Major League Soccer is moving away from its All-Star Game format involving matchups with big European clubs. Next summer, the league’s top stars will face the best of Liga MX at Banc of California Stadium, home of Los Angeles FC, according to The Los Angeles Times. MLS is set to announce the new format and venue on Wednesday.
The game is set for July 29, and MLS commissioner Don Garber will be joined by Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla at the official announcement on Wednesday. This will mark the second MLS All-Star Game played in L.A. area — the 2003 game saw the MLS All-Stars beat Mexican club Chivas de Guadalajara 3-1 in Carson, home of the Galaxy.
Atletico Madrid was the All-Star Game participant last season in Orlando, and past opponents include Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus. This is not the first time the format has changed. In fact, over the years we’e seen teams split up by conferences (East vs. West) and by domestic and international players (MLS USA vs. MLS World).
Facing the stars of Liga MX is just the latest example of the increasing relationship between the Mexican league and MLS. The two leagues have long battled in the CONCACAF Champions League, and in 2018 the league champs met in a new competition, the Campeones Cup, where Tigres beat Toronto FC. Last season, Atlanta United beat Club America. The two leagues also played in a new cup called the Leagues Cup last season featuring four teams from each, with Cruz Azul winning.
This latest tweak makes sense for a variety of reasons, especially since Liga MX is one of the most popular soccer leagues in the United States. Los Angeles is a massive Mexican and Mexican-American hub, which means it wouldn’t be a stretch to see a sell-out crowd at Banc of California Stadium come July.