With 's Inter Miami debut expected to occur against Cruz Azul in the 2023 Leagues Cup opener, let's look at how the month-long tournament works. 

This year's Concacaf tournament, which takes place between July 21 to August 19, 2023, now includes a revamped format. 

The Leagues Cup origins

The MLS and 's top-tier football league, Liga MX, conceived the Leagues Cup as a joint venture. They officially announced the tournament in 2019 as a new initiative to strengthen the bond between the two nations.

The Leagues Cup Format

In its inception, the Leagues Cup initially comprised only eight teams – four from each league. However, it has since evolved due to its enormous popularity. The tournament now embraces a broader format, boasting all 47 Liga MX and MLS clubs. 

The tournament structure once followed a single-elimination format, where every match was knockout. But the 2023 version is built on a -style tournament, including a group stage followed by knockout rounds.  

Seventy-seven matches will take place across the United States and . The top 15 teams from each league will get divided into 15 groups based on their rankings from the prior season, with the remaining teams selected according to geographic closeness. 

There will be three matches in each group in a round-robin style during the group phase, with the top two teams progressing to the elimination phase. Additionally, two teams – the current MLS Cup champion and the highest-ranked Liga MX champion from the preceding Clausura or Apertura – will get direct entries to the elimination stage.

The elimination phase follows a traditional single-elimination model with a predetermined bracket.

The Prize

Apart from the prestige of being crowned champions of the Leagues Cup, the victorious team also receives a direct entry to the following season's CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16. The second and third-place teams also gain access to the next season's CONCACAF Champions League. 

Will you watch Messi's debut and the 2023 Leagues Cup on TV's MLS Season Pass? Go here for tickets.

Photo: Instagram/ch14_ + Leagues Cup