Major League Soccer (MLS) and Liga MX today announced the participants and schedule for the 2021 Leagues Cup, the official annual single-elimination tournament that features clubs from MLS and Liga MX, Mexico’s topflight league. Sounders FC is set to host Tigres UANL at Lumen Field in the Quarterfinals of the tournament on Tuesday, August 10 at 7:00 p.m. PT.
An MLS-run event, Leagues Cup tickets are not included as part of Sounders FC's Season Ticket Memberships and must be purchased separately. Season Ticket Members still have the first opportunity to secure seats via a Members-only pre-sale beginning Tuesday, July 13, with additional details to be shared directly with Members. The general public may purchase Leagues Cup tickets beginning on Thursday, July 15. These on-sale dates are subject to change. Sounders FC will communicate further details in the coming days.
This marks Sounders FC’s first appearance in Leagues Cup. The Rave Green are 4-8-2 all-time against Liga MX sides, all coming in Concacaf Champions League play. On August 23, 2011, the club’s 1-0 win over Monterrey marked just the second time an MLS side won a match in Mexico. Sounders FC became the first MLS team to eliminate a Mexican club in the Knockout Stage after advancing past Tigres in the quarterfinals of the 2012-2013 tournament, featuring a 3-1 second-leg win with memorable goals from DeAndre Yedlin and Djimi Traore. Sounders FC has also faced off with Liga MX giants Club América, Chivas de Guadalajara and Santos Laguna in Champions League action, in addition to international friendly matches against Chivas, Club Tijuana and Club Necaxa.
In addition to Seattle and Tigres, the qualified participants for this year’s tournament are Liga MX sides Pumas, León and Santos Laguna, joining MLS clubs Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City SC, and New York City FC. 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.
The competition is being broadcast on Univision and ESPN’s networks and digital platforms in the United States, TSN and TVA Sports in Canada, and Televisa and TUDN platforms in Mexico. Beyond the rivalry, Leagues Cup has taken on an increased focus for both MLS and Liga MX clubs. Concacaf recently announced that Leagues Cup will have a qualifying slot to the Concacaf Champions League, starting with the new format in 2023.
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 that 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 scheduled to participate in the 2021 Scotiabank Champions League. As was announced in March of this year, the MLS clubs will host the opening Quarterfinal matches of the tournament.
The tournament, to be played in its entirety in the United States, is scheduled to begin August 10-12 with Quarterfinal matches. The Semifinals are slated for September 14-15, and further details including venues and kickoff times will be announced following the Quarterfinals. The Leagues Cup Final, to be played in a neutral venue and announced in the coming weeks, is scheduled for September 22. Should Sounders FC beat Tigres, the club would face the winner of Orlando City SC and Santos Laguna in the Semifinals.
Currently tied for the league record with 12 games unbeaten to start a season, Sounders FC (7-0-5, 26 points) hosts Houston Dynamo FC (3-3-6, 15 points) on Wednesday evening at Lumen Field (6:00 p.m. PT / JOEtv, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM | TICKETS). Seattle is the fifth team in MLS history to start a season with at 12 games unbeaten. The 12-match unbeaten run is also tied for the second longest in club history at any point in a single season, one shy of the club record of 13 set in 2017.