Real Salt Lake to Compete in Leagues Cup for Second Consecutive Season
SANDY, Utah - In coordination with Major League Soccer and Liga MX, Real Salt Lake announced on Thursday that the club will take part in the 2020 Leagues Cup - an international competition between top-tier clubs in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Real Salt Lake will feature in the newly expanded tournament and will learn its opponent at the conclusion of the LIGA MX Apertura and Clausura seasons.
As previously announced after last year's successful debut of the competition, the 2020 edition of Leagues Cup will feature an extended field of teams. MLS clubs qualified for the tournament by their performances in the 2019 MLS regular season - including RSL which finished third in the Western Conference in 2019 - excluding the four clubs participating in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League. The participating LIGA MX clubs will qualify through sustained performances across the 2019-20 Apertura and Clausura seasons - specifically the Apertura 2019 and Clausura 2020 Champions, the Champion of Copa MX, and the following five top-ranked teams in the combined 2019-20 table. As of today, the Apertura 2019 Champion, CF Monterrey, is the first team to qualify from LIGA MX for Leagues Cup 2020.
"It's a regional rivalry between MLS and Liga MX and we know that the teams from Mexico are teams that compete in many international tournaments," RSL Head Coach Freddy Juarez said. "It's special when you can compete against someone from outside MLS. It's important for us to compete for trophies, and Leagues Cup gives us the chance to do that."
Real Salt Lake - the 2009 MLS Cup champions and a finalist in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League - begins the 2020 regular season on Saturday, February 29 at Orlando City SC. Along with longtime star for RSL and the U.S. National Team midfielder Kyle Beckerman, the roster features 11 products of the Real Salt Lake Academy, including forward Corey Baird, defender Justen Glad, defender Aaron Herrera, who all represented the U.S. at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. In addition, international standouts midfielder Albert RusnÃ¡k, forward Sam Johnson and midfielder Damir Kreilach highlight a balanced and youthful roster.
"MLS is getting better and better every year and we've seen it in Champions League and now Leagues Cup," Rusnak said. "Every team in this competition wants to win and that's what we're going to try and do."
The 2019 edition of Leagues Cup will feature eight clubs from each league in an 16-team single-elimination tournament that launches with quarterfinals on August 4 and 5 at the stadiums of the MLS clubs. The semifinals will be August 25 and 26 at venues to be determined based on quarterfinal results. The Leagues Cup final will be held on Wednesday, September 16 at a U.S. venue to be announced.
New for the 2020 edition of the tournament will be the inclusion of a draw to determine the matchups between clubs from both leagues ahead of the Round of 16. MLS and LIGA MX teams will be seeded and drawn to ensure the most competitive matches, with a second draw ahead of the Quarterfinals, to guarantee the most amount of interleague play. Seeding for the 2020 MLS Leagues Cup participants is as follows:
MLS 1: Philadelphia Union
MLS 2: Real Salt Lake
MLS 3: Minnesota United FC
MLS 4: LA Galaxy
MLS 5: Toronto FC
MLS 6: D.C. United
MLS 7: Portland Timbers
MLS 8: NY Red Bulls
The seeding order for LIGA MX teams is as follows:
LMX 1: CampeÃ³n de Campeones Champion
LMX 2: CampeÃ³n de Campeones Runner-Up
LMX 3: Copa MX Champion
LMX 4-8: Top ranked Liga MX teams from the combined Apertura 2019 and Clausura 2020 tournaments
Confirmed LIGA MX teams will be announced at the conclusion of the current 2020 Clausura tournament, along with details of the draw and competition matters.
Similar to the 2019 edition, all matches between MLS and LIGA MX clubs will be played in the home market of the MLS team. In the event of a same-league matchup in the later stages of the tournament, the inter-MLS games will be hosted at the MLS market of the higher-seeded team. Matches featuring two LIGA MX teams, as well as the Leagues Cup Final, will be played in a neutral US-based venue to be announced.
Each participating MLS club will announce ticket information in the coming weeks. Fans interested in attending matches should sign up at www.LeaguesCup.com to receive more information on tickets when it becomes available.
The tournament - which will be broadcast on the Univision and ESPN family of networks in the United States, TSN and TVA in Canada, and Televisa in Mexico.
Leagues Cup 2020 Dates
Times TBD / * Subject to change
July 21-22 - Round of 16
Philadelphia Union vs. LIGA MX TBD (Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, PA)
Real Salt Lake vs. LIGA MX TBD (Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT)
Minnesota United FC vs. LIGA MX TBD (Allianz Field, St. Paul, MN)
LA Galaxy vs. LIGA MX TBD (Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, CA)
Toronto FC vs. LIGA MX TBD (BMO Field, Toronto, Canada)
D.C. United vs. LIGA MX TBD (Audi Field, Washington D.C.)
Portland Timbers vs. LIGA MX TBD (Providence Park, Portland, OR)
New York Red Bulls vs. LIGA MX TBD (Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ)
August 4-5 - Quarterfinals
Quarterfinal 1 - TBD vs. TBD
Quarterfinal 2 - TBD vs. TBD
Quarterfinal 3 - TBD vs. TBD
Quarterfinal 4 - TBD vs. TBD
August 25-26 - Semifinals
Semifinal 1 - TBD vs. TBD
Semifinal 2 - TBD vs. TBD
Wednesday, September 16
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