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A Weekend MLS Report: Messi's game-changer, plus the kickoff to the 2023 Leagues Cup

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

What a stellar performance in Messi's 94th - minute debut with Inter Miami; fans, around the world, had a reason to celebrate with Inter Miami's (possibly most crucial) move with Leo.

As of last night, Orlando, Charlotte, and León all sit on top with wins for the 2023 Leagues Cup. This is quickly turning out to become a very popular Cup. Fortunately, the show is just beginning. Let's discuss the other top contenders making their mark for the rest of this Matchday 1.

Eastern Conference

Cincinnati v. Sporting KC – July 23, 2023

FC Cincinnati has one game against Sporting KC (Jul 23) before they play against Chivas (Jul 27), both drawn for the club's first matchups in Central Group 3 of the Leagues Cup. FC Cincinnati has July's Player of the Month, and they are in the hunt for the Supporters' Shield. At this point, Cincinnati can lead the league with regular season points (held, presently, by the New England Revolution at 73).

Philadelphia Union v. Club Tijuana – July 22, 2023

Philadelphia has reached two Champions Cups semifinals before, finishing second to LAFC in most of their trophy rout. Jim Curtin, and the rest of the Union, need to get past two Liga MX teams, Tijuana (Jul 22) and Querétaro (Jul 26). Andre Blake can count himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the East, and José Martínez is back from his stint in the All-Star game.

Western Conference

Real Salt Lake v. Seattle Sounders – July 22, 2023

Seattle Sounders FC is behind Real Salt Lake with only a draw, and a loss. Although this is a stellar club, Seattle isn’t a stranger to facing strong teams: winning the Champions Cup in 2022 (first MLS champion) and reaching the Leagues Cup final the year before. They also have veterans back from the Gold Cup: Cristian Roldan; and, Jordan Morris, who is also coming back from the All-Star game. After RSL, Seattle will face off against CF Monterrey (Jul 30).

Columbus v. St Louis – July 23, 2023

St. Louis, fresh off a win against a pre-Messi Inter Miami, will start off their tournament tomorrow, in Columbus, at Field. They’re competing against a team on a three-game losing streak. It should be noted that Columbus does own a 9-1-3 home record, slipping only once to Inter Miami. Vassilev has left a mark this season with two goals and four assists. Aziel Jackson has made goal contributions in three of City’s last four contests, and Löwen has had twelve for this season. Finally, Roman Bürki sits in fifth for his seventh clean sheet of the season.

Tomorrow night will conclude Matchday 1, with New York City v. Atlas, as well as the teams listed above. If you would like to follow the conversation: @con_nojo on Twitter.


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