Leagues Cup

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Leagues Cup
Founded2019; 4 years ago (2019)
RegionNAFU (Canada, Mexico, United States)
Number of teams47
Qualifier forCONCACAF Champions Cup
Related competitionsCONCACAF Caribbean Cup
CONCACAF Central American Cup
Current championsUnited States Inter Miami CF
(1st title)
Most successful club(s)Mexico Cruz Azul
Mexico León
United States Inter Miami CF
(1 title each)
Television broadcastersMLS Season Pass
FS1 (English)
Univision (Spanish)
MottoNew world. New game.
2023 Leagues Cup

The Leagues Cup is an annual association football competition between clubs from Major League Soccer and Liga MX in North America, hosted in the United States and Canada. It debuted in July 2019 with four teams from both leagues participating. The first edition was a single-elimination tournament hosted in the United States with a final played in Las Vegas on September 18, 2019.[1]

In 2023, the tournament was expanded to include all clubs from MLS and Liga MX, and now functions as a regional cup for the North American region of CONCACAF, covering Canada, Mexico and the United States. The top three Leagues Cup teams, regardless of nation, qualify for the CONCACAF Champions Cup, with the champions receiving a bye to the round of 16.


The first two editions of Leagues Cup featured four clubs from each league in an eight-team single-elimination knockout tournament, with the first two rounds hosted by the MLS club. The participating MLS teams in the first edition were invitees, but the second edition used league results for qualification; the four Liga MX participants were chosen based on their league results in both of these editions.[2] The 2019 quarterfinals were played on July 23–24 and the semifinals were played on August 20. The first final was played on September 18 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.[3]

For the 2022 season, an official tournament was not held due to fixture congestion from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, among other factors. In its place, a so-called showcase was held, featuring 5 friendly matches between MLS and Liga MX teams.

Beginning with the 2023 edition, the Leagues Cup currently includes all MLS and Liga MX teams—47 teams in total with 77 matches hosted in the United States and Canada. The top 15 teams from each league are 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 has three matches in a round-robin format and the top two teams qualify for the knockout stage. Two teams receive byes to the knockout stage: the reigning MLS Cup champion and highest-ranked Liga MX champion from either the previous Apertura and Clausura. The knockout stage is single-elimination on a fixed bracket.[4][5]


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, which has been dominated by Mexican clubs, and the Campeones Cup, a single match played between the winners of the MLS Cup and the Campeón de Campeones.[1] The two leagues began planning a bi-national, eight-team competition to complement the Champions League and provide Mexican clubs with matches to replace the Copa Libertadores in their calendar as soon as 2018.[6][7] MLS and Liga MX announced a new partnership in March 2018 to create the Campeones Cup and explore options for other bi-national competitions between their clubs.[8]

The Leagues Cup tournament was announced on May 29, 2019, featuring eight teams in its inaugural edition to be played during the summer.[2] The announcement of the tournament was panned by soccer critics in the United States, who called it a meaningless friendly and "cash-grab" for American clubs.[9][10][11] The MLS Players Association also expressed concerns over the tournament's creation on the basis of schedule congestion during the summertime.[12] Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas was later announced as the host venue for the final and a broadcasting contract for the tournament was awarded to ESPN and TUDN (formerly Univision Deportes Network).[13][14] This event was also televised on TSN and TVA Sports in Canada and Televisa in Mexico.[15]

In July 2019, MLS and Liga MX announced that the second edition of the Leagues Cup in 2020 would feature 16 teams—eight from each league. The MLS participants would be drawn from the top four teams in each conference that do not qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League; the Liga MX participants would include the 2019 Apertura champion, 2020 Clausura champion, the 2019–20 Copa MX champion, and the next five best-placed teams in the league.[16][17] The tournament was canceled on May 19, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.[18] The eight-team format debuted in the 2021 Leagues Cup, which was played in August and September.[19] In the final at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Mexican club León defeated Seattle Sounders FC, the first American finalist in the competition's history.[20][21]

