Atlanta United on Friday learned who it will play in the group stage of the newly-expanded Leagues Cup this summer. The Five Stripes will take on Cruz Azul and Inter Miami CF when group play commences in July. The Leagues Cup, which formerly involved 4 teams from both MLS and Liga MX, will now see every team from both leagues participate beginning this year in what’s been billed as a “reimagined” format.
This is actually the 2nd time Atlanta and Cruz Azul will face each other in 2023. The 2 sides will play a friendly on Feb. 8 when Atlanta visits Mexico during its preseason preparation.
As for Inter Miami, there’s plenty of narrative considering its recent acquisition of Josef Martinez. Not only will Atlanta see its former star man twice during the MLS season (May 6 at DRV PNK Stadium and Sept. 16 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium), but it will play the Herons a 3rd time in Leagues Cup (date, time, and location TBA).
The winner of each group will advance to the competition’s Round of 32, where it will take on a knockout format all the way through to the final on Aug. 19. LAFC (as MLS Cup champion) and Pachuca (the highest-ranked Liga MX club in 2022 by aggregate) have received byes into the Round of 32. The 2 finalists, plus the 3rd-place finisher, qualify for the 2024 Concacaf Champions League.
All matches will be shown on Apple TV, with a select number of group stage (10), Round of 32 (4), and Round of 16 (2) matches to be televised on FS1 as well. Univision, UNIMÁS, and TUDN will show 21 Leagues Cup matches in Spanish, including 12 from the group stage, 8 from the knockout stage, and the final.
San Jose Earthquakes
Real Salt Lake
St. Louis CITY SC
Chicago Fire FC
Sporting Kansas City
Orlando City SC
Houston Dynamo FC