CONCACAF has big news Tuesday with the expansion of its Champions League and the Leagues Cup.
With the 2021 Leagues Cup set for its final between Seattle and Club Leon on Wednesday, CONCACAF announced that all of the clubs in MLS and Liga MX will participate in the Leagues Cup beginning in 2023.
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The competition began in 2019 with four teams from each league and a planned expansion to 16 total teams (eight from each league) was stymied by the pandemic. Instead, the 2021 tournament again featured four Liga MX and four MLS sides.
Here’s how the CCL news affects North America’s two biggest leagues: Liga MX and Major League Soccer (via CONCACAF.com).
- Canadian, Mexican and USA clubs will qualify for the Concacaf Champions League via their domestic leagues and Member Association Cups (US Open Cup and Canadian Championship).
- Additionally, Liga MX and MLS clubs will also qualify via an expanded Leagues Cup, which will in 2023 become part of Concacaf’s new club ecosystem and will incorporate all clubs from both leagues.
- In total, 18 North American clubs will participate in the Concacaf Champions League. They will be determined as follows:
— Round One (15 North American clubs): Five Liga MX clubs*, four MLS clubs*, two Canadian Premier League clubs*, two Leagues Cup clubs (second and third place finishers), the U.S. Open Cup Winner and the Canadian Championship winner.
— Round of 16 (3 North American clubs): Liga MX winner*, MLS Cup winner and Leagues Cup winner
It’s all good news, if only because it will continue to provide litmus tests as MLS encroaches on Liga MX’s territory as the top league in North America.
Now let’s see if Seattle wins on Wednesday.