On April 14, 2022, MLS and Liga MX announced the 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase, which was held starting August 3, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The event included a doubleheader of matches: LA Galaxy against C.D. Guadalajara and Los Angeles FC against Club América.[22] On June 30, 2022, it was announced that the Leagues Cup Showcase was expanded to include three more matches—FC Cincinnati against C.D. Guadalajara at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio; Nashville SC against Club América at Geodis Park in Nashville, Tennessee, on September 21; and Real Salt Lake against Atlas F.C. at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, on September 22.[23] The events served as a one-time replacement of the previously-planned 2022 Leagues Cup which was not held due to fixture congestion from the 2022 FIFA World Cup and other factors.[24]

Starting from the expanded 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup, the Leagues Cup will be used as a qualification tournament for teams from North America.[25][26] Starting in 2023, the Leagues Cup was contested by all MLS and Liga MX clubs, during a month-long pause in their respective seasons, with three Champions Cup berths awarded to the finalists and third-place finisher, and the winner qualifying directly to the round of 16.[27] Inter Miami CF won the first edition of the expanded tournament in 2023, led by top goalscorer Lionel Messi.[28]


The Leagues Cup trophy was unveiled in September 2019 and consists of a 22-pound (10.0 kg) silver bowl atop a pedestal. It is 16.5 inches (42 cm) in height and 16.1 inches (41 cm) wide. A replica trophy will be gifted to the winners following 12 months with the original trophy.[29]


Since 2023, all Leagues Cup matches have been broadcast worldwide on MLS Season Pass, an online streaming platform operated by Apple under its Apple TV brand. All matches have commentary in English and Spanish, while those involving Canadian teams also include French commentary.[30] A select group of matches are also set to be broadcast on television networks using their own crews, including Fox Sports and TUDN in the United States; and TSN and RDS in Canada.[31][32]


Ed. Year Winners Score Runners-up Venue City Att.
2019 Cruz Azul Mexico 2–1 Mexico UANL Sam Boyd Stadium Whitney, Nevada 20,132
(Canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic)[18]
2021 León Mexico 3–2 United States Seattle Sounders FC Allegiant Stadium Paradise, Nevada 24,824
(No champion crowned)[n 1]
2023 Inter Miami CF United States 1–1
10–9 (p)
United States Nashville SC Geodis Park Nashville, Tennessee 30,109
  1. ^ Held only as exhibition matches between participating MLS and Liga MX teams due to fixture congestion.[24]


By club[edit]

Club Wins Runners-up Years won Years runners-up
Mexico Cruz Azul 1 0 2019
Mexico León 1 0 2021
United States Inter Miami CF 1 0 2023
Mexico UANL 0 1 2019
United States Seattle Sounders FC 0 1 2021
United States Nashville SC 0 1 2023

All-time top scorers[edit]

Top goalscorers[edit]

Rank Player Team Total
1 Argentina Lionel Messi United States Inter Miami CF 10
2 South Africa Bongokuhle Hlongwane United States Minnesota United FC 7
3 Gabon Denis Bouanga United States Los Angeles FC 6
4 Argentina Germán Berterame Mexico Monterrey 5
United States Brandon Vázquez United States FC Cincinnati
6 Hungary Dániel Gazdag United States Philadelphia Union 4
Finland Robert Taylor United States Inter Miami CF
Ecuador Ángel Mena Mexico León
8 Argentina Gustavo Bou United States New England Revolution 3
Colombia Cucho Hernández United States Columbus Crew
Venezuela Josef Martínez United States Inter Miami CF
Haiti Fafà Picault United States Nashville SC
Colombia Harold Preciado Mexico Santos Laguna
England Sam Surridge United States Nashville SC
Albania Giacomo Vrioni United States New England Revolution

