The effect of cancelled 2020 Leagues Cups and the new changes by CONCACAF

The CONCACAF Leagues Cup was established in 2019. Cruz Azul were the Inaugural winners and from 2023, it will feature all MLS and Liga MX teams.

CONCACAF Leagues Cup
CONCACAF Leagues Cup

In 2019, CONCACAF set up a new club competition called the Leagues Cup to be contested between the teams in the United States Major League Soccer (MLS) and Mexico's Liga MX. The competition was designed to feature four teams from both leagues to make an eight-team, single knockout tournament. The first two ties of the competition would be at the home stadium of the MLS teams. Clubs that participated in the Inaugural 2019 edition were invited from both leagues but CONCACAF has decided that subsequently, league standings would be used as qualification criteria for the Leagues Cup.

The 2019 CONCACAF Leagues Cup

The creation of the Leagues Cup was announced on May 29th, 2019 with eight teams (four each from the MLS and the Liga MX) selected to participate in the competition. The quarterfinals of the Leagues Cup took place on July 23rd & 24th with the semifinal clashes coming up on August 20th. The Inaugural final match of the Leagues Cup was played on September 18th between Mexican sides, Cruz Azul and Tigres UNAL. The final held at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Whitney, Nevada in front of a capacity 20,132 spectators. Cruz Azul ran out winners on the day, beating UANL by two goals to one.

Cruz Azul won the Inaugural 2019 Leagues Cup

The 2020 CONCACAF Leagues Cup

In July of 2019, organizers of the Leagues Cup, CONCACAF, announced a change in the format of the competition ahead of the 2020 edition. CONCACAF announced that the competition would now feature 16 teams, 8 each from the MLS and the Liga MX. The American representatives would be the Top 4 teams that missed out on the CONCACAF Champions League qualification from the two MLS Conferences. While the Mexican representatives would be 2019 Apertura Champions, the 2020 Clausura Champions, the 2019/20 Copa MX Champions and the next 5 teams on the Liga MX table. However, due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, CONCACAF took the decision to cancel the 2020 edition of the Leagues Cup.

The Leagues Cup will now be played by all MLS and Liga MX teams from 2023

The new changes to the Leagues Cup

CONCACAF has again tweaked the format of the Leagues Cup in a bid to make it more inclusive and interesting. Thus, the organizers revealed that starting from 2023, all MLS and Liga MX clubs will participate in the Leagues Cup. The competition will typically be held in summer and both the MLS and the Liga MX would suspend their domestic league seasons to prosecute the Leagues Cup. The Top 3 teams from the Leagues Cup will automatically qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League.

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