Next year will be the first year of an expanded Leagues Cup. To build excitement and showcase just how special this tournament could be the Leagues Cup decided to put on a showcase at the beautiful SoFi stadium. The atmosphere was electric and brings excitement to what the Leagues Cup can be in the future. The football being played was very competitive and further proved that the gap between MLS and Liga MX is getting closer if it hasn’t already been closed. The MLS was represented by both of their LA clubs while Liga MX was represented by historic clubs Chivas and Club America.
LA Galaxy beat Chivas 2-0
Going into the game, the biggest storyline was all about Mexican legend Chicharito having to face the club that gave him his professional debut. Chicharito scored 26 goals for Chivas before moving on to Manchester United. Chicharito failed to get on the score sheet against his former club however that did not stop the LA Galaxy from snagging a 2-0 win.
The first goal was scored in the 28th minute by Dejan Joveljic. It came off a corner and Jovelic took a beautiful first-time volley and was able to put it near post for a goal. That was Jovelic’s 13th goal in all competitions. The second goal came in the second half when Mexican Youth International Jonathan Perez hit a strike from outside the box and was able to bury it in the bottom right corner. That goal was Perez’s first goal for the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy return to MLS action on August 6th as they travel to Kansas City. Chivas will return to action on August 5th in search of their first Liga MX win.
Club America beat LA FC 0-0 (6-5)
LA FC is currently the talk of MLS as they currently leading the Supporters Shield race. Not only that but they have brought in two very experienced internationals in Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini. Club America entered this game after losing their last 2 Liga MX matches. This game was a cagey affair. The game included 20 fouls. Despite this, both teams had their chances as LA FC had 3 shots on target while Club America managed 5. However, neither team was able to break through after 90 minutes. The game went directly to a penalty shootout. Diego Palacios was first up for LA FC and his shot was saved by Oscar Jimenez.
However, LA FC would equalize when Alejandro Zendejas’ shot was saved by John McCarthy. After 5 rounds the penalty shootout entered sudden death. Emilio Lara took a poor penalty that McCarthy got his hands on however it squeezed passed him. This left Jose Cifuentes on the spot. Cifuentes who is having a spectacular MLS campaign was unable to convert as his penalty went high over the ball. Club America was able to hang on and win a thrilling penalty shootout 6-5. LA FC will look to continue their push to win the Supporters Shield, while Club America will try to carry this momentum over to the league.
What is Next for the Leagues Cup?
In the immediate future, the Leagues Cup has three more “showcase” games scheduled. On September 21st the MLS team, Nashville is set to take on Liga MX Club America in Nashville. Cincinnati will host Chivas on the same day. In the longer term, the Leagues Cup is getting a complete renovation. Starting in 2023 the Leagues Cup is going to expand. It will now include every MLS and Liga MX team. Both leagues have agreed to pause play for a month so the Leagues Cup can take place. Because of the magnitude of this tournament, the stakes are now higher. The two finalists now get automatic bids to the Concacaf Champions League. The third-place winner will also get a bid. The format is not set in stone however the tournament is believed to be taking place over the summer likely in June and July.
Rumors also suggest that the tournament will be a world cup style tournament where there will be 15 groups of 3 teams all with their own host cities. After the group stage, the remaining clubs will advance to a knockout tournament. There is a ton of money going into this tournament so expect MLS, Liga MX, and Concacaf to do everything in their power to make it successful. Expect the Leagues Cup to rival the Concacaf Champions League in popularity, power, and prestige in the near future. Holding a tournament of this size will also help the United States and Mexico get preparation and practice for the 2026 World Cup. The growth of this tournament should be fun to watch.
What do you think of the new League Cup between MLS and Liga MX? Let us know in the comments below!
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