Colorado Rapids

Leagues Cup Scenarios: How the Rapids can advance to the Round of 32 on Monday


UPDATE: Following the result of the Nashville-Toluca match on Thursday night, here are the updated scenarios in which the Rapids can advance to the Round of 32. 

Leagues Cup 2023 is an official, World Cup-style tournament that kicked off this season between all 47 teams from MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX. The 29 MLS and 18 Liga MX clubs are divided into 15 groups in four regions: East, Central, South and West, with Colorado joined by Nashville and Deportivo Toluca FC in Central 4. The top two finishing teams from each group will advance to the single-elimination knockout rounds, which start on Aug. 2.

In a unique twist to the tournament format, Leagues Cup does not feature any draws in the group stage. Instead, if any group stage match is tied after the initial 90 minutes, the game will go directly into a penalty shootout. Both teams, irrespective of the shootout result, will earn a point, with the winner of the shootout earning an additional point (two total). The winner in regulation will receive three points and the loser, zero.

The Rapids kicked off their Leagues Cup run on July 23 with a group stage match against Nashville SC at Geodis Park, losing 2-1. With the Rapids’ result against Nashville, here are the potential outcomes needed for Colorado to advance to the Round of 32 following the Nashville-Toluca match on Thursday:

Now that Toluca has beaten Nashville…

Since Toluca beat Nashville by just a single goal, the most straightforward way for the Rapids to advance would be to win by two or more goals. The tiebreaker after head-to-head match results and goal differential is goals scored during group stages, which means since Toluca won Thursday’s match by a single goal, and if the Rapids beat Toluca Monday by just one goal, who advances depends on who scored the most goals during group stages. The fourth tiebreaker after that would be who had the fewer number of goals conceded during group stages. In the unlikely event that the clubs are still even, the decider will be the clubs’ fair-play table:

Fair-Play Table:

  • An individual’s first yellow: -1 point
  • An individual’s second yellow (indirect red): -3 points (the first yellow will not be considered/the initial -1 point will be negated)
  • An individual’s direct red card: -3 points
  • An individual’s yellow card followed by a direct red card: -4 points

In short, the Rapids can advance by:

  • Win by 2+ goals 
  • Score at least five goals in a one-goal margin win (e.g., 5-4, 6-5, 7-6, etc.)
  • Win 4-3 and maintain a better Fair Play score than Nashville