MLS stars to face best of Liga MX in new-look All-Star Game format

Carlos Vela all-starGetty

Following years of discussion and debate, the best in MLS will finally get to take on Liga MX's elite in a new-look All-Star Game.

MLS announced on Wednesday that Los Angeles FC's Banc of California will host the first iteration of the league's new All-Star Game format on July 29. The format shift, which coincides with the league's 25th anniversary, will pit an MLS All-Star team against one from Liga MX.  

The league has experimented with various in-house formats since the game's inception in 1996, including East Conference vs. Western Conference and domestic players against international players in the early years of MLS. Since 2005, though, the MLS team has played against European clubs, including Real Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus and, most recently, Atletico Madrid, although that format had drawn plenty of criticism in recent years.

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“We are so pleased to bring the 2020 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target to Los Angeles, one of the great soccer markets in North America,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. 

“As we celebrate our 25th season, we wanted to deliver an unique and unprecedented format for our annual All-Star Game.  Our first ever game between the best of MLS and LIGA MX’s top players is the perfect way to build on the growing relationship between the two top soccer leagues in the region.”

The match becomes the latest cooperative effort by MLS and Liga MX, as the two biggest North American leagues have cemented a partnership in recent years.

In 2018, the leagues expanded their relationship with the creation of the Campeones Cup, which pits the champion of Liga MX against the MLS Cup winner. In addition, the two leagues have since combined to create the Leagues Cup, an eight-team tournament that began play in 2019.

"For LIGA MX it is a privilege to be part of MLS’ celebration of its 25th season with this MLS All-Star Game," said LIGA MX Executive President Enrique Bonilla.

"Also, it represents another step in the partnership that we have established between two of the best leagues in the world. I know that this game being played in a spectacular setting and a magnificent stadium will be exciting for our fans, in a city that is special to us.

"For LIGA MX, it will always be important to be close to our supporters in the United States. The MLS All-Star Game, of course, strengthens the sports rivalry between MLS and LIGA MX. A rivalry that will collaborate directly in the growth of the sport in our region."

Bob Bradley, head coach of Los Angeles FC, will take charge of the MLS side after leading the second-year MLS club to the Supporters' Shield in 2019. Bradley's LAFC broke the league-record for points along the way, but fell short against the eventual champion Seattle Sounders in the MLS playoffs.