New changes will becoming to MLS and LIGA MX starting in 2023. The change is not what many people have been asking for, to have MLS switch to play over the winter. Instead the change is part of a reimagined Concacaf leagues cup.
The new summer tournament will see both leagues take a month long pause in their league schedule. This is due to the fact all of the clubs in the two leagues will take part in the new league cup. Concacaf President Victor Montagliani along with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Liga MX President Mikel Arriola made the announcement in New York City Tuesday afternoon. The three men also announced that the tournament champion will automatically qualify for the Concacaf champions league round of 16. Clubs who finish in second and third will qualify for the opening round of the CCL.
Right now the only way for MLS teams to qualify for the CCL is based off their league play. For Canada, there is just one berth, and it awarded to the winner of the Canadian championship. The United States gets 4 Berts for the league. One goes to the U.S. Open cup winner, the supporters’ shield, the MLS Cup winner and the other regular season conference winner.
This is the latest partnership between the two leagues. Coming just about a month after the two leagues had their best players take part in an all-star game, which saw the MLS side win in penalties. The new Leagues Cup will also create soccer history, as it will be the first major soccer tournament to include every club from a pair of top leagues.
“Since its launch 3½ years ago, our partnership with LIGA MX has grown quickly and the competition has brought out the best in both of us. On the path to the FIFA World Cup in 2026 hosted by the U.S., Canada and Mexico, this is the perfect moment to produce a tournament that will elevate the profile of Concacaf and showcase the incredible passion our region has for soccer played at the highest level.” said Commissioner Garber.
2023 for some can be seen as a preview to the 2026 World Cup, as the two countries will partner with Canada to host the first World Cup that will feature 48 teams. So the new champions league cup will help Mexico and the US showcase their soccer infrastructure. As well as the ability the region has to handle such a massive style tournament.
Below is a video that Concacaf released that details how the league cup will fit into the rest of Concacaf’s tournaments.
Get to know the new Concacaf club competitions structure including an expanded Champions League ⚽️— Concacaf (@Concacaf) September 21, 2021
Starting with the 2024 edition #CCL to expand with 27 participating clubs and an additional knockout round
Learn more → https://t.co/tLogNvlEUg pic.twitter.com/yTlsubpvax
This season saw the Philadelphia Union enter their first ever Concacaf Champions League. During their time, they would make it all the way to the semi-finals before losing to Club America.