The Leagues Cup Showcase resumed Wednesday night at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati and GEODIS Park in Nashville, with MLS clubs FC Cincinnati and Nashville SC both celebrating respective wins over Liga MX powerhouses Chivas Guadalajara and Club America.
The exciting and dramatic matches acted as a precursor to the expanded 2023 Leagues Cup that arrives next summer with a month-long break in league competition.
In the first match of the night, FC Cincinnati rallied for a 3-1 win over Chivas, while Nashville needed penalties to defeat America.
FC Cincinnati 3, Chivas 1
FC Cincinnati erased a first-half deficit and scored three unanswered goals after halftime, the final by Brandon Vazquez, to beat Chivas, 3-1.
Pavel Pérez gave Chivas a 1-0 lead on 20 minutes, taking a pass from Rubén González and putting his deflected shot past FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Alec Kann.
After a nearly hour delay late in the first half due to inclement weather, Yuya Kubo equalized in the 53rd minute, pouncing on a loose ball atop the box and firing low inside the far post.
Calvin Harris gave FC Cincinnati the lead in the 69th minute, running at the Chivas defense after a turnover in midfield and firing a dart from distance.
Vazquez put the finishing touches on the come-from-behind victory in the 77th minute, getting on the end of an Alvaro Barreal cross and firing in a first-time finish just moments after entering as a substitute.
Nashville SC 3 (4), Club America 3 (2)
After blowing leads early and late, Nashville SC needed a penalty-kick shootout to knock off Club America and ensure an MLS sweep on the night.
Jürgen Damm, who had a disappointing goalless 24-match stint with Atlanta United, pulled America back a goal in the 38th minute. Moments later, Ake Loba thought he made it 3-1, but the goal was taken off the board following Video Review due to offside.
Miguel Layun, who had a rough first half on the defensive side, leveled for Las Águilas in the 51st minute with a sensational strike into the side netting.
But Martinez pounced on the rebound of a shot spilled into his path by goalkeeper Elliot Panicco to equalize for America in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time.
After both ‘keepers made saves in the first round of the penalty shootout, Ethan Zubak, Maher and Haakenson converted for the hosts.
Federico Vinas and Layun scored for America, but Martinez skying his chance opened the door and Brian Anunga capitalized with the decisive kick in the fifth round.