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MLS and Liga MX announce major partnership, including inter-league championship game

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This was a long time coming.

There’s been discussion over the years about the level of competition between Liga MX and MLS. Liga MX is the better league right now, but that gap looks to be closing - maybe? - with this edition of the CONCACAF Champions League as Toronto FC, the New York Red Bulls and the Seattle Sounders hold leads over Tigres, Xolos and Chivas (respectively) after the first leg of the quarterfinals.

Why there hasn’t been more collaboration between the two leagues is puzzling, but both leagues are looking to change that today.

MLS and Liga MX have announced that they have formed a major partnership that will see the champions from each league meet annually in a single match each fall called the Campeones Cup. Toronto FC, as the MLS Cup champion in 2017, will host the champion of the Mexican league on September 19 at BMO Field. Although not included in the announcement, it’s likely that the game will alternate each year between the MLS Cup winner’s home stadium and the home stadium of the Liga MX champion.

The leagues also announced that MLS All-Star Week will play into the partnership as well. First off, the MLS Homegrown Game will feature a Liga MX U-20 team annually. MLS’ homegrowns drew Chivas 2-2 in Chicago last year, while Mexico’s U-20 men’s national team was the opponent in 2016. In addition, a future MLS All-Star Game will see top players from both leagues play against each other, with details on that to come at some point.

This is a great move by both sides, and I’m not sure why it took so long for this to happen. MLS, for one, can stand to benefit as it continues to look to raise its profile as one of the emerging leagues in the world. Partnering with Liga MX is another enormous step in that direction.