Liga MX vs MLS and the Growing Rivalry

Analysis of Concacaf Champions Cup Finals Reveals the Battle Between Mexican and North American Leagues
Columbus Crew v CF Montreal
Columbus Crew v CF Montreal / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Since its inception, the Concacaf Champions Cup has been the stage for an exciting rivalry between teams from Liga MX and Major League Soccer (MLS). Over the years, this competition has intensified, reflecting not only the struggle for regional supremacy but also the growth of professional soccer in North America.

Revisiting the historic finals of the Champions Cup between Liga MX and MLS teams, it becomes evident that Liga MX has held a consistent advantage over its North American counterpart. In eight finals contested until 2023, MLS teams emerged victorious only three times, highlighting Liga MX's relative dominance in these matchups.

Follow MLS Multiplex on X (Twitter).

The first final between an MLS team and a Liga MX team occurred in 1997 when the Los Angeles Galaxy faced Cruz Azul. Although the Galaxy started with a two-goal advantage, Cruz Azul managed an impressive comeback and took home the title.

One of the most emblematic finals was the showdown between CF Monterrey and Real Salt Lake in the 2010/11 season. After an exciting draw in the first leg, Monterrey secured victory in the second leg, initiating a series of triumphs that would establish them as a dominant force in the competition in the following years.

Another significant milestone was the 2018 final between CD Guadalajara and Toronto FC. In this encounter, we saw Guadalajara emerge victorious in penalties, highlighting the skill and resilience of Liga MX teams even when faced with challenges from MLS sides.

The title won by D.C. United in 1998 and the more recent triumphs of Seattle Sounders and LAFC demonstrate that American teams are increasingly competitive and ready to challenge Liga MX's hegemony.

Furthermore, the presence of Canadian teams, such as Montreal Impact (now CF Montreal), in the Champions Cup final adds an extra layer of rivalry and diversity to the competition. Although Club America emerged as the winner in 2014/15 against Impact, the participation of Canadian teams illustrates the growing influence of soccer in the country.

It is evident that the rivalry between Liga MX and MLS will continue to grow in intensity and importance. With increasing investments in infrastructure, player development, and global attractiveness, both Liga MX and MLS are poised to become even greater powerhouses.