round Date
Group stage Matchday 1 July 21–23, 2023
Matchday 2 July 25–27, 2023
Matchday 3 July 29–31, 2023
Knockout stage Round of 32 August 2–4, 2023
Round of 16 August 6–8, 2023
Quarter-finals August 11–12, 2023
Semi-finals August 15, 2023
Third place play-off August 19, 2023
Final

Group stage[edit]

The group stage was played from July 21 to 31.[10] Competing teams were divided into fifteen groups of three teams. Teams in each group played one another in a single round-robin, where the top two teams advanced to the knockout stage.

West[edit]

West 1 West 2 West 3

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Mexico UANL 2 6
2 United States Portland Timbers 2 3
3 United States San Jose Earthquakes 2 0
Source: Leagues Cup

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Mexico Monterrey 2 6
2 United States Real Salt Lake 2 3
3 United States Seattle Sounders FC 2 0
Source: Leagues Cup

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Mexico León 2 5
2 Canada Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 4
3 United States LA Galaxy 2 0
Source: Leagues Cup

Central[edit]

Central 1 Central 2

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 United States Columbus Crew 2 6
2 Mexico América 2 3
3 United States St. Louis City SC 2 0
Source: Leagues Cup

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 United States Chicago Fire FC 2 4
2 United States Minnesota United FC 2 3
3 Mexico Puebla 2 2
Source: Leagues Cup
Central 3 Central 4

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 United States FC Cincinnati 2 5
2 United States Sporting Kansas City 2 4
3 Mexico Guadalajara 2 0
Source: Leagues Cup

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Mexico Toluca 2 6
2 United States Nashville SC 2 3
3 United States Colorado Rapids 2 0
Source: Leagues Cup

South[edit]

South 1 South 2

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Mexico Mazatlán 2 5
2 Mexico Juárez 2 4
3 United States Austin FC 2 0
Source: Leagues Cup

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 United States Orlando City SC 2 5
2 United States Houston Dynamo FC 2 3
3 Mexico Santos Laguna 2 1
Source: Leagues Cup
South 3 South 4

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 United States Inter Miami CF 2 6
2 Mexico Cruz Azul 2 2
3 United States Atlanta United FC 2 1
Source: Leagues Cup

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 United States Charlotte FC 2 5
2 United States FC Dallas 2 4
3 Mexico Necaxa 2 0
Source: Leagues Cup

East[edit]

East 1 East 2

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 United States Philadelphia Union 2 6
2 Mexico Querétaro 2 3
3 Mexico Tijuana 2 0
Source: Leagues Cup

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Mexico UNAM 2 4
2 United States D.C. United 2 3
3 Canada CF Montréal 2 2
Source: Leagues Cup
East 3 East 4

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Mexico Atlas 2 6
2 United States New York City FC 2 3
3 Canada Toronto FC 2 0
Source: Leagues Cup

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 United States New York Red Bulls 2 5
2 United States New England Revolution 2 4
3 Mexico Atlético San Luis 2 0
Source: Leagues Cup

Knockout stage[edit]

In the knockout stage, if the scores were equal at the end of regulation time, a penalty shoot-out was used to determine the winners.[7]: 15 

The host team was determined by several criteria, including group winner for round of 32 and the 2022 regular season standings for matches between two MLS clubs, where the team with the higher number of points hosted starting in round of 16. For MLS v. Liga MX matches, the MLS club hosted. Matches between two Liga MX teams were hosted at a neutral venue appointed by the Organizing Committee from a predetermined list.[11]

Bracket[edit]

 
Round of 32Round of 16Quarter-finalsSemi-finalsFinal
 
                  
 
August 2 – Los Angeles
 
 
United States Los Angeles FC7
 
August 8 – Los Angeles
 
Mexico Juárez1
 
United States Los Angeles FC4
 
August 4 – Sandy
 
United States Real Salt Lake0
 
Mexico León1
 
August 11 – Pasadena
 
United States Real Salt Lake3
 
United States Los Angeles FC2
 
August 4 – Vancouver
 
Mexico Monterrey3
 
Mexico UANL1 (5)
 
