Liga MX to join in MLS All-Star Game as opponent

The long rumored collaboration between MLS and Liga MX at the MLS All-Star Game is now about to happen.

The first step: An entertaining and delightful MLS All-Star Game featuring the best players from both leagues. After that? World domination, for starters. But that can wait for another day.

Wednesday’s announcement finalized the long-rumored opponent for the MLS All-Stars this summer will be a similar representation from Liga MX, long seen as the dominant league in the region. Three of the four remaining teams in this edition of CONCACAF Champions League are from Liga MX. The fourth is MLS side Philadelphia Union.

It is yet another measuring stick for MLS and a way to make inroads among the sizable Mexican fanbase that resides in the United States. The midweek match is scheduled for August 25 at Banc of California Stadium, the home of Los Angeles FC.

“This is going to be an intense match in a fantastic setting and world-class stadium in Los Angeles, a city that has a deep connection to our country, league, players and fans,” Liga MX executive president Mikel Arriola said on Wednesday.

“The 2021 All-Star Game is another step in the partnership we have established between two of the best leagues in the world, and it will only intensify the rivalry between MLS and Liga MX, and is an important part of the internationalization project of our League to reach more audiences beyond Mexico. We are looking forward to playing for the supporters of Liga MX and giving soccer fans around the world a match they will never forget.”

In the first ever MLS All-Star Game in 1996, colorful Mexican international goalkeeper Jorge Campos played for the Western Conference in a match held at a sold-out Giants Stadium. Cuauhtémoc Blanco, who spent three seasons as a member of the Chicago Fire, made the MLS All-Star Game in 2008.

From the first MLS All-Star Game through 2004, the format featured a class Eastern Conference versus Western Conference format. The only exception was in 2002 when the league’s international players lined up against an all-American group (the match celebrated the United States success in the 2002 World Cup where they advanced to the tournament’s quarterfinal round) and in 2003 against Mexican club Chivas.

In 2004, the format reverted back to conferences playing each other before featuring the MLS All-Stars versus a variety of international competition.

Despite being one the of the biggest Mexican signings in MLS history, Rafa Marquez never was named an MLS All-Star during his three years in the league. He did, however, throw multiple teammates under the bus during his stint in MLS.

Follow Kristian Dyer of ‘MLS Multiplex‘ on Twitter @KristianRDyer