Atlanta United's Justin Meram (14) is congratulated by head coach Frank de Boer (right) after being subbed off against the Montreal Impact June 29, 2019, at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportsw
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportsw

Atlanta United likely to play in international tourney in 2020

It seems probable that Atlanta United will compete in an international tournament in 2020 following Thursday’s announcement that the Leagues Cup will expand to 16 teams next year.

The Leagues Cup, a a recently created tournament featuring clubs from MLS and Mexico’s LIGA MX, features eight teams this season.

For 2020, the teams that finish Nos. 1-4 in the MLS East and West at the end of the 2019 regular season will qualify for the Leagues Cup. Those who are competing in the CONCACAF Champions League will not participate in the Leagues Cup.

The eight teams from Mexico’s first division that qualify for next year’s Leagues Cup will include the 2019 Apertura champion, 2020 Clausura champ, 2019-20 Copa MX champ, and the next five best teams in the combined Apertura 2019-Clausura 2020 regular-season standings that have not already qualified for Leagues Cup.

Atlanta United will qualify for the Champions League by either winning this year’s U.S. Open Cup, of which it is one of four remaining teams in the tournament, winning the MLS Cup, winning the Supporters’ Shield or by finishing first in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta United is in third in the East with 33 points, three behind Philadelphia, but with a game in hand.

Atlanta United was eliminated in this year’s Champions League by eventual champion Monterrey.

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