Major League Soccer and Liga MX announced on Wednesday the creation of Leagues Cup, an annual competition between the two top soccer leagues in North America that will debut this July with the support of Concacaf.
The inaugural edition will feature four teams from MLS and four from Liga MX. Representing MLS are the Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, while Club America, Cruz Azul, Tigres UANL and Club Tijuana will represent Liga MX.
While sporting criteria will determine participants for both leagues in future editions of Leagues Cup, for the inaugural 2019 edition, the four Liga MX clubs were selected based on results in recent competitions, while the four MLS club participants were invited to compete. All participating clubs have won domestic titles.
“We are excited to take our partnership with Liga MX to the next level with Leagues Cup,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “We have an intense rivalry between our national teams, and Leagues Cup provides a terrific opportunity to increase the growing rivalry between MLS and Liga MX clubs.”
The quarterfinals will be held on July 23 and 24, played at MLS stadiums. The semifinals will unfold on Aug. 20 at a location to be determined based on the previous round. The final will take place on Sept. 18 at a venue in the U.S. that will be announced in the near future.
“The rivalry between Liga MX and MLS clubs as well as the sporting level of both competitions grows constantly," Liga MX Executive President Enrique Bonilla said. "We are aware that there are a great number of fans around the region who follow the leagues and we believe that Leagues Cup will allow us to bring Liga MX and that great fanbase closer together, while fortifying our sport in the region, which is already the most important in the continent in regards to infrastructure, media impact and the quality of the competition.
“This great event will mark a new start in this relationship moving forward, with a long-term vision.”
For 2020 and beyond, the leagues will explore the option of including more than just four teams each.
“Concacaf is committed to continuing the development of competitions that will further unite the confederation and provide more opportunities to develop players and connect passionate fans across our region,” Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said.
“Alongside our own expanded regional club competitions, which includes the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, the Leagues Cup organized by Liga MX and MLS further strengthens our sport in our confederation and is a precursor for future collaboration between Concacaf, Liga MX, MLS and other key stakeholders.”