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Sounders expected to compete in Leagues Cup in 2021

The Athletic reports that the tournament between MLS and Liga MX will likely go forward.

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MLS: Leagues Cup Final Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

An actual regular-season schedule is apparently still a couple weeks off, but it looks like it will be further impacted by Leagues Cup, according to a report in The Athletic.

The tournament — which pits eight MLS teams against eight Liga MX teams — was canceled last year due to Covid-19, leaving this year’s edition in some state of limbo. Although nothing has been made official, the report cites several league sources as expecting it to move forward as planned.

As one of the top four teams from the Western Conference to not qualify for Concacaf Champions League, the Sounders would be guaranteed to host at least one match against a Liga MX opponent.

Assuming it follows a format similar to what was expected for last year, the tournament would consist of four rounds of single-elimination play with at least the Round of 16 played at MLS home sites and every round likely played in the United States. The 2020 edition was planned to start in mid-July and end on Sept. 16. The 2019 version featured a Las Vegas final, but no game locations beyond the first round had been announced before the 2020 tournament was canceled.

MLS is also apparently considering the possibility of choosing its eight U.S. Open Cup participants based on the standings through the first three regular-season matches of the season. The last time the Sounders failed to qualify for the Open Cup was in 2004, falling to the Portland Timbers in a pair of A-League matches that doubled as qualifiers.

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