The two most popular soccer leagues in North America are increasing their cooperation, with MLS and Liga MX announcing a new partnership on Tuesday aimed at boosting both leagues' profiles.
An annual match between the leagues' champions, branded the Campeones Cup, will begin this year with reigning MLS champion Toronto FC taking on the winner of Liga MX's summer 'Campeon de Campeones' match between the champion of the Apertura, Tigres, and the champion of the Clausura which will be decided in May.
“Major League Soccer is proud to come together with Liga MX for this unprecedented partnership,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Together, we have a vision to elevate the popularity of our game to even higher levels in North America. We are excited to have the MLS champion take on Liga MX’s top club in the Campeones Cup this year and build further programs in the years to come.”
The leagues also will join forces during MLS' All-Star week in future years for an MLS vs. Liga MX All-Star event. That could see an MLS Best XI taking on a Liga MX Best XI rather than MLS' current All-Star game format of MLS All-Stars taking on a European club team in its pre-season.
The homegrown game, which takes place the day before the ASG and features the best homegrown players in MLS, will continue to be played against a Liga MX club's U-20 team.
"The partnership between leagues will include a sharing of best business practices and a collaboration around social responsibility efforts to drive positive social change," according to a league statement.
Fans don't have to wait to see MLS teams take on Liga MX competition, with the second legs of the CONCACAF Champions Legue quarter-finals taking place Tuesday and Wednesday. Three matches in the continental championship pit MLS clubs against Mexican rivals as MLS looks to life the CCL trophy for the first time in the current format.