The inaugural Leagues Cup that, at the start, featured every team from MLS and Liga MX has come to a close, and league commissioner Don Garber was content with how the competition went.
The 2023 Leagues Cup began and ended in similar fashion: Inter Miami and Lionel Messi claiming victory, as the Argentine spearheaded a new age of soccer in North America.
It couldn’t have gone down any better for Garber, MLS and Apple TV as there are now over one million subscribers to MLS Season Pass, as the world saw Messi, with DeAndre Yedlin, lift the trophy at GEODIS Park after a month full of thrilling and dramatic games.
“So far, in year one, a smashing success,” Garber said to ESPN’s Luis Miguel Echegaray when asked about Leagues Cup ahead of the final.
“You think about the fact that there is no other league anywhere in the world that has pitted two border-connected, professional soccer leagues together in a competition to sort of determine who really is the king of the road here.”
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Many who watched several games in the tournament were enthralled by the end-to-end action that didn’t feature extra-time if two teams were tied after regulation, but instead going straight to a penalty shootout.
“There have been some unbelievable matches. There’s been enormous excitement, and it’s just Year 1, so imagine what our future holds,” he said.
But while the tournament was a huge success for Garber and MLS, Liga MX teams will have felt exhausted after traveling across the US and playing every game away from home. MLS sides have the advantage of hosting games, while the Mexican clubs were the away side.
“Ultimately these are all things that we’re going to do in the offseason and sit down with my counterpart, [Liga MX president] Mikel Arriola, and think about what the future is going to hold for us,” said Garber.
In the meantime, MLS regular season play is back as there are several key matchups in Matchday 27, such as Atlanta United taking on Seattle Sounders and Columbus Crew battling against FC Cincinnati.
The Lionel Messi era is officially underway – watch live as history unfolds with MLS Season Pass. Click here to subscribe!