The burgeoning relationship between Major League Soccer and Liga MX – the top soccer league in Mexico – has taken another big step.
Executives of the two leagues — MLS commissioner Don Garber and Liga MX executive president Enrique Bonilla — formally announced Wednesday at Banc of California Stadium that the 2020 MLS All-Star Game will be played at the home stadium of Los Angeles FC and will feature star players from both leagues pitted against each other for the first time. The game will be played on July 29.
Los Angeles is a logical choice to host the first of these All-Star Games given the prominent population in the area of people of Mexican heritage. The first major player signing for LAFC, which joined MLS as an expansion team in 2018, was Carlos Vela, a star player from the Mexico national soccer team. In 2019, Vela set MLS's single-season goals scored record as LAFC won the Supporters' Shield.
The MLS-vs.-Liga MX All-Star Game approach is a welcome change of pace for the MLS event. In 2005, the league scrapped the more traditional conference-vs.-conference All-Star Game used by other U.S. pro sports leagues and instead hosted matches against top club teams from Europe.
"As we have been coming up with different competition formats for our All-Star game, one thing has remained constant, we want to have the most competitive All-Star Game format in all of major league sports," Garber said. "While it is an exhibition, ultimately, the teams that we play – the MLS All-Stars play – come to win.