Campeones Cup 101: Toronto FC host inaugural edition vs. Tigres UANL

A new competition will be born at BMO Field this week.

When Toronto FC welcomes Tigres UANL to town on Wednesday, September 19 it will mark the beginning of a new championship.

Announced on March 13 as part of an inter-league partnership, the Campeones Cup will pit the champions of MLS against the champions of Liga MX in a one-off match.

TFC won the 2017 MLS Cup last December, beating Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 in the final and will represent MLS. Tigres will represent Liga MX after emerging victorious in the 2017 Campeon de Campeones, which pit the champions of the 2016 Apertura against the champions of the 2017 Clausura, where they dispatched C.D. Guadalajara 1-0 in July.

“It is exciting for the two leagues and to take part in the first final between the two,” said Jonathan Osorio, who won the Golden Boot as top scorer in the 2018 Concacaf Champions League, earlier this year. “It is a very special final. Our team is very excited to play against the champions of Liga MX.”

“We want to win,” said Osorio. “For our league, but more for our club, for Toronto; to show this club is at the level of the big clubs in the Americas.  We showed [that] in the Concacaf Champions League. We couldn't win the championship, but we showed there that we are one of the strongest teams in the Americas.”

En route to the final, where they lost against Guadalajara on penalty kicks, Toronto met Mexican opposition three times: Tigres, Club America, and Guadalajara.

Whenever an MLS club encounters a side from Liga MX, the match is viewed on both sides as a measuring stick. When MLS sides got a series of historic results in this year's edition of the Champions League, many wondered if the gap between the two was closing.

The Campeones Cup will add yet another opportunity for such debate to be decided on the pitch when the champions of each league tangle in a one-off, winner takes all, final.

“We believe that the Campeones Cup has the potential to become an important competition between MLS and Liga MX and are happy to host the first one at BMO Field,” said Toronto FC President Bill Manning. “This will be a fun rematch for us after an exciting series with Tigres in the Champions League.”

Tigres and Toronto met in the Quarterfinals in March with TFC advancing on away goals after a 4-4 draw with each side winning at home – 2-1 in Toronto and 3-2 in Monterrey.

“Tigres is a very big club,” said Osorio. “When we met in the Champions League, it was a beautiful match to play because they have very good players, players well-known in the world of football. We want a rematch after losing the Concacaf final. It will be a very good match.”