Leagues Cup

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Leagues Cup
LeaguesCuplogo.png
Founded2019
RegionNAFU (Canada, Mexico, United States)
Number of teams8
Current champion(s)Mexico Cruz Azul
(1st title)
Most successful club(s)Mexico Cruz Azul
(1 title)
Television broadcastersESPN, TUDN
Websiteleaguescup.com
2020 Leagues Cup

The Leagues Cup is an annual association football competition between clubs from Major League Soccer and Liga MX in North America. It debuted in July 2019 with four teams participating from each league. 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]

Format[edit]

The 2019 edition of Leagues Cup features 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 later editions are planned to use league results for qualification; the four Liga MX participants were chosen based on their league results.[2] The quarterfinals were played on July 23–24 and the semifinals were played on August 20. The final was played on September 18 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.[3]

History[edit]

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.[4][5] 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.[6]

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.[7][8][9] The MLS Players Association also expressed concerns over the tournament's creation on the basis of schedule congestion during the summertime.[10] 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).[11][12]

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.[13][14] The tournament was canceled on May 19, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.[15]

Trophy[edit]

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.[16]

Finals[edit]

Year Winner Result Runner-up Venue Attendance
2019 Cruz Azul Mexico 2–1 Mexico UANL Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. 20,132
2020 Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[15]

See also[edit]

References[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. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Marshall, Tom (May 9, 2017). "Liga MX club owners set to approve cup with MLS this month - Atlas chief". ESPN. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  6. ^ Creditor, Avi (March 13, 2018). "MLS, Liga MX Join Forces for Campeones Cup, Future All-Star Game". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  7. ^ Kennedy, Paul (May 29, 2019). "Leagues Cup, new MLS-Liga MX venture, immediately panned in media". Soccer America. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Paez-Pumar, Luis (May 29, 2019). "Liga MX And MLS Will Compete For A New, Meaningless Trophy". Deadspin. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  10. ^ Carlisle, Jeff (July 23, 2019). "Will MLS show it can compete with Liga MX in upcoming Leagues Cup?". ESPN. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  11. ^ "Las Vegas to host Liga MX-MLS Leagues Cup final". ESPN. July 11, 2019. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Marshall, Tom (July 18, 2019). "MLS-Liga MX tourney to have 16 teams in '20". ESPN. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  14. ^ Sigal, Jonathan (July 18, 2019). "Leagues Cup expands to 16 teams in 2020 with new qualification format". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "Leagues Cup trophy unveiled ahead of inaugural final". MLSsoccer.com. September 5, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.