Tuesday’s soccer news starts with the 2021 edition of the Leagues Cup. For those needing the quick reminder, this is an eight-team tournament, four each from Major League Soccer and Liga MX that weren’t involved in the Concacaf Champions League. For MLS, that means Sporting KC, Orlando City, Seattle, and NYCFC. It’s the same qualification route for the Liga MX clubs, with Leon, Tigres, Santos Laguna, and UNAM Pumas making the trip to the United States.
With the MLS teams holding home field advantage, Sporting Kansas City plays Leon and Seattle hosts Tigres to open the tournament on Tuesday night. Wednesday has NYCFC playing UNAM Pumas, with the quarterfinals concluding on Thursday with Orlando vs Santos Laguna. The semifinals wait for mid-September, with the final at Allegiant Field on September 22. It’s certainly worth considering that an entire league’s worth of teams could exit in the quarterfinals.
Since MLS is a stakeholder, the expectation is full participation from its clubs. That should mean something close to first-choice lineups, the only meaningful way to stress the importance of this tournament. That also carries risk since it would lack the built-in excuse of experimental XIs and giving opportunities to squad players. Playing Liga MX clubs head-on is part of the point of the Leagues Cup, creating opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
How much the participating teams make of those opportunities is what we’ll watch play out this week. Even though the MLS season is compact to get 34 games in with space for international breaks, the league believes there’s enough time for other obligations. So it’s up to their four teams to prove MLS right or wrong. How much that’s really asking of the teams involved is part of the question. So is fan support and the relative risk of staging a final in the same NFL stadium that hosted the conclusion of the Gold Cup.
Moving to the European scores, Reggie Cannon missed Boavista’s 3-0 loss at Gil Vicente. The goals came in the 3rd, 24th, and 56th minutes. Jonathan Amon wasn’t in the squad for Nordsjaelland’s 3-1 home win over Odense BK. Oliver Villadsen scored for Nordsjaelland in the 2nd minute with Odense equalizing in the 46th. Nordsjaelland’s Andreas Schjeldrup converted a 73rd minute penalty and Simon Adinga scored in the 90th.
USMNT forward Josh Sargent transferred from Werder Bremen to Norwich City, joining the Premier League club in their promotion season on a four-year contract. “I think the Premier League is the best league in the world and it’s going to push me and challenge me to be a better player,” Sargent told his new club’s official site “I heard it’s a good group of guys and I talked with the head coach already and I really like what they’re trying to do here at Norwich. I’m very excited to get started.”
MLSsoccer’s Phil West works through the 2021 Leagues Cup. The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio talks to USMNT and Chelsea player Christian Pulisic about his new deal with Puma and the upcoming Premier League season. Goal’s Chris Burton on what could happen with Chelsea if they sign Romelu Lukaku. The Independent’s Miguel Delaney uses Lionel Messi’s move to PSG to make a bigger point about contemporary soccer. Toronto FC takes the interim tag off of coach Javier Perez.
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