Messi’s Miami face double Mexican meeting in Leagues Cup

Inter Miami and Lionel Messi will face Mexican teams Tigres and Puebla in this season’s Leagues Cup, Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday.

Inter Miami are defending champions in the tournament, which brings together all 47 top-flight teams from MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX.

Messi led Miami to victory over Nashville in last year’s tournament final, the club’s first trophy since signing the Argentine World Cup winner.

The dates and venues of the games will be announced at a later date but the tournament kicks off on July 26 and the final will be held on August 25.

The tournament will again be held only in the United States and Canada with Mexican clubs on the road throughout.

However, four of the Liga MX teams, including Tigres, will play “home” games at a “hub” in the United States to reduce travel.

The teams are split into 15 groups of three with MLS champions Columbus Crew and Liga MX winners Club America receiving byes into the next round.

The top two teams from each group progress to the knockout round of 32.

The draw has also attempted to limit travel by keeping teams from the East and West coasts together.

Among other eye-catching matchups, 2022 MLS champions Los Angeles FC will face Club Tijuana and Canada’s Vancouver Whitecaps in West 7.

Mexican international Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, is set for a reunion with his former club, Los Angeles Galaxy, when they face Chivas in West 2, which also features the San Jose Earthquakes.

CONCACAF Champions League winners Club Leon will take on the Portland Timbers and the Colorado Rapids while in the East, Pachuca are up against New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC.

All the games will be broadcast globally on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass with some games also broadcast on networks in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Full draw for group stage of Leagues Cup:

West

West 1: CF Monterrey, Pumas UNAM, Austin

West 2: Chivas de Guadalajara, San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy

West 3: St. Louis City, FC Dallas, FC Juarez

West 4: Toluca FC, Sporting Kansas City, Chicago Fire

West 5: Club Leon, Portland Timbers, Colorado Rapids West 6: Seattle Sounders, Minnesota United, Club Necaxa

West 7: LAFC, Vancouver Whitecaps, Club Tijuana

West 8: Houston Dynamo, Real Salt Lake, Atlas

East

East 1: FC Cincinnati, New York City, Queretaro FC

East 2: Orlando City, Atlético de San Luis, CF Montreal

East 3: Tigres UANL, Puebla, Inter Miami

East 4: Philadelphia Union, Charlotte FC, Cruz Azul East 5: New England Revolution, Nashville, Mazatlan

East 6: Pachuca, New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC

East 7: Atlanta United, Santos Laguna, D.C. United

AFP

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