Leagues Cup

Match Preview: Charlotte FC vs. Cruz Azul in Leagues Cup Round of 32


Match: Charlotte FC vs Cruz Azul | Leagues Cup Round of 32

When: Thursday, August 3

Where: Toyota Stadium

Kickoff: 8:30pm ET

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Previous Matches – Group Stage:

Charlotte FC 2 – 2 FC Dallas (CLTFC wins 4-1 in penalty kick shootout)

Cruz Azul 1 – 2 Inter Miami

Charlotte FC 4 – 1 Necaxa

Cruz Azul 1 – 1 Atlanta United (Cruz Azul wins 5-4 in penalty kick shootout)

Charlotte FC enter the knockout round of the inaugural Leagues Cup against Mexican giant Cruz Azul on Thursday, August 3rd. As the Crown look to book a spot in the Round of 16 tonight, here is everything to know ahead of the match.

The Results

Charlotte FC booked their place in the Round of 32 as group winners after downing Necaxa 4-1 at home behind goals from Brandt Bronico, Karol Swiderski, Scott Arfield, and Patrick Agyemang.


Charlotte FC had previously beaten FC Dallas in a penalty kick shootout in the first Group Stage game.

Per Leagues Cup rules, matches that end in a draw go directly to a penalty shootout (no overtime). The winner of the penalty shootout in Group Stage games gains an extra point for a total of two, while the loser is left with only one point from the regulation draw.


Cruz Azul, meanwhile, opened their group play with a last-minute 2-1 loss to Inter Miami after an incredible Lionel Messi free kick. They still scraped through to the knockouts, though, by winning a penalty shootout at Atlanta United and eliminating the Georgia club.

The Knockout Rounds Ahead

Charlotte FC found themselves in the same quadrant of the bracket with defending Liga MX champions, Pachuca. However, Houston Dynamo FC took down the Mexican club last night in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw in regulation.

This means the Club could face Houston in the next round, and beyond that, a match against Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami or a rematch against FC Dallas would beckon in the quarterfinal.

Still, though, Head Coach Christian Lattanzio’s side must take the tournament one match at a time. Cruz Azul has plenty of firepower, and it will take a focused tactical and physical effort in the Texas heat to overcome the Mexican club. CLTFC writer and reporter Caleb Adams previewed the Ingredients of the Match for the Crown to move on to the next round.


The Opponent

Cruz Azul are indisputably one of the biggest and most storied clubs in Mexico. After their founding in 1927, they enjoyed a dominant run of success in the 1960s and 70s when they were the cream of the crop in North America.

In the modern era, though, the Cruz Azul experience has been a rollercoaster ride. While they have won the Concacaf Champions League (2019) and the Mexican Clausura (2021/22), they have not been crowned overall champion of Mexico for over three decades.

Despite this domestic drama, the club has always performed well on the international stage, even winning the first edition of Leagues Cup in 2019, which was then an 8-team single elimination tournament.

This year, Cruz Azul have started the year in a tough manner, losing their opening three matches before the Liga MX season paused for Leagues Cup play. They have plenty of individual talent, without a doubt, but are still finding the right formula as a team.


The Competition

Leagues Cup is a first-of-its-kind competition featuring all 47 first division clubs from MLS and Liga MX in a World Cup-style club tournament taking place from July 21 to August 19.

Both leagues have paused their respective regular seasons to participate in the tournament. The champion, as well as the second and third place finishers, will qualify for the Concacaf Champions Cup and thus have an opportunity to earn a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup. All matches are scheduled to be played in the United States and Canada.

In the Group Stage, teams were placed in groups of three for a round robin. Each team plays two total Group Stage games, and the top two from each group advance to the single-elimination Knockout Round. LAFC and Pachuca, as the most recent champions of their respective leagues, earned a bye and entered the tournament in the Round of 32.

Charlotte FC won their group that included FC Dallas of MLS and Necaxa of Liga MX and now enter the Knockout Rounds against Cruz Azul.



Leagues Cup Round of 32 vs. Cruz Azul

August 3rd @8 | Kickoff at 8:30PM @ QC Pour House