The Leagues Cup already had a format, and now it has a draw. Nashville SC is in the Central Region of the competition, in Group 4. From Club release:
NEW YORK, MEXICO CITY AND NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 20, 2023) – Major League Soccer and LIGA MX announced today the 15 groups and four regions that will form the inaugural edition of the highly-anticipated Leagues Cup 2023. As part of the official Concacaf competition that will see, for the first time, all LIGA MX and MLS clubs pause their leagues’ action to compete in a World Cup-style tournament, Nashville SC has been placed in the Central Region in Group 4 alongside Toluca of LIGA MX and Colorado Rapids of MLS. Taking place between July 21 and Aug. 19, the champion, second and third place finishers of Leagues Cup 2023 will qualify for the Concacaf Champions League.
The Leagues Cup 2023 groups were based on clubs’ 2022 performance along with their geographic regions. Nashville SC finished eighth in the Supporters’ Shield Standings, which resulted in the corresponding Central Region placement first, alongside the other top 15 MLS clubs – excluding LAFC, the MLS Cup Champion.
The top 15 LIGA MX teams, based on the combined Clausura 2022 and Apertura 2022 standings – excluding the LIGA MX champion Fútbol Pachuca – were paired in reverse order with the top 15 MLS clubs (No. 15 LIGA MX seeded club has been paired with No. 1 MLS seeded club and so on).
Continuing with the competitive balance criteria, the remaining 13 MLS clubs were placed in the groups, based first on their geographic region, and then on their position in the final 2022 Supporters’ Shield standings.
Nashville SC and every other team will play two matches in the Group Stage, with the top two teams from each group, as determined by points, advancing to the Knockout Stage Round of 32. No matches in the Leagues Cup Group Stage will end in a tie. If a match is tied after 90 minutes, it will proceed to a penalty shootout.
For tiebreakers and other competition items, the Leagues Cup 2023 Competition Guidelines will be published in the coming months along with the Leagues Cup 2023 bracket and schedule. Ticketing information will be available once the bracket and schedule is set.
The Boys in Gold have faced Colorado twice in its MLS history owning a 2W-0L-0D record in MLS play, while outscoring the Rapids 7-2. Reigning MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner Hany Mukhtar has accounted for five of those goals, including a hat trick performance at GEODIS Park on Aug. 31, 2022.
Nashville SC will face LIGA MX side Toluca for the first time in club history this summer. Last September, Nashville SC competed in its first-ever international competition against Club América of LIGA MX in the 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase Series earning a victory via penalty kicks (4-2) following a 3-3 draw in regulation time.
Nashville SC fans and other fans around the world will be able to watch Leagues Cup* on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app, which is available on Apple devices, smart TVs, streaming devices from Roku, Amazon, and Google, game consoles, and the web at tv.apple.com. In addition, TelevisaUnivision, FOX Sports, TSN and RDS will be the linear broadcast home for select matches in Leagues Cup. The Leagues Cup Final will be available on Univision.Nashville SC release
Sort of a bummer from an exposure perspective to not be in one of the groups with two Liga MX teams, though obviously for competitive purposes, Colorado Rapids… not the most difficult MLS team to have in your group.
Toluca finished sixth in the Apertura, and drew its opening match of the Clausura (Most Liga MX teams have played two rounds, but the Diablos Rojos are among the handful that have not). The club did finish as runner-up in the Apertura playoffs, but its most recent championship was the 2020 Clausura (branded as the 2010 Bicentenario). Not historically one of the strongest teams in Liga MX, Toluca is based in an exurb of Mexico City,
Colorado Rapids’ only championship in history came in 2010 as well, when the club was coached by Gary Smith and led on the field by goalkeeper Matt Pickens and defender Kosuke Kimura… a group that comprises 3/4 of NSC’s current coaching staff. The fourth member of NSC’s current staff, Steve Guppy, was an assistant coach to Smith on that Rapids squad.