Houston Dynamo News

Houston Dynamo FC to Face Atlas Fútbol Club and Real Salt Lake in Leagues Cup 2024 Group Play

16x9 Leagues Cup Graphic

HOUSTON (Jan. 31, 2024) - Major League Soccer (MLS) and LIGA MX announced the format and groups for Leagues Cup 2024 earlier today. Houston Dynamo FC will compete in the West 8 group against Atlas Fútbol Club and Real Salt Lake.

This is the first time Houston will face Atlas in an official competition and the Dynamo hold a 11-4-3 record at home against teams from Liga MX. Atlas won back-to-back titles with the Apertura 2021 and Clausura 2022 trophies to snap a 70-year title drought. Houston and Real Salt Lake faced each other six times across three competitions in 2023 with the Dynamo claiming the head-to-head matchup with a 4-1-1 (WLD record). Houston defeated Salt Lake to advance to the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the conference semifinals of the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.

The month-long tournament begins on July 26 and the top three teams will qualify for the 2025 Concacaf Champions Cup. Houston reached the Round of 16 last year, defeating Club Santos Laguna and Club de Futbol Pachuca from Liga MX.

Moving forward, the tournament will introduce a tiered Leagues Cup Ranking system, as well as hubs for the highest-ranked LIGA MX clubs. The Leagues Cup ranking will be strictly based on combined MLS and LIGA MX club performance based on points in the last 34 regular season matches. MLS teams will be ranked based on the 2023 MLS Supporters’ Shield standings, while LIGA MX clubs will be ranked based on the cumulative 34 matches in the 2023 Clausura and Apertura tournaments.

All participating clubs – except the two Leagues’ champions - are divided into three tiers based on the Leagues Cup Ranking (1-15, 16-30, 31-45), forming 15 groups of three clubs each, one club from each tier, prioritizing geographical and competitive balance among the 45 clubs. For 2024, Leagues Cup will be played in two regions, East and West, with seven groups in the East and eight groups in the West, regionalizing travel for all participating clubs. Like the 2023 format, both LIGA MX and MLS Cup champions, Club America and Columbus Crew respectively, receive an automatic bye to the Round of 32. The two champions are not included in the Leagues Cup Ranking.

The LIGA MX Champion and the three top-ranked LIGA MX clubs will be granted hub privileges. The hub privileges, which will minimize LIGA MX club travel and reward them by playing in pre-determined venues as the home team, are based on the Leagues Cup Ranking. Club America (League champion with a bye) will have hosting privileges through the semifinals, C.F. Monterrey (No. 1 rank) through Round of 16, Chivas Guadalajara (No. 4 rank) through Round of 32, and Tigres (No. 6 rank) throughout the Group Stage, rewarding the clubs according to their 2023 Apertura and Clausura performances.

LIGA MX clubs with hub privileges will play at venues to be announced alongside the Leagues Cup 2024 schedule and bracket at a later date.

Following the Group Stage, the advancing 30 teams will be joined by LIGA MX and MLS cup champions (Columbus Crew and Club America, respectively) and will be placed in a fixed bracket to compete in the single-game elimination Knockout Rounds beginning with the Round of 32 (16 matches), followed by Round of 16 (eight matches). The eight advancing teams will compete in the Quarterfinals (four matches) before the two Semifinal matches. Leagues Cup 2024 Third Place and Final will determine the three Concacaf Champions Cup qualified clubs.

Leagues Cup will maintain its current No Ties format. Each team receives one point if the game is tied after 90 minutes. The winner of the subsequent penalty shootout will earn an additional point. Regulation wins count as three points, with games being decided by penalty kick in case of regular time draw.

Fans in over 100 countries and regions will be able to watch all 77 Leagues Cup matches on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app, the subscription service from Apple and Major League Soccer that is available on smart TVs, streaming devices, Apple devices, set-top boxes, game consoles, and the web at tv.apple.com. In addition, TelevisaUnivision, TV Azteca, FOX Sports (FS1), TSN and RDS will be the linear broadcast home for selected group stage matches in Mexico, United States and Canada.

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