When is 2024 Leagues Cup? Schedule for Lionel Messi, Inter Miami title defense in MLS, Liga MX competition

Thanks to the explosion of Lionel Messi onto the North American soccer scene, the 2023 Leagues Cup was a smashing success.

Now set for its second edition, the Leagues Cup will hope to build on that thunderous inaugural tournament, with Inter Miami set to attempt a title defense.

With Major League Soccer building a month-long break into the schedule to accommodate the tournament, and controversially withdrawing its clubs from the domestic US Open Cup for the coming year, MLS has made the decision to go all-in on its new Leagues Cup initiative.

As Liga MX clubs hope to put on a better collective showing at the tournament north of the Mexican border, The Sporting News brings you all you need to know about the coming Leagues Cup competition.

MORE: Full confirmed Inter Miami preseason fixture list, including Messi vs. Ronaldo friendly

What is the Leagues Cup?

Incepted in 2023, the Leagues Cup is a collaborative effort between Major League Soccer and Mexican top flight Liga MX.

The Leagues Cup pits all teams from both the U.S. league and Mexican league against each other in a two-phased competition. 47 teams are thrown together in a mixer, first contesting a group stage featuring 15 groups of three teams each, with only one match played between each group opponents. In a quirk, there are no draws in the Leagues Cup group stage, with every level match contesting a penalty shootout, with the losing side earning a point and the winning side earning two.

The top two teams in each group advance to the 32-team knockout stage. From that point, it’s a straight-up single elimination competition to decide the winner.

In 2023, the entire competition was hosted by the United States, meaning all intra-league matches were hosted by MLS teams, but that format was highly criticized as unfairly weighted against the U.S. clubs. That could potentially change for 2024, if they wish to share the competition across both nations. For all MLS vs. MLS matches, the previous season’s standings were used to determine the host.

The winner of the Leagues Cup secures an automatic berth into the next year’s CONCACAF Champions Cup, earning a rare bye to the Round of 16.

When is the 2024 Leagues Cup?

The 2024 MLS fixtures are expected to be announced sometime around Wednesday, December 20.

While not confirmed, it’s thought likely that initial dates for the 2024 Leagues Cup will be announced at that time as well, since MLS will build a one-month break for the competition into the league schedule. At the very least, the MLS schedule break will be transparent, giving us a general idea of when it will take place.

In 2023, the Leagues Cup began on July 21, playing through the final on August 19, with no league fixtures played throughout that stretch.

How to watch the 2024 Leagues Cup

Last season, Major League Soccer kicked off a 10-year broadcast rights deal with Apple that sees every single match for the next decade streamed exclusively on Apple’s streaming platform. As an MLS initiative, the Leagues Cup was also shown on Apple TV.

Apple TV is the official home of the MLS regular season and playoffs, with every match for every team available to stream around the world with no blackouts. Some select games each week are made free to air, while the rest of the fixture list is for subscribers only.

The streaming service, dubbed MLS Season Pass, will be available for all fans to purchase at a set, season-long price, and it is available at a discounted rate for Apple TV+ subscribers. Select leagues matches will also be available to watch for free every week.

MLS Season Pass is separate from Apple TV+, meaning those with Apple TV+ would still need an MLS Season Pass subscription to access the complete slate of games, while those without Apple TV+ can still sign up for MLS Season Pass without needing a full Apple TV+ subscription.

MORE: How much does MLS Season Pass cost?

Teams in the 2024 Leagues Cup

In 2023, 47 teams contested the first-ever Leagues Cup, with 29 clubs from Major League Soccer and 18 from Liga MX.

That is not expected to change in 2024, unless the competition decides to invite other clubs from across CONCACAF or around the globe to take part as guest participants.

In 2023, the defending regular season champions from each league were given a bye to the knockout stage. If that remains true for 2024, that would mean FC Cincinnati and Pachuca would get a pass through the group stage, while the remaining 45 teams would have to progress through the initial phase.

Seeding is determined by the previous year’s regular season standings, used to determine hosting duties in both the group and knockout stages.

MLS clubs

Seed Club 2023 finish
1. FC Cincinnati Round of 32
2. Orlando City SC Round of 32
3. Columbus Crew Round of 32
4. St. Louis City SC Group Stage
5. Philadelphia Union Semifinals
6. New England Rev. Round of 16
7. Seattle Sounders Group Stage
8. LAFC Quarterfinals
9. Houston Dynamo Round of 16
10. Atlanta United Group Stage
11. Real Salt Lake Round of 16
12. Nashville SC Runners Up
13. Vancouver Whitecaps Round of 32
14. FC Dallas Round of 16
15. Sporting KC Round of 32
16. San Jose Earthquakes Group Stage
17. NY Red Bulls Round of 16
18. Portland Timbers Round of 32
19. Charlotte FC Quarterfinals
20. CF Montreal Group Stage
21. Minnesota United Quarterfinals
22. NYCFC Round of 32
23. DC United Round of 32
24. Chicago Fire FC Round of 32
25. Austin FC Group Stage
26. LA Galaxy Group Stage
27. Inter Miami Won title
28. Colorado Rapids Group Stage
29. Toronto FC Group Stage

Liga MX clubs

Seed Club 2023 finish
1. Club America Round of 16
2. Monterrey Semifinals
3. Guadalajara Group Stage
4. Tigres UNAL Round of 16
5. Toluca Round of 16
6. Club Leon Round of 32
7. Pachuca Round of 32
8. UNAM Pumas Round of 32
9. Puebla Group Stage
10. Atletico San Luis Group Stage
11. Santos Laguna Group Stage
12. Cruz Azul Round of 32
13. Queretaro Quarterfinals
14. Atlas Round of 32
15. Club Tijuana Group Stage
16. Juarez Round of 32
17. Necaxa Group Stage
18. Mazatlan Round of 32
Share with your friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get The Latest Sports News
Straight to your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.