Real Salt Lake to take part in inaugural 'Leagues Cup' between MLS, Mexico


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SANDY — Real Salt Lake is on a tear in Major League Soccer, with three straight wins and five victories in its last seven matches.

But the calendar might get a little more crowded this summer.

On Tuesday, The Athletic was first to report RSL that is one of four MLS clubs that will take part in the inaugural Leagues Cup competition, pitting the sides against four teams from Liga MX in Mexico.

The leagues announced the competition Wednesday morning in a joint statement. Real Salt Lake will host Mexico's defending champion Tigres UANL on July 24 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

"It's always great to play international competitions to compare yourself to other leagues," Real Salt Lake Head Coach Mike Petke said in a statement from the club. "Obviously there is a US-Mexico soccer rivalry that really centers around the national teams, but also in CONCACAF Champions League. This is just another addition to it that could be a huge thing and it’s something that we are taking extremely seriously."

LA Galaxy will host Club Tijuana and Chicago Fire will host Cruz Azul in a pair of quarterfinals July 23. The Houston Dynamo will host Club America on July 24, the same day as RSL-Tigres.

Tickets for RSL’s quarterfinal against Tigres go on sale June 6, with early access for season ticket holders beginning May 30.

"Playing against Tigres is a big opportunity for this club — a big opportunity for this team, especially when you have a chance to win a trophy. We’re looking forward to it," said goalkeeper Nick Rimando in a statement. "This is another chance for us to step up against these big opponents down in Mexico and prove that we can play with them and maybe one day win a championship against them."

Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (18) makes a save during the game against the Houston Dynamo at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo: Spenser Heaps, KSL)
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (18) makes a save during the game against the Houston Dynamo at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo: Spenser Heaps, KSL)

The nascent cup competition would be the third tournament between MLS and Liga MX, joining the CONCACAF Champions League — which features qualifying teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean — as well as the Campeones Cup, the one-off match between the defending MLS Cup champs and the winners of Mexico’s Campeones de Campeones title.

Mexico's Tigres toppled Toronto FC in the inaugural Campeones Cup in Ontario, Canada, while current champs Atlanta United FC will host the winner of Tigres and Club America in a match Aug. 14.

RSL starts an east coast road trip Wednesday when the club takes on the Montreal Impact (5:30 p.m. kickoff) before Saturday's match at New York Red Bulls (5 p.m. kickoff). Both games will be televised on KMYU and can be streamed for free on KSL.com.

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