COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids have been drawn with LIGA MX side Club León and MLS side Portland Timbers in the group stage of the second edition of Leagues Cup, Major League Soccer announced today.
“We’re incredibly excited to take part in the second edition of Leagues Cup,” said Colorado Rapids President Pádraig Smith. “We’re very much looking forward to the opportunity to face off against some of the top teams in our confederation, all while providing fans with a memorable experience at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park in this groundbreaking competition.”
Taking place from July 26 to August 25, Leagues Cup 2024, will be played in the United States and Canada, will decide three qualifiers for the 2025 Concacaf Champions Cup in which the winner will represent the region at the FIFA Club World Cup. This innovative club tournament has redefined soccer tournament competition, showcasing the best talent in North America and the intensity of the competition.
The Rapids, León and Portland Timbers will occupy the fifth group in the West region. The tournament will introduce a tiered Leagues Cup Ranking system, as well as hubs for the highest-ranked LIGA MX clubs. The Leagues Cup ranking will be strictly based on combined MLS and LIGA MX club performance based on points in the last 34 regular season matches. MLS teams will be ranked based on the 2023 MLS Supporters’ Shield standings, while LIGA MX clubs will be ranked based on the cumulative 34 matches in the 2023 Clausura and Apertura tournaments. Leagues Cup will maintain its current No Ties format. Each team receives one point if the game is tied after 90 minutes. The winner of the subsequent penalty shootout will earn an additional point. Regulation wins count as three points, with games being decided by penalty kick in case of regular time draw.
Founded in 1944, León, the winners of the 2023 CONCACAF Champions Cup, have an illustrious history. Los Verdiblancos have won the Liga MX Primera División title eight times, Ascenso MX five times, Copa México five times, and have been Campeón de Campeones champions on five occasions. The club is led by Jorge Bava, who previously had a stint with the Chicago Fire in 2017. The squad features former Mexican internationals Andrés Guardado and Luis “Chapo” Montes. Guardado, has represented his country in five World Cups, four Gold Cups, two Copa Américas, and two Confederations Cups. Meanwhile, Montes holds the club's all-time appearances record with 409. Rapids Gallery of Honor inductee Marcelo Balboa starred for León from 1994-95 before joining Colorado in 1996, the club’s inaugural season.
The Portland Timbers are captained by Diego Chará, a 2019 MLS All-Star and 2020 MLS Best XI player. The team also features Chile National Team forward Felipe Mora, who played in Liga MX from 2017-21, and Maxime Crépeau, the 2022 MLS Cup winner. Phil Neville, appointed as head coach in November 2023, leads the team. Additionally, Portland defender Eric Miller previously played for Colorado from 2016-18. In 2015, The Timbers won the MLS Cup.
Fans in over 100 countries and regions will be able to watch all 77 Leagues Cup matches on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app, the subscription service from Apple and Major League Soccer that is available on smart TVs, streaming devices, Apple devices, set-top boxes, game consoles, and the web at tv.apple.com. In addition, Televisa Univision, TV Azteca, FOX Sports (FS1), TSN and RDS will be the linear broadcast home for selected group stage matches in Mexico, United States and Canada.