After nearly a month of action that saw 47 teams from LIGA MX and MLS in action, Leagues Cup 2023 is now down to its final two contenders.
Tuesday night’s semi-finals saw Inter Miami CF put four past the Philadelphia Union in another attacking masterclass led by Lionel Messi - whose arrival has turned the MLS Eastern Conference bottom boys into the tournament favourites.
The other match-up saw Inter Miami’s domestic rivals Nashville SC defy the odds by knocking out Mexican giants CF Monterrey at GEODIS Park. The Tennessee outfit are now through to the final, and have also secured their first-ever spot in the CONCACAF Champions Cup for next year.
The reigning MLS MVP Hany Mukhtar was denied a sensational opener in the first half, as his curled shot into the far corner was ruled out after a VAR check for an offside position. Gary Smith’s men were eventually rewarded for their efforts in the second half, as recent arrival Sam Surridge finished past Esteban Andrada after being set up by Mukhtar.
In the last twenty minutes, the MLS side survived an onslaught of attacks from Rayados, led by an impressive Jordi Cortizo. CF Monterrey were ultimately unable to break through, and Nashville’s Fafà Picault stormed through a tired opposition defence in the 97th minute to emphatically double the lead and seal the result.
The final showdown in this year’s Leagues Cup is now set: Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami CF will travel to GEODIS Park on Saturday, August 19, to take on Nashville SC. The match kicks off at 9pm ET (7pm in Mexico City).
For both clubs, the game will be a chance at clinching a first-ever piece of silverware, as well as the chance to claim a spot in the Champions Cup last 16. Will Messi weave his magic once more this summer, or can the underdogs cause another upset?