The soccer news starts with the latest joint competition between MLS and Liga MX. The Leagues Cup starts on July 23, less than two months after MLS confirmed that the tournament would happen. It's the latest attempt for games that sort of count between MLS and Liga MX teams outside of the Concacaf Champions League. MLS and Liga MX already have the Campeones Cup, the meeting between their league champions that started last season. This time, it's invited teams from both leagues.
As always with these kind of things, it's worth considering the point. The popularity of Liga MX in the United States is high on that list. MLS selected Chicago, the LA Galaxy, Houston, and Real Salt Lake to represent their league. Three of those cities are well known for the support of Liga MX teams. Liga MX is sending Cruz Azul, Tijuana, Club America, and Tigres with the opening round games set for MLS stadiums. The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Ben Gotz reports on the potential for the new Leagues Cup final to happen in that city.
What MLS and Liga MX have in mind isn't a short run tournament. The opening quarterfinal round is this month, with the semifinals on August 20 and the final on September 18. The Campeones Cup final was on September 19 last year, with no announcement on when it will happen in 2019. This should create more games that count between the two leagues in what the promoters hope is a different era than when they staged the old SuperLiga.
MLS and Liga MX may be right, but it's still a risk. The international soccer schedule has enough games that sort of count. Turning preseason friendlies into cups and competitions is now common. So are tournaments that clubs have to play but aren't likely to prioritize. Dropping more games between MLS and Liga MX on the schedule only works from a competitive point of view if the teams involved treat them seriously. That's quite the ask considering the schedule.
It's also worth noticing that MLS is adding games that count during the season at a time when the roster depth question still needs an answer. The players missing for international duty once again showed how shallow the player pool can get with some MLS clubs. The way too many MLS teams treat the US Open Cup also speaks to that, rolling out the reserves while prioritizing the league. How MLS and Liga MX address that is the key indication of whether or not their new cup has a chance at succeeding. It's not lost on anybody that the Campeones Cup wasn't a runaway success last season when an announced crowd of 14,823 showed up at BMO Field to see Tigres beat Toronto 3-1.
MLSsoccer's Greg Seltzer lists the likeliest player moves coming out of the Gold Cup.
talkSPORT's Billy Hawkins with comments from Paul Pogba's agent about the player's situation at Manchester United. Football365's Sarah Winterburn makes a point about the transfer system. FourFourTwo's Paavan Mohindru explains the Premier League version of instant replay in use this season. Inside World Football's Osasu Obayiuwana look at the business issues for CAF currently under FIFA management.
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