Yesterday, The Athletic reported that Major League Soccer and Liga MX were set to announce a new tournament between the two leagues called the Leagues Cup. Set to begin this summer, the Leagues Cup would have 4 teams from each league playing against each other in a single elimination tournament that would end with a Leagues Cup champion.
According to the report, and also reported by NBC Sports, Real Salt Lake, the Houston Dynamo, the Chicago Fire, and the LA Galaxy would face off against Tigres, Club America, Cruz Azul, and Club Tijuana in July. It’s not known why those 8 teams were chosen. All matches would take place in the United States, which means no trips to Mexico for fans of the 4 participating MLS teams.
This adds to the growing number of competitive partnerships between MLS and Liga MX. Last year, the leagues debuted the Campeones Cup, an annual competition between the MLS Cup champion and the Campeon de Campeones winner from Liga MX. Last year, Tigres beat Toronto FC 3-1 at BMO Field. This year, Atlanta United will host the winner of this year’s Campeon de Campeones, which will be contested between Club America and Tigres. The leagues have also collaborated on the MLS Homegrown Game, which has featured MLS’s best Homegrown talent against the U-20 teams from a few Liga MX clubs and even the Mexico U-20s the past 4 years. Under the partnership between the two leagues, Liga MX U-20 teams will be the annual opponent in the MLS Homegrown Game and there will be a future MLS All-Star Game that will be a MLS vs. Liga MX clash.
Returning to the Leagues Cup, the reported competition is being initially viewed as nothing more than a new Superliga, which was an ill-fated annual competition between the two leagues that lasted from 2007-2010. It is taking place using randomly selected (or not so random, depending on your mindset) MLS teams that happen to be among the middle-to-lower tier of teams in the league standings to play Liga MX clubs that are the best in that league. It’s also not something that every team will participate in, which leads fans of those clubs to pay less attention to the competition. We will see if this will be different than the Superliga, but it leads to this question: is it a good idea? Is there a better way to increase the competition between the two leagues, which would hopefully help boost the profile of MLS clubs both in Mexico and the region?
Hit the comments to provide your take on whether the Leagues Cup is a good idea, if generally increased competition with Liga MX is what MLS should be pushing for, and if there’s a better way to achieve that goal to improve the league’s standing in CONCACAF and the world.