In an effort to further strengthen the partnership between Major League Soccer and Mexico’s Liga MX, the two announced today the creation of the Campeones Cup. They also announced some plans for a change to the All-Star game. More on that below.
The Campeones Cup will see the MLS Cup champion face off against the Liga MX champion. As Liga MX breaks their season into two smaller seasons, the ‘champion’ will be the winner of a match between the Apertura and Clausura winners. This season, that Liga MX match will take place in mid-July, with the first Campeones Cup being played for on September 19th, at BMO Field, against Toronto FC.
There have been mixed reactions to this proposed idea. Some view it as just a glorified friendly and believe that clubs will treat it as such. I tend to disagree. I think that there is a growing rivalry between MLS and Liga MX and I see teams putting some effort into this Cup for bragging rights purposes. Why? Because I am almost certain that MLS clubs will put an effort in, as MLS has always been looked at as the inferior product; namely because of budget capabilities. If MLS continues to have success in Champions League and win a few Campeones Cups, it will become a big deal in Mexico. After sweeping Mexican clubs last week in Champions League, Mexican papers were not happy. Therefore, I see the clubs being forced to be competitive in the Campeones Cup.
For the time being, I see it like the UEFA Super Cup, which is an annual match between the Champions League and Europa League champions. For those unfamiliar with European soccer, when teams get eliminated from the Champions League, they are placed in Europa. As a result, it can be looked at as the ‘2nd division’ of continental club soccer. Despite this, teams take the Cup somewhat seriously, even though it is played in the preseason, as it is a chance for smaller clubs from Europa League to knock off the club champion of Europe. And, it has happened a few times, with the most recent being Atletico Madrid defeating Chelsea in 2012 and Internazionale in 2010.
If MLS clubs continue to struggle against Liga MX clubs in Champions League, MLS could point to any successes in Campeones Cup as evidence of a closing gap to casual fans; even though a one-off game is not a good representation.
What are your thoughts on the announcement of the Campeones Cup? Do you see it as a positive? Will it just be a pointless friendly? Will clubs take it seriously?
All Star Game Announcement
In conjunction with the Campeones Cup announcement, a future MLS All-Star game will pit MLS All-Stars against Liga MX All-Stars. Additionally, the MLS Homegrown Game will continue to feature a Liga MX Under-20 club as competition.
The All-Star announcement highlights more the partnership that Liga MX and MLS are attempting to form. Maybe one day, we see them as one league. I doubt that simply for travel reasons, but you never know.
While the Liga MX versus MLS is a good idea, there is no reason why MLS could not continue with playing against a club team from Europe or having the Eastern Conference play against the Western Conference. Although the conference-based match is appealing, and could possibly be used to determine who hosts MLS Cup (like they do in baseball), I think playing against Liga MX is the better decision. What is your preference?
What Format Should the MLS All-Star Game Take?
This poll is closed
MLS All-Stars versus Top European Team
Eastern Conference versus Western Conference
MLS All-Stars versus Liga MX All-Stars
Get Rid of it Entirely