Matias Almeyda has yet to manage a game in Major League Soccer but is already giving plenty of praise to his new league.
The former Chivas manager and current San Jose Earthquakes boss believes that both MLS and Liga MX sides should be included in the Copa Libertadores tournament, according to ESPN. Copa Libertadores is CONMEBOL’s most prestigious club competition which is heading into its 59th year.
The tournament kicks off with 47 teams and eventually works its way down to a two-legged final between two South American clubs. The eventual winner earns a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup and the Recopa Sudamericana.
“Yes, [MLS teams] should be there because if the Champions [League] is played in all of Europe, then the Copa Libertadores should be played by all of America,” Almeyda said. “It would be more complete to have one champion for America, instead of two.”
“MLS was close in 2018 until we got hold of them with Chivas and won,” Almeyda said. “The dynamic changed and it will continue to change. Toronto defeated America, won against Tigres and so it was an improvement. Toronto couldn’t manage to win against a great team in Chivas, but before it had defeated other big teams.”
Almeyda lifted the 2018 Concacaf Champions League with Chivas before taking the position in San Jose, a job which definitely poses challenges after the Quakes finished bottom of MLS in 2018.
Although the move for both MLS and Liga MX may not happen in the near future, it is definitely something for Garber and fellow MLS representatives to consider in the long run.
“What this league gives is that there isn’t an obvious candidate,” Almeyda said. “You look at all the teams and you can’t say that this or that one will be champion.
“In Mexico, you have four or five teams that could be [champion] and will fight,” he continued. “In Spain you have two; in Italy you have one right now; in England you have three of four; in Germany two or three; Argentina there are two; in Uruguay there are two and in France one.”
Almeyda’s reign as Earthquakes boss kicks off on March 2nd against Montreal.