Orlando City will host Santos Laguno of Liga MX and the Houston Dynamo in group stage of the Leagues Cup tournament, the club announced Friday. The revamped tournament will take place this July.
The Lions will host both matches after finishing in the top 15 in the total Major League Soccer standings last season. Santos Laguna finished fourth in the combined Liga MX standings from last season's Apetura and Clasura campaigns, and the Dynamo finished 24th in the MLS standings.
Orlando faced Santos in the 2021 Leagues Cup. That tournament was a single-elimination knockout tournament between a select group of MLS and Liga MX teams. The Lions were beaten 1-0 by Santos last time around in a game that didn't feel as close as the final score.
There will be no draws in the group stage. If games are tied after 90 minutes of action, they will go to a penalty shootout. Each team will play at least two group stage games. Other details about the competition have yet to be announced.
In the new Leagues Cup, the tournament will be a World Cup style even in July. Every MLS and Liga MX team will participate and both leagues will pause their seasons for the tournament. The tournament will kick off July 21 with the final set for Aug. 19. The full schedule and bracket are to be determined.
The tournament is being held entirely within the United States and Canada. All group stage games and knockout matches will be played at MLS venues or other stadiums. No Mexican clubs will host matches.
This is the second Concacaf tournament on Orlando's schedule for 2023. The club earned an invitation to the 2023 Concacaf Champions League after winning the US Open Cup. The Lions will face Mexican giants Tigres in March, first in Monterrey, Mexico and then at Exploria Stadium.