NEW YORK RED BULLS 0 (0) GUADALAJARA 0 (1)
Rundown begins with a rare match report as we found out which two teams will contest the CONCACAF Champions League Final. New York Red Bulls welcomed Guadalajara, known as Chivas, of Mexico to the Red Bull Arena with hopes of overturning Chivas first leg lead and they were buoyed by their own home form, which has seen them previously pick up two wins in two league games at their home stadium.
Sadly New York Red Bulls were unable to breach a solid Chivas back line, despite having 19 shots on goal, of which eight were on target, Red Bulls couldn’t notch the goal they needed to draw level with Guadalajara, only being able to attain a scoreless draw and bowing out of the tournament 1 – 0 on aggregate.
More than 23,000 were on hand to witness Red Bulls applying pressure to Chivas, especially in the first half hour but Rodolfo Cota’s goal led a charmed life and the stopper made nine saves in total. It was a professional job done by Chivas, who certainly weren’t in a commanding lead following the first leg. Much as over in the United Kingdom this week in the game featuring Manchester City and Liverpool, momentum is key and had New York got back on terms you would had fancied them to go on and progress. It was a performance the team could be proud of, despite the outcome.
“It’s almost impossible, the way the game played out. It’s almost impossible that we can somehow not find a way to score a goal and find a way to be dangerous around the goal all night long, but not make that final play,” head coach Jesse Marsch said after the game.
“It’s obviously disappointing, but I told the team after the game that I was very proud of them, very proud of them. I thought they established themselves in the series as the better team, a very good team. And that this group has a really bright future and I told them I’d go down swinging with them any day, any day. It’s a bitter pill to swallow right now, we had our hopes very high that we could push it over the hump and make a run at this all the way to the end. It hurts to fall short, but we’ll use it the right way.”
CLUB AMERICA 1 (2) TORONTO FC 1 (4)
Key for this game was for Club América to make a fast start, much like Manchester City in the aforementioned European tie. A goal early doors for the Liga MX side would have ramped up the pressure on the MLS Cup holders but it was the Canadians who made the better start, gabbing themselves an early goal as substitute Tosaint Ricketts tangled with William Da Silva and the ball trickled across the box for Jonathan Osorio to open the scoring.
Tosaint Ricketts had come on for Jozy Altidore, who was taken off injured before the ten-minute mark. Eriq Zavaleta’s blushes were spared as an own goal was chalked off for an offside decision. It took as long as extra time in the second half for Chivas to get on the scoresheet, Michael Bradley brought down Oribe Peralta in the penalty box to allow Andres Uribe to tuck away. Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono dived the correct way but couldn’t get a hand to the shot, after making six good saves throughout the match he deserved a clean sheet.
The 4-2 aggregate win means Toronto will face CD Guadalajara in the final starting next week. Toronto FC are only the third MLS team in history to reach CONCACAF Champions League final and will be at home in the first leg on April 17th (as they were in the semi-final) before travelling to Guadalajara for the second leg on April 25th.
ALEXI GOMEZ IS A LOAN LOON
Minnesota United FC have brought in Alexi Gomez on season-long loan from Club Universitario de Deportes with an option to buy, the club have announced. The versatile 25-year-old, who can play in midfield or defence, will join the Loons pending receipt of his P1 Visa and ITC and will occupy an international spot in the Minnesota squad.
“We are delighted to bring a player of Alexi’s quality to the club,” MNUFC coach Adrian Heath said in a club statement. “He’s a very dynamic player, he’s an incredible server of the ball on set pieces and he’s composed on the ball. He’s versatile, he’s a player who can play four different positions on the field. It’s a no-brainer for us. I know he’s excited to be here and we are all looking forward to getting to work with him.”
Gomez is left-footed and previously spent three months on loan with Atlas FC during the Liga MX Clausura campaign. The Peruvian international started his career with CD Leon de Huanuco in Peru in 2012 before moving to Universitario a year later. Following a brief spell with IF Brommapojkarna in Sweden in 2015 and with CD San Luis de Quillota in Chile, Gomez returned to Peru in 2016, notably scoring 12 goals in 33 games for Universitario in 2017. He has amassed five international caps for Peru after representing his country at the U-20 level.
POTENTIAL NEW INVESTOR FOR DC UNITED
With a new stadium on the way, it’s a good time to DC United to add a new investor as a potential owner has emerged. Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick has revealed that billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong is close to a deal to invest in D.C. United in an agreement that would value the club at a league-high $500 million.
Soon-Shiong is considering purchasing the 78 percent stake held by Erick Thohir and the Washington Post’s Steven Goff concurs that Thohir has been seeking to sell for over a year. Patrick Soon-Shiong already owns and share of the Los Angeles Lakers and would be looking to involve Jason Levien, who owns part of Swansea City. Bloomberg’s report adds that they would be seeking additional investors in future.
Any Other Business…
Grant Wahl reports that D.C. United have been in contact with agent Mino Raiola about Mario Balotelli, who is out of contract with Nice in the summer. Expect competition from top European sides such as Napoli… Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez, who has 24 goals in his first 25 games for the Five Stripes, left training this week with his left arm in an aircast after colliding with a teammate.
Thank you for reading the MLS Rundown, a twice-weekly column focused on news, rumours and transfers. If you would like to connect with the writer, please do so on twitter @CT_MLS