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CAMPEONES CUP

What is the Campeones Cup and who’s playing?

Move aside Inter Miami: MLS and Liga MX’s finest will go head-to-head to crown the best team in North America.

Update:
Will Carlos Vela stay at LAFC?
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Which team has been the best in North America in recent times? Inter Miami, inspired by Lionel Messi, have thrown their hat into the ring in the last couple of months after winning the 2023 Leagues Cup, which all 29 MLS and 18 Liga MX clubs took part in. However, Wednesday’s Campeones Cup will offer up an alternative to the Herons, as the two strongest teams from the United States and Mexico, at least in theory, go head-to-head.

How do teams qualify for the Campeones Cup?

The competition sees the winner of the previous year’s MLS Cup play against the victors of Mexico’s Campeón de Campeones, a type of Super Cup in which the Apertura and Clausura champions from the past season face off. If the same Liga MX team wins both short tournaments, they are automatically crowned Campéon de Campeones and qualify directly for the Campeones Cup.

Who won the 2022 MLS Cup?

Carlos Vela’s Los Angeles FC were first to book their spot in the 2023 game by virtue of lifting the MLS Cup all the way back in November 2022. And there can be little doubt that The Falcons were the strongest team stateside over the course of the year having finished top of the MLS’ Western Conference and overall standings before going on to triumph in the knockout rounds.

Who is Mexico’s Campeón de Campeones?

This year’s Mexican representative is Tigres, who won Liga MX’s Clausura 2023 tournament despite finishing seventh in the league phase. They defeated Chivas in a two-legged playoff final and then beat Apertura 2022 champions Pachuca in a one-off game to be crowned Campeón de Campeones.

Campeones Cup history favours US teams

The competition has only been going since 2018 (the 2020 match was cancelled because of the covid-19 pandemic) and previous results don’t make especially happy reading for Mexican clubs. After Tigres themselves defeated Canada’s Toronto FC in the inaugural edition, Club América, Cruz Azul and Atlas have lost to Atlanta United, Columbus Crew and New York City FC respectively, meaning US-based teams have a 100% record in the tournament.

That said, MLS sides have always had home advantage in the Campeones Cup, which will again be the case this year. LAFC vs Tigres will take place at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles on Wednesday 27 September, with kick-off at 11:00 p.m. ET.