FCC season ticket holders likely noticed that even though prices largely didn’t change in 2023, the cost still increased. Why? Because they paid for an extra two matches that will be played in 2023. Actually, FC Cincinnati could theoretically play more than an extra two.
MLS has released its Leagues Cup plan for 2023 and it provides clarity for fans wondering what is going on from July 21st to August 19th.
Right now FC Cincinnati plays their MLS season and in one extra knockout competition, we all are familiar with, the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Starting in 2023, add the new Leagues Cup competition in July. Essentially, MLS is going to hit the pause button on the season and MLS clubs are going to take on Mexico’s Liga MX in a tournament. The top 15 MLS clubs vs the top 15 Liga MX clubs will be pitted against each other in reverse order while the remaining MLS, Liga MX clubs are sorted in after that geographically. Seeding for MLS teams will be by Supporters’ Shield standings (how they finished the season before playoffs)
The Group Stage
- The champion of each league gets to skip this stage but all other teams will be put in a group. The two extra season tickets you paid for are likely for these group-stage matches.
- There cannot be a tie in this tournament. If a 90-minute match ends in a tie, each team gets 1 point and penalty kicks will decide who gets a second point. Winning in regulation = 3 points
- Basically, 0 points for a regulation loss, 1 point for a draw then Pk Loss, 2 points for a draw-PK Win, and 3 points for a regulation win.
- After the group matches, points are added together and the top two move on.
- Each Group includes one top 15 MLS club, one top 15 Liga MX club, and a mix of remaining bottom MLS/Liga MX clubs by region.
- No MLS or LIGA MX regular season matches will be played during the Leagues Cup. Instead, there will be midweek matches during the season to make up for it as well as the expanded season we saw in 2022 will stay.
- Every MLS team will host at least 1 match at their home stadium. The higher-seeded MLS club in their group will host 2.
- If FC Cincinnati makes the playoffs or finishes 15th or above on the league-wide supporter shield table they will host two matches. If not, FC Cincinnati is likely to substitute an Open Cup or other additional match to make up the second ticket.
The Knockout Round
- Since FC Cincinnati is not guaranteed to be in these matches (unless they win MLS Cup or win the Group Stage) these tickets are not part of the package.
- Matches will be single elimination, like in the US Open Cup, but are played against the top two MLS and Liga MX group winners. 32 clubs will make it out of group stages
- Round of 32, then Round of 16, and so on
What is FCC playing for?
- Third place match winner qualifies for Concacaf Champions League
- Both clubs in the Leagues Cup final qualify for Concacaf Champions League
- Leagues Cup 2023 Champion qualifies directly to Concacaf Champions League Round of 16
Essentially the rewards are similar to winning MLS Cup or winning the US Open Cup. All 2023 matches are played in the US which is interesting considering all the Mexican clubs in the tournament. The tournament will be broadcast on Apple TV as part of the new 2023 MLS TV Deal with Apple. All Season Ticket holders get the new MLS Apple TV product included with season tickets.
More about the tournament is here at MLS’s webpage and we will update this page as more information comes available.