Major League Soccer along with Liga MX announced the long-anticipated creation of the Leagues Cup, today. The tournament, which will combine four teams from MLS and four teams from Mexico’s Liga MX will play in a single-elimination tournament to determine the eventual winner.
The LA Galaxy have been named to the tournament have their first game scheduled against the Xolos of Tijuana, on Tuesday, July 23 (8 p.m. PT; Dignity Health Sports Park).
“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 tournament will be operated and commercialized by Soccer United Marketing (SUM).
The Chicago Fire, the Houston Dynamo, and Real Salt Lake will be the three other teams from MLS – including the Galaxy – to participate and host the first round of games. Club America, Cruz Azul, Tigres UANL and the Xolos, as mentioned earlier, will round out the Mexican clubs competing.
The first round of games will take place on July 23 and 24 with the Semifinals taking place on August 20, and the final set for September 18.
Regardless of teams, all games are currently scheduled to take place in the United States with Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles and BBVA Compas Stadium in Houston standing in to host games if a Mexican team is included in the semi-finals.
For the Galaxy, they will face off against cross-town rivals Los Angeles Football Club on Friday, July 19, before playing a Tuesday night match on July 23 and then traveling to face the Portland Timbers on Saturday, July 27. You can also add the likely fifth-round matchup of the U.S. Open Cup on or around July 10 into that busy schedule as well.
With this year’s version of the tournament not having any qualifications, the Galaxy are the clear star power of the MLS offerings. But the club is amid a fairly substantial re-build and adding another game to the schedule — one in which MLS will be judged against North America’s best league — seems like a heavy burden with minimal payoff.
For MLS, however, it seems this is the long play to try and capitalize on Liga MX’s overwhelming popularity in the United States and to monetize that for both league’s continued growth.