2023 Leagues Cup Schedule Set for Colorado Rapids

Mar 11, 2023 - 1:00 AM
Leon v Atletico San Luis - Torneo Apertura 2021 Liga MX
LEON, MEXICO - OCTOBER 02: Detail of the Leagues Cup in display that Leon won in the final against Seattle Sounders prior the 12th round match between Leon and Atletico San Luis as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Leon Stadium on October 2, 2021 in Leon, Mexico. | Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images

The Colorado Rapids announced their 2023 Leagues Cup schedule on Thursday, finalizing the dates in which the club will challenge Nashville SC and Toluca in the first edition of the tournament’s expanded format.

Previous editions of the Leagues Cup only featured a handful of teams from MLS and Liga MX, but this year’s edition is widening the pool to include all 47 top flight teams from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Billed by the clubs as a “World Cup-style tournament,” the teams that finish first, second, or third will all qualify for next year’s Concacaf Champions League.

As part of the Central 4 Group, Colorado will face Nashville at GEODIS Park in Tennessee on July 23, and then will play host to Liga MX’s Toluca eight days later at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on July 31. Nashville and Toluca will also face another during the stretch, and the top two teams from each round-robin group will advance to the knockout stages. Group stage matches tied after 90 minutes will go straight to a penalty shootout.

“Leagues Cup is an important tournament with Champions League qualification on the line and provides us with a wonderful opportunity to face top LIGA MX sides in a competitive environment,” Rapids General Manager Pádraig Smith said in a release to media. “It’s also an incredibly exciting prospect for our fans to not only be able to cheer on their players in a new competition, but also see some of the best teams in North America go up against each other right here at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.”

If Colorado progresses beyond their group, they’ll participate in the 32-team knockout stage. Advancing means a Round of 32 matchup for Colorado against one of Chivas, FC Cincinnati, or Sporting KC—all from the Central 3 Region. Another win would widen the pool of available opponents to include Club América, Club Puebla, Columbus Crew, St. Louis CITY SC, Minnesota United FC, and the Chicago Fire.

Knockout stage games, like all group stage matchups, will all be held stateside, and dates for those games will be decided after the group stage. Advancing MLS clubs will host all knockout matches against Liga MX teams. Round of 32 games between two MLS clubs will be hosted by whichever team own their group. That changes in the Round of 16—games involving two MLS teams at that stage will be hosted by the club with the better 2022 regular season record. Games between two Liga MX teams during this stage will be hosted at a venue to be determined by the Organizing Committee (Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is one of the eligible venues). Which venues will host the quarterfinal, semifinal, and final matches have not yet been identified.

All Leagues Cup matches will be broadcast globally on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. TelevisaUnivision, Fox Sports, TSN, and RDS have acquired linear broadcast rights to simulcast certain matches in the U.S. and Canada. Kickoff times, which matches end up on TV, and commentary assignments will be determined on a later date.

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