The countdown is on, and with four weeks to go until the exciting conclusion of the 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase, here’s a closer look at all six teams’ seasons to date, as well as the host venues:
FC Cincinnati vs. Chivas de Guadalajara
7:06 ET/6:06 MX, TQL Stadium
In the first of a busy week of action to conclude the 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase, FC Cincinnati will play the first Leagues Cup match in their history, with TQL Stadium hosting its first international match. Opened for the 2021 MLS season, the 26,000 seat stadium in the city’s West End neighborhood is regularly packed for the hosts’ league matches, and has also hosted the US Men’s and Women’s national teams. Built with cutting-edge technology, TQL Stadium is the third-largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States, and makes an ideal setting to kick off the final set of matches.
FC Cincinnati have bounced back well after a challenging 2021 season, led by American striker Brandon Vazquez — in his second season with the club, he’s already netted fifteen times, the third-best total in the league. With playmakers Luciano Acosta and Brenner joining in the attack and USMNT defender Matt Miazaga having arrived at the beginning of the month, the Orange and Blue have taken a massive step forward this season. They will welcome Chivas to Cincinnati in a tight battle for a place in the Eastern Conference playoffs with just eight matches to play.
Their Liga MX opponents, Chivas, are one of the legends of Mexican soccer. The most popular team in the country, the Rojiblancos — twelve times Mexican champions — are battling hard for a place in the Liguilla in Liga MX, having shaken off a tough start to the Apertura. After losing a hard-fought match to LA Galaxy to kick off the 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase in early August, the team have found their form domestically, with two wins and a draw in their last three matches. Known historically for their academy’s development of players like Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, the current side boasts the likes of Alexis Vega, Santi Ormeño and more, and will be a tough matchup for the hosts.
Nashville SC vs. Club América
8:06 CT/MX, GEODIS Park
While TQL Stadium is the third-biggest soccer-specific stadium in the US, the biggest sits just a few hundred miles south in Nashville. Home to MLS side Nashville SC, GEODIS Park opened in early May with an MLS match against Philadelphia Union. Able to hold 30,000 fans, it’s one of the crown jewels among the league’s venues, and the fearsome atmosphere it creates has been a massive part of a strong season for Nashville SC, with the team averaging close to capacity attendances.
Gary Smith’s side have had a strong start to life in MLS, having reached the Conference semifinals in each of their first two seasons. This year is more of the same, as the brilliance of Hany Mukhtar, who has 16 goals to his name, good for the second-best total in the league. With six assists as well, only one player has been involved in more goals than Mukhtar, and buoyed by USMNT defender Walker Zimmermann, the team have been tough to break down defensively as well.
Their opponents in the second of the evening’s two matches will be Club América, another one of Liga MX’s most popular and successful sides. Led by legendary goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and striker Henry Martín, the Aguilas also took part in the opening doubleheader in Los Angeles, beating LAFC on penalties. Battling at the top of the Apertura table, Fernando Ortiz’s side have won five straight matches domestically, and will be aiming to make it two wins from two in their 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase campaign.
Real Salt Lake vs. Atlas FC
8:06 MT/7:06 MX
While not as new as the two stadiums hosting matches the previous evening, Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah is every bit as impressive. Opened in 2008 for Real Salt Lake, the soccer-specific stadium sits at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, and is known for its picturesque views and wonderful sunsets. Having hosted both the men’s and women’s national teams, as well as a famous draw against Tigres by Real Salt Lake in the 2016 CONCACAF Champions League, Rio Tinto has already become one of the league’s legendary venues, and is a great location to conclude the 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase.
The hosts, Real Salt Lake, are coming off one of the most successful seasons in their history, having reached the 2021 Western Conference Finals. Currently battling for a playoff position, the team, coached by former US international Pablo Mastroeni, are a defensive juggernaut with veteran Zac MacMath in goal and the Venezuelan pair of Jefferson Savarino and Sergio Cordóva leading the attack. Having lost just twice all season, the Claret and Cobalt will be a tricky opponent for their Liga MX opponent.
Atlas FC are coming off one of the most impressive seasons not just in their long history but in all of Mexican soccer. Having won both the Apertura and the Clausura in the 2021-22 season, they were crowned Campeón de Campeones, and are in the mix to return to the Liguilla once more. This match will mark their second trip to the United States in just over a week, as on September 14, they’ll take on NYCFC in the Campeones Cup, a contest between the previous season’s winners of the MLS Cup and the Campeón de Campeones. With striker Julio Furch and stalwart midfielder Camilo Vargas leading the way, Diego Cocca's side are as dangerous as they come, and will look to provide a thrilling end to the 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase.