On Wednesday, Major League Soccer and Liga MX announced the new tournament format and groups for the 2024 edition of Leagues Cup. Once again, all 47 clubs from the two leagues will compete in a World Cup-style tournament, pausing their respective domestic campaigns while the tournament runs from July 26 to August 25 in the United States and Canada.
Last year, Nashville Sc made a memorable run to the final in the inaugural edition of the tournament, knocking off Liga MX powerhouses Club América and CF Monterrey before losing to Inter Miami in 11 rounds of a penalty shootout at the final.
From the press release:
Leagues Cup 2024 Format
Moving forward, the tournament will introduce a tiered Leagues Cup Ranking system, as well as hubs for the highest-ranked LIGA MX clubs. The Leagues Cup ranking will be strictly based on combined MLS and LIGA MX club performance based on points in the last 34 regular season matches. MLS teams will be ranked based on the 2023 MLS Supporters’ Shield standings, while LIGA MX clubs will be ranked based on the cumulative 34 matches in the 2023 Clausura and Apertura tournaments.
All participating clubs – except the two Leagues’ champions – are divided into three tiers based on the Leagues Cup Ranking (1-15, 16-30, 31-45), forming 15 groups of three clubs each, one club from each tier, prioritizing geographical and competitive balance among the 45 clubs. For 2024, Leagues Cup will be played in two regions, East and West, with seven groups in the East and eight groups in the West, regionalizing travel for all participating clubs. Like the 2023 format, both LIGA MX and MLS Cup champions, Club America and Columbus Crew respectively, receive an automatic bye to the Round of 32. The two champions are not included in the Leagues Cup Ranking.
The LIGA MX Champion and the three top-ranked LIGA MX clubs will be granted hub privileges. The hub privileges, which will minimize LIGA MX club travel and reward them by playing in pre-determined venues as the home team, are based on the Leagues Cup Ranking. Club America (League champion with a bye) will have hosting privileges through the semifinals, C.F. Monterrey (No. 1 rank) through Round of 16, Chivas Guadalajara (No. 4 rank) through Round of 32, and Tigres (No. 6 rank) throughout the Group Stage, rewarding the clubs according to their 2023 Apertura and Clausura performances.
LIGA MX clubs with hub privileges will play at venues to be announced alongside the Leagues Cup 2024 schedule and bracket at a later date.
Groups have been selected via the new tiered system, with one team from each tier selected into each group. Higher tiers have hosting priority.
Nashville SC have been drawn into group East 5, against MLS’s New England Revolution and Liga MX’s Mazatlán FC.
New England finished in fifth place in the Eastern Conference in 2023 with 55 points, eventually swept by the Philadelphia Union in Round One of the MLS Cup playoffs. They will host all their Leagues Cup group stage matches.
Mazatlán FC finished 12th in the Apertura 2022 with 17 points from 17 matches, and were the league’s worst side in the Clausera 2022, earning just seven points from 17 games and finishing with a -22 goal differential. Nashville SC will host the group stage match against Mazatlán.
The full bracket and schedule will be released at a later date.