After growing their relationship over the last few years, 2019 was supposed to be an even bigger leap for the partnership between Liga MX and MLS.
The Campeones Cup, Leagues Cup and CONCACAF Champions League were going to match up each league's top sides more than ever before.
Most importantly, though, the league's top players were set to meet for a summer spectacle with Los Angeles, home of Mexican stars Carlos Vela and Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez, playing host to a historic All-Star Game event.
As the saying goes, though: the best-laid plans...
With the coronavirus all-but shuttering sports all over the world, the partnership between MLS and Liga MX is being put on hold for the moment. MLS is still looking to find a way back, with discussions ongoing over a potential competition in Orlando . Liga MX, meanwhile, has cancelled the Clausura season and will now look ahead to the 2020 Apertura tournament, which is scheduled to begin in July or August.
However, while the inter-league dealings are off for this year, there is still much anticipation regarding what happens next. Talk continues to swirl of a North American super league , although much of that is premature.
Meanwhile, movement between the two leagues is also higher than ever before, with a number of Liga MX players travelling north to join MLS clubs over the winter, including former Golden Boot winner Alan Pulido.
Unlike his LA rival Chicharito, Vela has never played in Liga MX. The winger, who has earned 72 caps despite an often times frosty relationship with El Tri leadership, was a member of the Chivas academy before making his move to Arsenal as a teenager.
However, having now spent two full seasons in MLS, Vela has come to understand the league and its place in both the world and North America. The former Real Sociedad star has emerged as a superstar during his time in MLS , helping make Los Angeles FC a perennial contender in the league while catapulting himself into the national spotlight with endorsements from companies like BODYARMOR.
And, while Vela says that he believes that the ongoing competition between the two leagues is beneficial for all involved, he is not so sure that the rumors of an eventual merger are plausible.
"I don't know if it will happen. These are two very big countries and trying to fix how we can play in two different countries is hard," Vela told Goal .
"I don't know how close the possibility is, but I'm more focused on trying to get MLS to a good spot and to try and get this league to be one of the top leagues in the world. I'm more focused on making LAFC one of the big clubs in the world. That's my goal.
"If things happen, we'll see how things change in the competition, but at the moment, we are in MLS and want to be a better league than the rest."
After spending his entire career in England and Spain, Vela signed with LAFC ahead of the club's expansion season in 2018. He scored 14 league goals in his first season before smashing league records in his second, firing 34 goals in 31 matches while claiming MLS MVP honors.
Vela got his first taste of the MLS-Liga MX rivalry in February as LAFC took on Leon in the CONCACAF Champions League. After losing the first leg 2-0 in Mexico, Vela scored two of LAFC's three goals to shock Leon and seal the MLS side's spot in the CCL quarterfinals .