Canadian MLS clubs discover fates in 2023 Leagues Cup group stage
This year, Major League Soccer's 29 clubs take on 18 teams from Liga MX in the inaugural "Leagues Cup" – a tournament-style competition taking place midway through the year that pits the continents top clubs against one another for regional supremacy.
Three Canadian outfits will be taking part in the competition: The Vancouver Whitecaps take on the LA Galaxy and Club León; CF Montréal will square off against Pumas UNAM and D.C. United; finally, Toronto FC face New York City FC and Atlas FC, rounding out the Canadian trio.
The full group draw, below:
League champions Los Angeles FC and Pachuca each have a first-round bye and will enter automatically through to the knockout round. The competition features 77 matches and will take place between July 21 and August 19, with both leagues pausing play during the tournament.
While there are certainly similarities, this joint-venture between the two leagues doesn't replace the Concacaf Champions League, which features teams from both MLS and Liga MX, as well as various other clubs across Concacaf from countries like Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, etc.
However, it could be a positive step towards the oft-speculated potential merger between the two leagues.
This isn't the only non-league competition for Canadian clubs in 2023. As winners of the 2022 Canadian Championship, the Vancouver Whitecaps will also participate in the Champions League as Canada's representitives, though from 2024 onward, the competition will expand to include berths for the Canadian Premier League's regular season and North Star Shield winners.
The three Canadian MLS clubs will also contend the 2023 Canadian Championship alongside teams from the CPL, League1 Ontario, League1 B.C. and PLSQ.