Whether the Leagues Cup — the latest attempt by Major League Soccer to create synergy with Liga MX — is anticipated by anyone other than executives in New York is up for debate. But after a year-long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s finally returns in its full form.
And the Seattle Sounders will see a familiar opponent.
The Sounders will face off against Tigres UANL at Lumen Field in the Quarterfinals of the tournament on Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 7 PM PT. MLS and Liga MX announced the participants and schedule on Wednesday, which will again be held entirely in the United States.
The 2021 edition of Leagues Cup features four clubs from each league in a single-elimination format. Liga MX teams joining the 2021 edition of the competition are the top four teams from the overall standings from the 2020-2021 Liga MX season who are not scheduled to participate in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League. Similarly, the participating MLS teams are the top two teams from each conference based on the 2020 MLS regular season standing not already scheduled to participate in Champions League.
The Semifinals are slated for Sept. 14-15, and the final, to be played in a neutral venue and announced in the coming weeks, is scheduled for Sept. 22. The 2019 Leagues Cup final was played in Las Vegas.
The Sounders are 4-8-2 all-time against Liga MX sides. The Sounder have several high-profile victories, including becoming just the second team in MLS history to win a match in Mexico with a 1-0 win over Monterrey on Aug. 23, 2011. Sounders became the first MLS team to eliminate a Mexican club in the Knockout Stage of the Champions League after defeating Tigres in the quarterfinals of the 2012-2013 tournament. The 3-1 second-leg victory featured memorable goals from DeAndre Yedlin and Djimi Traore.
In addition to the Sounders and Tigres, the qualified participants for this year’s tournament are Liga MX sides Pumas, León and Santos Laguna, who join Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City SC and New York City FC from MLS. Should Club León win Liga MX’s Campeón de Campeones 2020-2021 scheduled for July 18, Chivas would replace León as the next best-ranked club in the combined standings, and León would then participate in the 2021 Campeones Cup.