If the courtship between North America’s top two soccer leagues leads to any serious proposals in the years to come, this week might be remembered as the one in which the romance became serious.
Major League Soccer, with 27 teams in the U.S. and Canada, and Liga MX, with 18 teams in Mexico, have competed in numerous competitions over the years — most of which ended with Mexico winning. But this week’s interleague activities at Banc of California Stadium, which kicked off with Tuesday’s skills challenge and concluded Wednesday with the first MLS-Liga MX All-Star game, is both the largest and most intimate collaboration between the two. The MLS All-Stars won on penalty kicks after the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Robert Gauthier has been with the Los Angeles Times since 1994. He has covered international and national stories, including Middle East conflicts in Iraq and Lebanon and catastrophes such as the Sept. 11 attack in New York and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. His assignments also include sporting events such as the Olympic Games, Super Bowls and NBA championships. Gauthier was the photographer for a story detailing the failings of a Los Angeles public hospital; the project won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for public service. Other awards include the Robert F. Kennedy, World Press, Pictures of the Year and Sigma Delta Chi. Before The Times, Gauthier worked at the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Escondido Times-Advocate and the Bernardo News in San Diego County, his hometown.