Major League Baseball has its Cactus League and Grapefruit League spring training locations. So what does that make the U.S. when it serves as the preseason destination for Mexican soccer clubs – the Stars and Stripes League?
According to Soccer America Daily, 13 of the 18 Liga MX clubs have spent time in the United States this summer, with play running from June 21 to July 10. A total of 11 states have seen action; they include the following:
Kansas City, Kansas (Children’s Mercy Park)
Sandy, Utah (Rio Tinto Stadium)
Minneapolis, Minnesota (Target Field) - Minnesota United 2, Leon 4
Bridgeview, Ill. (Toyota Park) - Atlas 1, Guadalajara 0
Indianapolis, Indiana (IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium) - Indy Eleven 1, C.F. Pachuca 0
Oklahoma City, Okla. (Taft Stadium) - OKC Energy FC 0, Guadalajara 1
Los Angeles, California (Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum) - Tijuana 2, Cruz Azul 1
Denver, Colorado (Sports Authority Field) - Club America 2, Pachuca 0
San Jose, California (Avaya Stadium) - Santos 2, UNAM 1, Copa Socio MX
Commerce City, Colorado (Dick’s Sporting Goods Park) - Guadalajara 1, Morelia 1
Houston, Texas (BBVA Compass Stadium), Cruz Azul 2, Monterrey 1, Copa Socio MX
Chicago, Illinois (Toyota Park) - Leon 1, Club America 1
Harrison, New Jersey (Red Bull Arena) - NY Red Bulls vs. Club America
Dallas, Texas (Cotton Bowl Stadium) - Cruz Azul vs. Santos, Copa Socio MX
Dallas, Texas (Cotton Bowl Stadium) - Monterrey vs. UNAM, Copa Socio MX
El Paso, Texas (Southwest University Park) - Leon vs. Juarez
Yuma, Arizona (Desert Sun Stadium) - Morelia vs. Tijuana
Austin, Texas (Dell Diamond) - Leon vs. Morelia
San Antonio, Texas (Alamodome) Club America vs. Santos
Carson, California (StubHub Center) Veracruz vs. Guadalajara, Super Copa MX
Carson, California (StubHub Center) - Pachuca vs. Tigres
As the Hispanic population of the U.S. continues to grow, and as soccer rises in popularity, count on Liga MX play to make a significant economic impact in the cities it inhabited.
Teams wrapped up their preseason in America shortly after the Fourth of July, and Liga MX kicked off its official season in its home country over the weekend of July 8-10. The biggest match stateside was Guadalajara-Veracruz at StubHub Center in Carson, California, for the Super Copa MX title and a berth in the 2017 Libertadores Cup.
Most of the matches have been between Liga MX clubs, but they have also been hosted by NASL and USL teams. Indy Eleven won the "Clash of Champions" as the spring NASL winner edged Pachuca, Mexico's Torneo Clausura winner, 1-0.