August 8 – Houston
 
Canada Vancouver Whitecaps FC1 (3)
 
Mexico UANL0
 
August 4 – Portland
 
Mexico Monterrey1
 
Mexico Monterrey1
 
August 15 – Nashville
 
United States Portland Timbers0
 
Mexico Monterrey0
 
August 4 – Columbus
 
United States Nashville SC2
 
United States Columbus Crew3 (3)
 
August 8 – Saint Paul
 
United States Minnesota United FC (p)3 (4)
 
United States Minnesota United FC (p)2 (4)
 
August 4 – Kansas City
 
Mexico Toluca2 (2)
 
Mexico Toluca4
 
August 11 – Nashville
 
United States Sporting Kansas City1
 
United States Minnesota United FC0
 
August 4 – Bridgeview
 
United States Nashville SC5
 
United States Chicago Fire FC 0
 
August 8 – Nashville
 
Mexico América 1
 
Mexico América2 (5)
 
August 4 – Cincinnati
 
United States Nashville SC (p)2 (6)
 
United States FC Cincinnati1 (4)
 
August 19 – Nashville
 
United States Nashville SC (p)1 (5)
 
United States Nashville SC1 (9)
 
August 3 – Chester
 
United States Inter Miami CF (p)1 (10)
 
United States Philadelphia Union (p)0 (5)
 
August 8 – Chester
 
United States D.C. United0 (4)
 
United States Philadelphia Union (p)1 (4)
 
August 3 – Harrison
 
United States New York Red Bulls1 (3)
 
United States New York Red Bulls1
 
August 11 – Chester
 
United States New York City FC0
 
United States Philadelphia Union2
 
August 3 – Washington, D.C.
 
Mexico Querétaro1
 
Mexico UNAM0
 
August 7 – Foxborough
 
Mexico Querétaro1
 
Mexico Querétaro (p)1 (4)
 
August 3 – Foxborough
 
United States New England Revolution1 (3)
 
Mexico Atlas2 (7)
 
August 15 – Chester
 
United States New England Revolution (p)2 (8)
 
United States Philadelphia Union1
 
August 2 – Frisco
 
United States Inter Miami CF4 Third place play-off
 
Mexico Mazatlán1
 
August 6 – FriscoAugust 19 – Chester
 
United States FC Dallas2
 
United States FC Dallas4 (3)United States Philadelphia Union3
 
August 2 – Fort Lauderdale
 
United States Inter Miami CF (p)4 (5) Mexico Monterrey0
 
United States Inter Miami CF3
 
August 11 – Fort Lauderdale
 
United States Orlando City SC1
 
United States Inter Miami CF4
 
August 2 – Houston
 
United States Charlotte FC0
 
Mexico Pachuca0 (3)
 
August 7 – Houston
 
United States Houston Dynamo FC (p)0 (5)
 
United States Houston Dynamo FC1
 
August 3 – Frisco
 
United States Charlotte FC2
 
United States Charlotte FC (p)0 (4)
 
 
Mexico Cruz Azul0 (3)
 

Round of 32[edit]

The matches were played from August 2–4, 2023.

Team 1  Score  Team 2
Inter Miami CF United States 3–1 United States Orlando City SC
Mazatlán Mexico 1–2 United States FC Dallas
Pachuca Mexico 0–0 (3–5 p) United States Houston Dynamo FC
Los Angeles FC United States 7–1 Mexico Juárez
Atlas Mexico 2–2 (7–8 p) United States New England Revolution
Philadelphia Union United States 0–0 (5–4 p) United States D.C. United
UNAM Mexico 0–1 Mexico Querétaro
New York Red Bulls United States 1–0 United States New York City FC
Charlotte FC United States 0–0 (4–3 p) Mexico Cruz Azul
León Mexico 1–3 United States Real Salt Lake
Columbus Crew United States 3–3 (3–4 p) United States Minnesota United FC
FC Cincinnati United States 1–1 (4–5 p) United States Nashville SC
Chicago Fire FC United States 0–1 Mexico América
Toluca Mexico 4–1 United States Sporting Kansas City
Monterrey Mexico 1–0 United States Portland Timbers
UANL Mexico 1–1 (5–3 p) Canada Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Round of 16[edit]

The matches were played from August 6 to 8, 2023.

