The Leagues Cup will officially be returning in 2020 with the tournament field expanding to 16 teams.
After a positive inaugural edition in 2019 won by Mexican Liga MX side Cruz Azul, MLS and Liga MX sides will each see eight representatives take part this year. 2020 will see the Philadelphia Union take part for the first team in their history.
MLS clubs qualified for the tournament by their performances in the 2019 MLS regular season, excluding the four clubs participating in the Concacaf Champions League. The Union earned the No. 1 seed for MLS clubs while Real Salt Lake, Minnesota United, LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, D.C. United, Portland Timbers, and New York Red Bulls also will take part.
@PhilaUnion is the @MLS 1️⃣ seed
Tix for our showdown with a @LigaBBVAMX opponent coming soon!😤
— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) February 20, 2020
“Our close collaboration with LIGA MX continues to grow, and the expanded Leagues Cup will take it to a new level,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Thursday. “When we started our partnership with LIGA MX two years ago, we knew that we had the opportunity to create something unique and special for soccer fans. Leagues Cup is a perfect example of how we are working together to grow the sport in North America.”
The participating Liga MX clubs will qualify through sustained performances across the 2019-20 Apertura and Clausura seasons, specifically the Apertura 2019 and Clausura 2020 Champions, the Champion of Copa MX, and the following five top-ranked teams in the combined 2019-20 table. 2019 Apertura winners Monterrey are the only Mexican team to qualify so far.
Confirmed Liga MX teams will be announced at the conclusion of the current 2020 Clausura tournament, along with details of the draw and competition matters.
“We are thrilled that last season’s success has put Philadelphia Union in position to be the top seed from MLS in the 2020 Leagues Cup,” Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner said. “As our club continues to progress, we welcome the opportunity to challenge ourselves against some of the best Liga MX has to offer. We believe this will be an exciting competition that can highlight the quality of soccer being played in Philadelphia and across North America.”
Games between MLS and Liga MX teams will be played in the home market of the MLS team. In the event of a same-league matchup in the later stages of the tournament, the inter-MLS games will be hosted at the MLS market of the higher-seeded team. Matches featuring two Liga MX teams, as well as the Leagues Cup Final, will be played in a neutral U.S.-based venue, which is to be announced.
The Union will host a Liga MX side at Subaru Park on either July 21st or 22nd. Should they advance, the competition will continue through the summer.
You can follow Larry Henry on Twitter (@lhenry019) and e-mail him at [email protected].
Subscribe, rate, and review all Philly Influencer podcasts here. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.