How Does the 2024 Leagues Cup Work?

Discover how this competition will shake up stadiums across the U.S. and Canada with a brand-new format
Orlando City SC v Toronto FC
Orlando City SC v Toronto FC / Harold Feng/GettyImages

With 47 clubs divided between the giants of Mexican and American leagues, the Leagues Cup is set to drive fans wild. Eighteen clubs from the Mexican League and 29 from the American League will take the field with one goal: lifting the trophy and securing a spot in the 2025 Concacaf Champions Cup. The group stage, composed of 15 groups of three clubs each, will be a trial by fire for all participants.

The Leagues Cup format is a show in itself. Forget those boring ties no one can stand anymore. Here, every match is decisive. If the game ends in a draw, the adrenaline skyrockets with a penalty shootout. And there's more: a win in regular time earns three points, while a shootout victory nets two. Even the loser of the penalty duel doesn't walk away empty-handed, earning one point to avoid leaving with nothing.

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The top two teams from each group advance to the "Round of 32," where the real knockout stage begins. At this point, there's no room for error. The group winners face the runners-up from another group in single-elimination matches.

Now, hold on to your seats: Columbus Crew and Club América already have a head start, automatically qualifying for the round of 16. That's right, these two clubs, winners of the 2023 MLS and Liga MX respectively, earned a privileged spot thanks to their spectacular performance last season. Meanwhile, the other clubs will have to sweat it out to get there. So, will this advantage make a difference?

The final stages of the Leagues Cup are a real test for the faint-hearted. The round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and the grand final are all single-elimination matches. It's all or nothing! Every mistake could be fatal, and every correct move could bring the club one step closer to glory. The champion also punches their ticket to the Concacaf Champions Cup, alongside the second and third-placed teams. So, besides the title, the competition offers a spot in one of the continent's most important tournaments.

All 77 matches will be played in MLS stadiums across the U.S. and Canada. Amidst the national competitions of the United States and Mexico, the Leagues Cup presents a unique opportunity to see the giants of American soccer face off.

For the players, it's a chance to showcase their talent on an international stage, stand out, and maybe even secure a transfer to a major European club. For the coaches, it's an opportunity to prove their worth, showing they can lead their teams to victory in such a fiercely contested competition.