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Marshall, Tom (May 29, 2019). "MLS and Liga MX announce Leagues Cup". ESPN. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Santaromita, Dan (May 29, 2019). "MLS, Liga MX announce Leagues Cup 8-team tournament". Pro Soccer USA. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  3. ^ Baxter, Kevin (May 29, 2019). "MLS and Liga MX are partnering for a new tournament called the Leagues Cup". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  4. ^ Straus, Brian (October 6, 2022). "How MLS, Liga MX's Leagues Cup Competition Will Work". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  5. ^ "Leagues Cup 2023 dates and structure announced". MLSsoccer.com. October 6, 2022. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  6. ^ Pérez, Salvador (May 9, 2017). "Gustavo Guzmán confirma torneo binacional entre Liga MX y MLS" [Gustavo Guzmán confirms binational tournament between Liga MX and MLS] (in Spanish). ESPN Mexico. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  7. ^ Marshall, Tom (May 9, 2017). "Liga MX club owners set to approve cup with MLS this month - Atlas chief". ESPN. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  8. ^ Creditor, Avi (March 13, 2018). "MLS, Liga MX Join Forces for Campeones Cup, Future All-Star Game". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  9. ^ Kennedy, Paul (May 29, 2019). "Leagues Cup, new MLS-Liga MX venture, immediately panned in media". Soccer America. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  10. ^ Oshan, Jeremiah (May 31, 2019). "The MLS-Liga MX Leagues Cup is going to suck, and it could have been so much cooler". SB Nation. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  11. ^ Paez-Pumar, Luis (May 29, 2019). "Liga MX And MLS Will Compete For A New, Meaningless Trophy". Deadspin. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  12. ^ Carlisle, Jeff (July 23, 2019). "Will MLS show it can compete with Liga MX in upcoming Leagues Cup?". ESPN. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  13. ^ "Las Vegas to host Liga MX-MLS Leagues Cup final". ESPN. July 11, 2019. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  14. ^ Cattry, Pardeep (July 8, 2019). "MLS-Liga MX Leagues Cup to broadcast on ESPN, TUDN in United States". ProSoccerUSA. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  15. ^ "MLS, Liga MX unveil broadcast info for Leagues Cup". Leagues Cup. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  16. ^ Marshall, Tom (July 18, 2019). "MLS-Liga MX tourney to have 16 teams in '20". ESPN. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  17. ^ Sigal, Jonathan (July 18, 2019). "Leagues Cup expands to 16 teams in 2020 with new qualification format". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "MLS All-Star Game, Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup canceled for 2020" (Press release). Major League Soccer. May 19, 2020. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  19. ^ Evans, Jayda (August 10, 2021). "Nico Lodeiro scores as Sounders knock off Tigres in Leagues Cup". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  20. ^ Gotz, Ben (September 21, 2021). "MLS, Liga MX teams to fight for title at Allegiant Stadium". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  21. ^ Evans, Jayda (September 22, 2021). "Sounders can't hold lead against Club Leon of Mexico, lose Leagues Cup final 3-2". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  22. ^ "LAFC, LA Galaxy, Chivas and Club América headline Leagues Cup Showcase at SoFi Stadium". MLSSoccer.com. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  23. ^ "Leagues Cup Showcase to feature FC Cincinnati, Nashville SC, Real Salt Lake against Liga MX clubs". MLSSoccer.com. June 30, 2022. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  24. ^ a b Straus, Brian (April 14, 2022). "MLS, Liga MX Won't Play Leagues Cup in 2022". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  25. ^ "Concacaf Champions League to expand with innovative new format starting 2023/24". CONCACAF Champions League. February 4, 2021.
  26. ^ Straus, Brian (February 4, 2021). "Concacaf Reveals New CCL Format, Starting in 2023". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  27. ^ "Historic reimagined Leagues Cup starting in 2023". MLSsoccer.com. September 21, 2021. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "Leagues Cup trophy unveiled ahead of inaugural final". MLSsoccer.com. September 5, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  30. ^ "Apple and Major League Soccer Announce MLS Season Pass Coverage Plans for Leagues Cup 2023, including Enhanced Productions for Inter Miami CF Matches, Live Coverage of Lionel Messi's Unveiling, and Major Training Session" (Press release). Major League Soccer. July 15, 2023. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
  31. ^ "Leagues Cup 2023: Standings, teams, schedule, TV and streaming". USA Today. July 20, 2023. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
  32. ^ "Major League Soccer, FOX Sports, TUDN, TSN & RDS Announce Multi-year Linear TV Rights Agreements" (Press release). Major League Soccer. December 13, 2022. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
  33. ^ "Leagues Cup 2023 » Top Scorer". worldfootball.net. Retrieved August 4, 2023.

External links[edit]