Major League Soccer and Liga MX have announced the creation of the Leagues Cup tournament that will begin in the United States on July 23:
Leagues Cup @LeaguesCup
Fueled by fierce rivalry, @MLS and @LIGABancomerMX teams will face-off in a new Interleague Competition. The 2019 edition of #LeaguesCup will feature four clubs from each league in an eight-team single-elimination tournament that launches with quarterfinals on July 23 and 24. https://t.co/J1iQEkpRAw
The tournament will feature four teams from each league and will be a knockout competition, with the final scheduled for September 18.
Houston Dynamo, Real Salt Lake, Chicago Fire and LA Galaxy are the MLS teams involved, while Club America, Tigres, Cruz Azul and Club Tijuana are the Liga MX sides competing.
Here's a look at the first round of fixtures:
Houston Dynamo vs. Club America
Real Salt Lake vs. Tigres
Chicago Fire vs. Cruz Azul
LA Galaxy vs. Club Tijuana
The winners of the four matches will progress to the semi-finals to be held on 20 August. The final will then be played in September at a venue still to be confirmed.
ESPN FC's Tom Marshall shared the full schedule of Leagues Cup:
MLS commissioner Don Garber spoke of his excitement about the new tournament in a statement, per Marshall:
"We are excited to take our partnership with Liga MX to the next level with Leagues Cup. 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."
Liga MX Executive President, Enrique Bonilla, offered his view on what the tournament will bring, per MLSSoccer.com.
"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."
Yet the Leagues Cup has already attracted criticism:
Meanwhile, Marshall offered some arguments in favour of the new tournament:
Tom Marshall @mexicoworldcup
The arguments for @LeaguesCup: - Libertadores return isn't happening - Liga MX clubs are playing outside of Mexico - It's better than playing CCL group stage - Liga MX sides play friendlies in the US anyway at every opp, might as well make a tournament #ligamxeng https://t.co/7kEbE7lAmC
The idea of a competition between MLS and Liga MX sides is hardly a new one. The two leagues came up with the SuperLiga in 2007, featuring four teams from each competition, but it only lasted until 2010.