MLS All-Star Game set to host best of Liga MX for third time

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This season's Major League Soccer's All-Star Game will feature a match against the best of Liga MX for a third time in the past four years of the league's exhibition game, MLS announced Monday.

Scheduled for July 24 at Columbus, Ohio's Lower.com Field, this year's MLS All-Star Game marks a return to the MLS vs. Liga MX format after hosting Arsenal in 2023. MLS have previously faced off against Liga MX's All-Stars on two further occasions (2021, 2022).

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"We're thrilled, Liga MX is a close partner of ours. We've been working with them on a number of fronts, including Leagues Cup, but at the heart of it the last two All-Star Games against Liga MX have set a really high bar for intensity and competition on the field, which is what we want and our fans want," Camilo Durana, MLS' Executive Vice President of Properties and Events, told ESPN.

"To bring them back, it gives us a format that's been incredibly successful, [and] provided some intense action. We're thrilled to welcome back Liga MX."

MLS is undefeated against Liga MX after clinching victories against them in the 2021 and 2022 MLS All-Star Games. In recent years, both leagues have collaborated through not only the All-Star Game and Leagues Cup, but also the Campeones Cup.

"We've built a great partnership with Liga MX. Off the field we're sharing best practices, be it commercial and how we develop coaches, youth players, a variety of other fronts. We've also built great new tournaments like Leagues Cup and it's about showcasing the incredible talent and the stars that we have in North America."

Regarding the possibility of facing other leagues, clubs, or a return to the former East vs West format, Durana noted that a match against Liga MX was the most appealing for the MLS All-Star Game.

"We've reviewed a variety of formats and [have had] a lot of debate and discussion," MLS' EVP said. "Given again the momentum of Leagues Cup and the energy it created for both of our leagues, the idea of playing this format, MLS versus Liga MX the week before the start of the [2024 edition of] Leagues Cup, was a great way, we believe, to launch that tournament as well."

Looking ahead, Durana also hinted that, due to the success seen from Leagues Cup, future editions of the MLS All-Star Game could also continue to feature Liga MX.

"It's a great relationship for us. The results we saw from Leagues Cup, from attendance, viewership and [a] general awareness standpoint, were outstanding for us."

Days after the All-Star Game, this summer's Leagues Cup will kick off on July 26. For the second year in a row, the "World Cup style" Leagues Cup tournament will feature all clubs from both Liga MX and MLS. Later this year, reigning MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew will then host Liga MX's 2023-24 Campeon de Campeones winners in the Campeones Cup.

MLS' roster for the All-Star Game will be decided through a fan vote for 12 players, selection by All-Star coach Wilfried Nancy for 12 players, and an additional two names selected by MLS Commissioner Don Garber. Details regarding the 26-man roster for Liga MX are yet to be announced.

Along with the All-Star Game, there will also be a Skills Challenge that is scheduled one day beforehand on July 23. Both leagues each have one win in the Skills Challenge.