Somos hermanos ahora. Tu futuro es nuestro futuro.
Hopefully you don’t have to run that through Google Translate. Knowing a little Spanish (or, better yet, fluency) is going to come in handy as the next decade of North American soccer unfolds. If you’re not there yet, I’ll do you a solid to keep you from opening another window.
We’re brothers now. Your future is our future.
Hermanos. Brothers. That’s the way I think of Major League Soccer and Liga MX these days.
Brothers compete with each other, enemies one second and partners the next. Brothers respect each other, but they’re not necessarily equal. Brothers don’t have to agree, often they don’t, but they share something only family can. Brothers’ futures are intertwined, even if they don’t always want them to be. Brothers need each other.
Sometimes you’re born into it. Sometimes you choose your family. If you haven’t figured it out by now, MLS and Liga MX are brothers by choice. The leagues want their futures to be woven together, and the strands are quickly tightening as they find more and more common ground.
Concacaf Champions League. Campeones Cup. Leagues Cup. The World Cup in 2026. And, long-rumored but now official, the 2020 All-Star Game presented by Target, pitting MLS’s best and brightest against their brothers to the south. It’s the All-Star Game MLS’s 25th season deserves. It’s the format we ought to stick with for the foreseeable future.
How’s this for hype? Carlos Vela, Cristian Pavon and Chicharito (that’s strictly a guess, by the way) against Andre-Pierre Gignac, Rogelio Funes Mori, Memo Ochoa and the best Liga MX has to offer. Bob Bradley on one sideline, and Miguel Herrera or Tuca Ferretti (more guesses) on the other. Doesn’t matter which side of the border you reside on, that’s compelling stuff.
The game ought to be better, too. No more European clubs running out a mixed bag of starters and reserves as they get their legs under them during preseason. No more I-dare-you-to-break-me-down approaches from Diego Simeone. No more wondering if [fill in the blank big star] will make the trip or eschew the trans-Atlantic flight to preserve his legs.
No, this is a true exhibition. Two teams of stars out there balling with no bigger goal than to entertain. Bring out your stepovers. Bust out the bunny hops. Centerbacks, make that 70-yard run. Try that trivela. Rabonas, I want to see them. Megs, yes please. Play to make us smile. Go for the spectacular. Let’s make this as close to the jaw-dropping ridiculousness of El Trafico as possible.
Make it a little competitive, too. Give me the true El Trafico energy. There has to be a winner, after all. There’s national and league pride at stake.
Exhibition or not, we all know the event will be used as yet another opportunity to compare the competitive nous of the two leagues. But we all know – or ought to – what this is really about: the spectacle, the celebration of two leagues closing the gap between each other.
And the parties. Oh, the parties! Outside the white lines, the biggest soccer stars in this hemisphere will take over Los Angeles for a week-long celebration of the beautiful game in North America, of our shared future. Why not make this NBA All-Star Week for soccer? Why can’t it be the place to be for soccer fans every single summer?
Why didn’t we do this before? We’re brothers now, after all.
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