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Lions begin Leagues Cup play Friday night

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City returns home Friday night for the first round of Leagues Cup play against Houston Dynamo FC.

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The Lions are coming off a huge win in Atlanta Saturday night, topping Atlanta United 2-1 and moving into fifth place in the MLS Eastern Conference.

While most soccer fans will be paying attention to the anticipated appearance of Messi in Ft. Lauderdale for Inter Miami FC in their Leagues Cup opener against Liga MX’s Cruz Azul, City fans will be all in to see the Lions take their first steps in claiming the Leagues Cup title.

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Alright, we will all have our phones out at Exploria Stadium

While they are still battling for the MLS Cup, Orlando City lost their chance to defend the U.S. Open Cup when Charlotte FC beat them in May.

The Leagues Cup is another opportunity for Orlando to bring home a trophy.

What is the Leagues Cup?

The Leagues Cup is a four-week tournament with teams from MLS and Liga MX, separated into 15 groups, with all games played at MLS stadiums in the U.S. and Canada.

Orlando City will host the first two games of the South 2 group against MLS’s Houston Dynamo CF on Friday night and Liga MX’s Santos Laguna on July 29, a Liga MX team the Lions know well.

Santos Laguna beat the Lions during Leagues Cup play in 2021 at Exploria Stadium.

What is at stake for the winners?

The top three teams will automatically qualify for the CONCACAF Champions Cup, and the Champion qualifies directly to the CONCACAF Champions Cup Round of 16.

The winner of the CONCACAF Champions Cup will go on to play in the FIFA Club World Cup against other champions from across all major international soccer clubs.

The last and only MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup was the Seattle Sounders in 2022. Los Angeles FC has gone to the finals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup twice, most recently in 2023, but came up short in both appearances.

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