Leagues Cup 2024: Top 10 group games to watch


If we learned anything from Leagues Cup 2023, it’s the month-long, World Cup-style tournament between MLS and Liga MX clubs makes for must-see TV.

From Lionel Messi’s magical title run with Inter Miami CF to epic penalty shootouts, last year’s competition provided plenty of riveting summer soccer.

What memorable matches are in store for this season? With the release of the 2024 schedule, we’re picking the top 10 games to watch from this year’s Group Stage.

A reminder: The entirety of Leagues Cup – from the July 26 opener to the Aug. 25 final – is streamed via MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

Leagues Cup - 2024 bracket
Tigres UANL vs. Inter Miami CF
Aug. 3 | East 3 | NRG Stadium

Two of Concacaf’s most stacked squads face off, with Lionel Messi and André-Pierre Gignac leading their respective clubs at Houston’s NRG Stadium.

The star power will also include Luis Suárez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba – and that’s just the Herons. But Tigres themselves boast the likes of Mexican international Diego Lainez and brilliantly eccentric goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán, to name a few more marquee players.

Chivas Guadalajara vs. LA Galaxy
Aug. 4 | West 2 | Dignity Health Sports Park

Former LA Galaxy striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernández is back at boyhood club Chivas after 14 years abroad – just in time to face his most recent ex-team in Leagues Cup.

Chicharito, who scored 38g/6a over four MLS seasons, returns to Dignity Health Sports Park for his LA reunion against former ‘mates Riqui Puig and Dejan Joveljic, as well as Galaxy newly-arrived DPs Joseph Paintsil and Gabriel Pec.

Chivas Guadalajara vs. San Jose Earthquakes
July 27 | West 2 | Levi’s Stadium

Speaking of reunions, San Jose Earthquakes homegrown product Cade Cowell also gets the chance to face his ex-team when the Quakes take on El Rebaño at Levi’s Stadium.

Cowell has 4g/1a in his first 13 games with Chivas since his transfer to the Liga MX giants in January. He left behind a San Jose side that's tripped out of the gates in the 2024 MLS season, going 0W-3L-0D to date.

CF Monterrey vs. Austin FC
July 30 | West 1 | Q2 Stadium

One of two Mexican sides already locked in for the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup, Monterrey are without question a pre-tournament favorite. The five-time Concacaf Champions Cup winners currently lead the Liga MX Clausura with a 7W-0L-4D record (25 points).

A major factor in their recent success is the red-hot form of former FC Cincinnati striker Brandon Vazquez. Since his January arrival from the 2023 Supporters’ Shield winners, the 25-year-old has seven goals in 12 all-competition matches for Rayados – even scoring against the Orange & Blue last week in CCC play.

LAFC vs. Tijuana
July 26 | West 7 | BMO Stadium

Something of a SoCal rivalry awaits in Leagues Cup when LAFC take on Xolos at BMO Stadium.

With a sizable San Diego* fanbase, Club Tijuana have a California connection that adds an extra layer of intrigue to this July 26 showdown. However, having home-field advantage and 2023 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi winner Dénis Bouanga gives the Black & Gold a clear advantage.

Club León vs. Portland Timbers
Aug. 1 | West 5 | Providence Park

The defending CCC champs, who’ve also earned the right to participate in the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup, travel to Providence Park to do battle with the Timbers.

Thriving under new manager Phil Neville, Portland lead the Western Conference with a 2W-0L-1D record after four matchdays. Even more promising: their roster is not even close to being complete, due to two open DP spots.

However, if recent reports are accurate, a very familiar to Liga MX fans should be a well-established Timbers player when León visit the Rose City in early August.

Pumas UNAM vs. Austin FC
July 26 | West 1 | Q2 Stadium

You've got to include the tournament's first LIGA MX vs. MLS match. Especially since that distinction went to Inter Miami vs. Cruz Azul last year, and well… we all pretty much know how that went.

This time, Pumas UNAM and Austin FC help get the Leagues Cup 2024 ball rolling on July 26. Expect a fantastic atmosphere; the Q2 Stadium crowd always delivers.

Cruz Azul vs. Charlotte FC
July 31 | East 4 | Bank of America Stadium

With this rematch of a 2023 Round-of-32 match that Charlotte won 4-3 in a penalty-kick shootout, Cruz Azul will be itching for revenge. After all, it led to the dismissal of head coach Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti.

Charlotte have also changed managers since both clubs last met, with longtime Premier League coach Dean Smith taking the reins for 2024. The early signs are promising for The Crown, who have gone 1W-1L-1D (four points) this season.

Atlanta United vs. Santos Laguna
Aug. 4 | East 7 | Mercedes-Benz Stadium

This one has “high-scoring affair” written all over it.

Atlanta United, who netted the second-most goals in MLS last season (66), host the club with the fourth-most goals (19) in the Liga MX Clausura.

We’re giving a narrow edge to the Five Stripes, who are looking even more dangerous than last year’s squad – especially after their Matchday 4 rout of the New England Revolution behind a Giorgos Giakoumakis hat trick.

New York City FC vs. Querétaro
July 28 | East 1 | Yankee Stadium

Their early-season struggles aside, New York City FC are proven performers in high-stakes competitions. One need only go back to their 2021 MLS Cup and 2022 Campeones Cup triumphs for reminders.

If the Cityzens can get their young, promising roster gelling by the summer, Leagues Cup 2024 may be the perfect vehicle to showcase exactly what they’re made of.