The first-ever Leagues Cup, a full tournament between all 47 MLS and Liga MX teams has reached the knockout rounds! The top two teams from 15 groups of three have all played group-stage matches and advanced to the Round of 32. The Round of 32 takes center stage over the next three days. Who will win and advance to the next round of the knockout stage?
Leagues Cup Round of 32 Begins today
Starting today, there will be Leagues Cup matches every night for the next three days. 16 win-or-go-home matches will take center stage! 19 American Clubs, 12 Mexican Clubs, and one Canadian Club are looking at the chance to make history in this first iteration of the Leagues Cup. Here’s a look at the matchups:
- Miami vs Orlando | Wednesday, Aug. 2 | 8 pm EST
- Dallas vs Mazatlán | Wednesday, Aug. 2 | 9 pm EST
- Houston vs Pachuca | Wednesday, Aug. 2 | 9 pm EST
- LAFC vs Juárez | Wednesday, Aug. 2 | 10:30 pm EST
- Pumas vs Querétaro | Thursday, Aug. 3 | 8 pm EST
- New England vs Atlas | Thursday, Aug. 3 | 8 pm EST
- Red Bulls vs NYCFC | Thursday, Aug. 3 | 8 pm EST
- Philadelphia vs DC | Thursday, Aug. 3 | 8 pm EST
- Charlotte vs Cruz Azul | Thursday, Aug. 3 | 8:30 pm EST
- Salt Lake vs León | Thursday, Aug. 3 | 10:30 pm EST
- Chicago vs América | Friday, Aug. 4 | 8 pm EST
- Columbus vs Minnesota | Friday, Aug. 4 | 8 pm EST
- Cincinnati vs Nashville | Friday, Aug. 4 | 8 pm EST
- Kansas City vs Toluca | Friday, Aug. 4 | 9 pm EST
- Portland vs Monterrey | Friday, Aug. 4 | 10 pm EST
- Vancouver vs Tigres | Friday, Aug. 4 | 10:30 pm EST
As the matches get ready to start, let’s look at each of the four regional brackets to get ready for the beginning of the knockout rounds!
Philly is the top team in the East bracket
Looking at the East bracket, it is clear that one team is above the rest. This bracket’s top team is the Philadelphia Union. The Union cleared their group stage easily scoring eight goals in their two games and allowing just two. They take on DC United who is coming off of a 3-0 loss to Pumas. Can Philly keep this thing going, or will DC pull off an upset?
We have a New York Darby in Leagues Cup! New York Red Bulls won their group after a draw with New England, and a win over San Luis. NYCFC lost to Atlas but followed it up by thrashing Toronto 5-0. Will New York be red or blue after this Leagues Cup clash?
An all-Liga MX meeting between Querétaro and Pumas could get ugly. One side is clearly above the other, that side being Pumas. Pumas drew Montreal and then put the beatdown on DC 3-0. Querétaro lost the Philadelphia 5-1 but followed it up with a win over Tijuana. Pumas should take this one easily, but will they?
The final match in the Round of 32 for the East bracket is an interesting one. Atlas takes on New England. Atlas got a pair of 1-0 wins over MLS sides NYCFC and Toronto. New England is in some turmoil off the field right now, but their on-the-field product has been very good. Who will come out on top the only MLS-Liga MX matchup in this bracket?
Can Messi-magic progress Miami in the South bracket?
One of the surprises of this tournament so far is Liga MX side Mazatlán winning their group in the south bracket. They beat MLS team Austin FC 3-1 in their opening game and then drew fellow Liga MX side, Juárez. They take on an FC Dallas side that drew Charollote and beat Necaxa 3-0. This one feels very even, and seems like penalties could decide the winner!
Inter Miami and Lionel Messi have taken Leagues Cup by storm. Miami beat Cruz Azul 2-1 and Atlanta 4-0. Messi scored three goals in those two games and now will get to play cross-state rivals Orlando. Orlando City drew Houston and then got a last-second winner against Liga Mx side Santos. Can this team roll on and defeat the GOAT and new-look Miami?