Team 1  Score  Team 2
FC Dallas United States 4–4 (3–5 p) United States Inter Miami CF
Querétaro Mexico 1–1 (4–3 p) United States New England Revolution
Charlotte FC United States 2–1 United States Houston Dynamo FC
América Mexico 2–2 (5–6 p) United States Nashville SC
Philadelphia Union United States 1–1 (4–3 p) United States New York Red Bulls
Toluca Mexico 2–2 (2–4 p) United States Minnesota United FC
UANL Mexico 0–1 Mexico Monterrey
Los Angeles FC United States 4–0 United States Real Salt Lake

Quarter-finals[edit]

The matches were played on August 11, 2023.

Team 1  Score  Team 2
Inter Miami CF United States 4–0 United States Charlotte FC
Nashville SC United States 5–0 United States Minnesota United FC
Philadelphia Union United States 2–1 Mexico Querétaro
Los Angeles FC United States 2–3 Mexico Monterrey

Semi-finals[edit]

The matches were played on August 15, 2023.

Team 1  Score  Team 2
Philadelphia Union United States 1–4 United States Inter Miami CF
Monterrey Mexico 0–2 United States Nashville SC

Third place play-off[edit]

The winner of the third place match qualified for the first round of the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup.

Philadelphia Union United States3–0Mexico Monterrey
Report
Attendance: 17,731
Referee: Juan Calderón

Final[edit]

Both clubs qualified for the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup, with the winners qualifying directly to the round of 16.

Statistics[edit]

Top goalscorers[edit]

  Team eliminated for this round.
  Player was inactive for this round.
Rank Player Team MD1 MD2 MD3 R32 R16 QF SF 3rd F Total
1 Argentina Lionel Messi United States Inter Miami CF 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 10
2 South Africa Bongokuhle Hlongwane United States Minnesota United FC 2 2 2 1 7
3 Gabon Denis Bouanga United States Los Angeles FC 3 2 1 6
4 Argentina Germán Berterame Mexico Monterrey 2 3 5
United States Brandon Vázquez United States FC Cincinnati 1 3 1
6 Hungary Dániel Gazdag United States Philadelphia Union 1 3 4
Finland Robert Taylor United States Inter Miami CF 1 2 1
8 Argentina Gustavo Bou United States New England Revolution 1 2 3
Colombia Cucho Hernández United States Columbus Crew 1 2
Venezuela Josef Martínez United States Inter Miami CF 1 1 1
Haiti Fafà Picault United States Nashville SC 1 1 1
Colombia Harold Preciado Mexico Santos Laguna 2 1
England Sam Surridge United States Nashville SC 1 1 1
Albania Giacomo Vrioni United States New England Revolution 3

Marketing and symbols[edit]

The official song of the tournament was "Tiki Taka Toco", sung in Spanish by California-based Mexicana group Fuerza Regida. A short instrumental version of the song is used for match broadcasts on MLS Season Pass as well as advertisements and stadium announcements.[13] The marketing for the tournament focused heavily on the arrival of Lionel Messi at Inter Miami CF, which was credited with increasing subscriptions and viewership;[14] on the day of Messi's debut for Miami, subscriptions to MLS Season Pass rose by 110,000 in the United States.[15]

Controversies[edit]

This edition received accusations of being designed to favor MLS teams. Most notably, the fact that all matches were played at MLS venues in the United States or Canada.[16][17] Some Mexican coaches and players considered the format unfair, since there was no games in Mexico. For example, Nicolás Larcamón, coach of Club León stated: "there is a benefit for the MLS teams, on their field, in their environment, in their climate. I would love to have a second game in León, It would be ideal to play in both stadiums to equilibrate the balance".[18]

The mexican (and LA FC) player Carlos Vela declared: "Obviously, for me, the fairest thing is we should also had games in Mexico, that it shouldn't be all playing in the United States, so that everyone could had a little bit of playing away, at home, and being a little more even" he also added: “Not only does (being local) benefit, the Mexican team has to be away from their home and their families for a long time and it is not fair. I believe that, if you hold a tournament, everyone must have the same possibilities, or the same advantages and disadvantages, in that aspect I think that those from the MLS have a little more advantage, (Although) in the end we know that anything can happen on the field ”[19].

