Sporting Kansas City is one of eight premier North American clubs that will compete in the second edition of Leagues Cup this summer, Major League Soccer and LIGA MX announced today.
Leagues Cup will see MLS clubs Sporting, Seattle Sounders FC, Orlando City SC and New York City FC join four LIGA MX clubs in a high-level international competition that builds on the growing rivalry between the leagues and gives Sporting the opportunity to claim its first major international trophy in team history.
After debuting in 2019, Leagues Cup will return this year after a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic. The tournament will unfold in a single-game, single-elimination format with MLS teams welcoming four Liga MX sides in the opening round. Sporting will host a LIGA MX opponent in the Leagues Cup quarterfinals on the week of Aug. 9 at Children’s Mercy Park and ticket information for the match will be announced at a later date.
Leagues Cup will be played entirely in the United States, with the semifinals on the week of Sept. 13, and the Leagues Cup Final—which will take place in a neutral venue—slated for the week of Sept. 20.
2021 Leagues Cup Schedule
- Week of Aug. 9: Quarterfinals (Sporting hosts LIGA MX opponent)
- Week of Sept. 13: Semifinals (hosted in the U.S.)
- Week of Sept. 20: Final (neutral-site venue in U.S.)
MLS representatives in Leagues Cup were selected to participate as the top two finishers from each conference in the 2020 MLS regular season standings that are not scheduled to compete in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League. The four LIGA MX teams will be announced in May at the conclusion of the current 2021 Clausura season, along with other schedule, competition and venue details.
Leagues Cup will be broadcast on the ESPN and Univision family of networks in the United States, treating supporters to marquee matches between clubs from the top two professional soccer leagues in North America.
Beyond growing the MLS-LIGA MX rivalry, Leagues Cup has garnered an increased focus from clubs on both sides of the border. Positioned as an important part of the North American soccer landscape, Leagues Cup will have a qualifying slot to the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League beginning in 2023 when the Champions League adopts a new format.
Sporting Kansas City will kick off the club’s 2021 MLS regular season on Saturday, April 17, visiting the New York Red Bulls in a 7 p.m. CT kickoff at Red Bull Arena. Manager Peter Vermes’ side will then host Orlando City SC in a highly anticipated Children’s Mercy Park home opener on Friday, April 23. The 6:30 p.m. CT matchup will be televised live on FS1 and FOX Deportes.
The full MLS regular season schedule and Sporting KC ticket information for home matches at Children’s Mercy Park will be announced soon.
Led by captain Johnny Russell, Mexican international striker Alan Pulido, former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia and MLS All-Stars Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez and Graham Zusi, Sporting will look to build upon a successful 2020 campaign that saw the team finish first in the Western Conference for the second time in three years. Vermes’ men have won four major championships over the last decade—hoisting the 2013 MLS Cup and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles in 2012, 2015 and 2017—in addition to making nine playoff appearances since 2011.