Charlotte and Cruz Azul meet in a matchup that should have a lot of fireworks. Charlotte scored six goals in their two games to get out of their group, while Cruz Azul had to battle after losing to Messi, and then win a PK shootout over Atlanta to advance. Will we see Charlotte continue to score goals or will a sleeping Liga MX giant wake up?
Pachuca enters this Leagues Cup in the Round of 32. They were the top Liga MX side that got to skip the group stage, and now they have to face a Houston Dynamo that drew both games but prevailed over Santos Laguna in a pk shootout. Can Houston pull off an upset on a possibly rusty Pachuca side?
A stacked Central bracket
Columbus came into Leagues Cup struggling a bit; however, two wins over St. Louis and Club América have them flying high. Minnesota United beat Puebla 4-0 but then fell to Chicago 3-2. It seems like this one will be a thrilling and open game full of goals, but which team will come out on top and move on to the Round of 16?
Club Toluca was not doing too well in their early Liga MX Apertura season but found some great form in Leauges Cup. They beat Nashville 4-3, and Colorado 4-1. Scoring eight and only allowing three is a decent margin. They take on an SKC side that drew FC Cincinnati 3-3 and beat Chivas in a shocking upset 1-0. Can Kansas City keep the upsets going, or will Tolua keep their great form going?
Chicago Fire won their group after beating Minnesota and drawing Puebla. Their reward for winning their group is getting a pissed-off Club América side. América beat St. Louis 4-0 but then fell to Columbus 4-1 to take second place in their group. They cannot crash out of Leagues Cup against a struggling MLS side Chicago, can they?
In a matchup of two of the top four teams in MLS, Cincinnati takes on Nashville. It’s a rivalry that goes back to their USL days, and now gets renewed in Leagues Cup. Cincinnati beat Liga MX giant Chivas and drew Kansas City to make it to this game. Nashville beat Chicago but failed to get a draw against Toluca. Which of these teams will shock the other and make the next round?
LAFC joins the field in a tough West bracket
LAFC, like Pachuca, join the field after a bye to the Round of 32. They have been complaining about playing too many games this year, and so a week and a half off hopefully will fix their poor recent form. Juárez come into this game after drawing with Mazatlán, and beating Austin FC. Can they pick off the riegining MLS champions, or will LAFC be rested enough to get a win?
Club León are the Reigning CCL champions, but they did just enough to get out of their group. They drew Vancouver and beat LA Galxay 1-0. Real Salt Lake has been flying high in MLS; Leagues Cup has been a bit of a different story. RSL beat Seattle 3-0, but fell to Monterrey 3-0. Will this be as open a match as it seems like it could be, or will it be one sided?
Tigres are giants in Liga MX, and has taken Leagues Cup by storm. They beat Portland in Portland 2-1, and grinded out a 1-0 win in San Jose. They should be the best team in this region. Vancouver has surprised many in this tournament; they drew León, and then beat LA Galaxy late on to get to this match. Will we see the best Liga MX team survive, or the final Canadian side in Leagues Cup?
Monterrey and Portland face off in the final matchup in the West bracket. The Liga-MX side was perfect in Leagues Cup group stage as they won their two games on an aggregate score of 7-2. They take on Portland who started off strong with a 2-0 win over San Jose, but then fell to a predictable Tigre comeback. Who will move on, could it be a Liga-MX favorite, or a shocking MLS side?
Catch all the action on Apple TV+
The action kicks off tonight, and goes through the rest of the work week! You can watch the games on Apple TV+ through MLS Season Pass!
Best Leagues Cup Bets
Be sure to return to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union and other soccer content!
Follow our Union team on Twitter:
Doop on Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, Philadelphia Union, AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, & Richard Gordon/Icon Sportswire.