Las Vegas will get a massive chance to show its soccer spirit when the Leagues Cup championship game is played at Sam Boyd Stadium on Wednesday.
The game, which concludes an eight-team tournament that began in July, starts at 7:30 p.m. and features defending Liga MX champions Tigres UANL against fellow Mexican side Cruz Azul. The event began with four Liga MX and four Major League Soccer teams playing head-to-head, but only one MLS club, the LA Galaxy, advanced to the second round.
The Galaxy lost 2-1 in the semifinals to Cruz Azul to set up the all-Liga MX final.
The game gives the city the opportunity to showcase its potential as a soccer market while two competing parties attempt to bring an MLS expansion team to town. The Renaissance Companies Inc. is working with city officials to build a soccer-specific stadium downtown that could house a club. Golden Knights owner Bill Foley also is seeking an expansion team.
The two sides face competition from markets such as Sacramento, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; Indianapolis; San Diego; Phoenix; and Raleigh, North Carolina. MLS has 28 franchises and plans to expand to 30.
Commissioner Don Garber said in July that the atmosphere for the Leagues Cup final could have some influence on the league’s decision. An MLS spokesperson described ticket sales as “very good, very strong” Tuesday afternoon, but there were still seats available at leaguescup.com/tickets.
“I do think that having a good showing and having a passionate crowd, having a lot of media interest, having corporate interest, seeing a lot of energy and activity, not just from people here but even some activity and excitement from folks coming from different parts of the world, would be indicators,” Garber said. “That being said, we have been focused on this market for quite some time. I’m not sure that it will drive that decision, but certainly it’s something that will matter.”
Leagues Cup Final
What: Tigres UANL vs. Cruz Azul
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium
When: 7:30 p.m.