AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin FC will take on two Liga MX teams in the opening round of the first-of-its-kind Leagues Cup later this year, the team announced Friday.
Verde will play Mazatlan FC and FC Juarez in the group stage of the tournament, slated to begin July 21 with the title match on Aug. 19. With its fourth-place finish in the Major League Soccer Supporters’ Shield standing last year, Austin FC is one of 16 MLS teams seeded for the tournament.
There are 15 groups of three teams each to open the tournament, and the top two teams in the groups will advance to the round of 32. LAFC and CF Pachuca, winners of MLS and Liga MX last season, qualified straight into the round of 32 and don’t have to play the group stage. Matches will be played in MLS stadiums throughout the United States and Canada with a regional format, and both leagues will pause their schedules as the tournament unfolds.
Every team in MLS and Liga MX is participating in the tournament in a total of 77 matches. None of the group-stage matches will end in a tie under this format. The winning team will get three points, and if there’s a tie after 90 minutes, each team will get one point. In that case, teams will go straight to a penalty shootout and the winner will be awarded another point in the group standings.
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Other tiebreaking rules for the group stage will be released later, tournament organizers said.
Austin FC is the top-seeded MLS team in the south region at No. 3 with FC Dallas earning the region’s No. 6 seed.
The top three finishing teams in the Leagues Cup will earn automatic qualification to the CONCACAF Champions League next season with the champion moving straight to the round of 16.
Austin FC will not only compete in the Leagues Cup this season but also in the CONCACAF Champions League, on top of the usual MLS schedule and U.S. Open Cup.
Ticket information will be available as the tournament draws closer.
Owen Wolff called up to U-20 national team
Midfielder Owen Wolff, who will compete for more playing time with Verde this season, will train with the United States U-20 Men’s Youth National Team from Jan. 19-29. It’s his first call-up as part of the U-20 team and he had two call-ups with the U-19 team last year.
The 18-year-old son of Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff helped the U-19 squad win the Slovenia Nations Cup last fall and he scored against Croatia in the team’s second match of the tournament.
He made 24 appearances for Verde last year with 11 starts, compiling an 85% pass completion rate with 13 key passes and 15 interceptions.