A veteran of Liga MX battles, Felipe Mora has long looked forward to Leagues Cup


Leagues Cup is off and running. The Portland Timbers defeated the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday and quickly turn their focus towards the next challenge: a Liga MX side. On Wednesday, the Timbers play host to Mexico’s Tigres UANL, the reigning Liga MX champions (8pm PT, TICKETS, Free on Apple TV).

Tigres, who call San Nicolas De Los Garza, a neighborhood in northern Monterrey home, have been a Mexican top-flight club since 1960, and they hold the distinction of becoming Liga MX champions for an eighth time earlier this year.

Timbers forward Felipe Mora spent two-and-a-half years playing in Liga MX, suiting up for two of Mexico’s “Big Four” – CD Cruz Azul and Club Universidad (Pumas). He scored 33 goals across all competitions during his time in Liga MX, including some memorable moments against Tigres.

“The truth is, Tigres is a great club and has a squad with a lot of hierarchy,” Mora said. “I think that they will be a great rival to face.

“I have good memories facing Tigres,” he added. “I remember a quarterfinal [against Tigres] with Pumas, where I scored in Nuevo Leon and also in C.U.”

Mora scored four goals against Tigres, twice in Copa MX and twice in Liga MX playoffs.

“To be honest it was an incredible nearly three years in Mexico, it was my first country abroad and I left many great friendships there,” Mora says. “Liga MX is very passionate; you arrive at the stadiums and there are loads of people outside waiting for you and they sing all game long.”

A Chilean international, Mora brought his goal-scoring ways to the Timbers in 2020, and had two standout seasons, collecting a total of 19 goals and seven assists while helping the club win the MLS is Back Tournament in 2020 and the MLS Western Conference Championship in 2021.

“As a family, we are very happy to be here in this city,” Mora says. “It took a bit to adjust due to the language barrier, but the club has been great with us from the first day we arrived in Portland so we’re very calm and content here.”

The last year, however, has been a tough one for the 29-year-old, dealing with long-term injuries.

“I think [2022] was the hardest year of my career,” Mora says. “I enjoy being on the field with my teammates. But my family has been my biggest support during this time. My wife Maria Jesus and my sons Felipe and Mariano were fundamental in my recovery.”


After a long recovery, Mora made his anticipated return to the field in late June and has had his eyes on Leagues Cup since schedules were first announced in January.

“When you speak about Liga MX against MLS, there’s a rivalry there,” said Mora. “It’ll be a great tournament; one I hope to enjoy very much.”

And Mora’s Leagues Cup campaign is already off to a strong start. He came off the bench on Saturday and scored a goal in a 2-0 victory over the Earthquakes. It was his first goal in over a year and, understanding his journey back to the field, it was an emotional moment for Mora – surrounded by his teammates.

“With Portland I want to achieve great things,” Mora says. “I’m very motivated to do so, the supporters deserve championships because our fans are absolutely incredible, they fill the stadium and are always behind us.”