Noticeably, this was also reflected in a greater travel effort for the Mexican squads since the 18 Liga MX clubs traveled more than twice as many kilometers as all 29 in the MLS. Mexicans added an estimated 69,495 km; while combined Americans and Canadians, only 33,995. The criticism was more severe from the president of Club Monterrey, who, prior to their match against Los Angeles FC, pointed out that the Mexicans had moved more than 9,000 km, while throughout the Leagues Cup the team from the MLS had not left the Los Angeles metropolitan area.[16][20]

“It’ll be our fifth game (traveling), while LA(FC) will be home with their players eating dinner with their families every night, going to the movies, resting,” he stated.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Straus, Brian (October 6, 2022). "How MLS, Liga MX's Leagues Cup Competition Will Work". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  2. ^ Kaufman, Michelle (August 19, 2023). "Messi scores, Callender shines, Inter Miami wins League Cup in 11-round PK shootout". Miami Herald. Retrieved August 19, 2023.
  3. ^ "Historic reimagined Leagues Cup starting in 2023". MLSsoccer.com. September 21, 2021. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "Leagues Cup 2023 dates and structure announced". Major League Soccer. October 6, 2022. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Cardenas, Felipe (October 6, 2022). "MLS, Liga MX reveal format for expanded Leagues Cup". The Athletic. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  6. ^ Kennedy, Paul (August 7, 2023). "Weather plays havoc on MLS summer". Soccer America. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c "Leagues Cup 2023 Tournament Regulations". Major League Soccer. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  8. ^ "Leagues Cup 2023 Details Unveiled as MLS and Liga MX Clubs Face-off in World Cup-style Tournament" (Press release). Major League Soccer. October 6, 2022. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  9. ^ "2023 Leagues Cup: Matches, final, key dates". Leagues Cup. March 9, 2023. Retrieved March 9, 2023.
  10. ^ "2023 Leagues Cup: Matches, final, key dates". Leagues Cup. March 9, 2023. Retrieved March 9, 2023.
  11. ^ "Leagues Cup Tournament Regulations 2023". Major League Soccer. p. 11. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  12. ^ "Leagues Cup 2023 » Top Scorer". worldfootball.net. Retrieved August 4, 2023.
  13. ^ Mier, Tomas (July 21, 2023). "'The Mexican Genre's on Top': Fuerza Régida on Sold-Out Stadium Show and Leagues Cup Song". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  14. ^ Springer, Jon (August 10, 2023). "The Messi marketing effect—how the soccer superstar is boosting MLS and Apple TV". AdAge. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  15. ^ Toonkel, Jessica (September 5, 2023). "Messi Drives Jump in Apple TV+ and MLS Subscriptions". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  16. ^ a b López, Eduardo (August 11, 2023). "18 equipos de la Liga MX recorrieron más del doble de distancia que 29 de la MLS en Leagues Cup". Diario AS (in Mexican Spanish). Retrieved February 2, 2024.
  17. ^ a b Cardenas, Felipe. "Leagues Cup: Messi's impact, the controversies and more". The Athletic. Retrieved February 2, 2024.
  18. ^ Demos, Editorial; Ap, De la redacción y. "La Jornada - Liga Mx se inconforma ante Leagues Cup por decisiones arbitrales". www.jornada.com.mx (in Spanish). Retrieved February 2, 2024.
  19. ^ m.zavala (August 1, 2023). "Carlos Vela cree que la Leagues Cup no es justa: 'Debería haber partidos en México'". Record.com.mx (in Spanish). Retrieved February 19, 2024.
  20. ^ c.chavez (August 10, 2023). "Rayados es el equipo que más kilómetros ha recorrido en la Leagues Cup". Record.com.mx (in Spanish). Retrieved February 2, 2024.

External links[edit]