MLS and Liga MX have announced the creation of Leagues Cup, an annual competition between clubs from the two leagues that launches in July.
The 2019 edition of Leagues Cup will feature four clubs from each league in an eight-team single-elimination tournament that launches with quarterfinals on July 23 and 24 at the stadiums of the MLS clubs. The semifinals will be August 20 at venues to be determined based on quarterfinal results. The Leagues Cup final will be held on Wednesday, September 18 at a U.S. venue to be announced.
For 2020 and beyond, MLS and Liga MX will explore the option to expand Leagues Cup to encompass more participating teams. 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 clubs have won domestic titles.
- Chicago Fire – MLS Cup and four-time U.S. Open Cup champions;
- Houston Dynamo – Two-time MLS Cup champions and reigning U.S. Open Cup champion;
- LA Galaxy – Five-time MLS Cup champion and two-time U.S. Open Cup champion;
- Real Salt Lake – MLS Cup champion.
Liga MX Clubs:
- Club America – 13-time Liga MX champion and six-time Copa MX champion;
- Cruz Azul – Eight-time Liga MX champion and four-time Copa MX champion;
- Tigres UANL – Three-time Copa MX champion, reigning Campeones Cup and seven-time reigning Liga MX champion;
- Club Tijuana – Liga MX champion.
The tournament has been sanctioned by Concacaf.
“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,” said Concacaf President, Victor Montagliani. “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.”
“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.”
Enrique Bonilla, Liga MX Executive President, said: “The rivalry between Liga MX and MLS clubs as well as the sporting level of both competitions grows constantly. 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.”
Leagues Cup brand and logo were also unveiled, representing how the game unites fans, while promoting the union of the three countries and inspiring a ferocious sporting rivalry between the two Leagues.
Soccer United Marketing (SUM), the preeminent soccer enterprise in North America, will operate and commercialize Leagues Cup.
Leagues Cup 2019 Schedule
(All Times Eastern) / * Subject to change
Tuesday, July 23
Chicago Fire vs. Cruz Azul (SeatGeek Stadium – Bridgeview, IL) 8:30 p.m.
LA Galaxy vs. Club Tijuana (Dignity Health Sports Park – Carson, Calif.) 11:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 24
Houston Dynamo vs. Club America (BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, TX) 8:30 p.m
Real Salt Lake vs. Tigres UANL (Rio Tinto Stadium – Salt Lake City, UT) 10:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 20
Semifinal 1 *
Semifinal 2 *
Wednesday, September 18
* Leagues Cup Semifinals:
- If a Semifinal is MLS club vs. MLS club, BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles have been pre-determined to host the semifinals on its respective side of the bracket
- If a Semifinal is Liga MX club vs. Liga MX club, BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles have been pre-determined to host the semifinals on its respective side of the bracket
- If a Semifinal is MLS club vs. Liga MX club, the MLS team will host the Semifinal game
Image of MLS action courtesy Chicago Fire.