Crew & SKC impress, Chivas & Colorado bounced, USWNT a mess, Turner update, & more
August 01, 2023
KICKING OFF AUGUST, the Leagues Cup group stages is complete and there were a few more surprises left. The U.S. women’s team is through to the knockouts barely. Meanwhile abroad, more news keeps rolling in for the Americans overseas.
Let’s start with the League Cup.
Crew sell Zelarayan, pound America
It was a massive day for the Columbus Crew. The first bit of news dropped in the midafternoon when it was announced that the club had sold Lucas Zelarayan, the club’s best player and maybe the best player in club history.
Then a few hours later, the Crew hosted Club America in Leagues Cup. Club America came into the game on the hands of a 4-0 blowout win over St. Louis City and is one of the biggest clubs outside of Europe.
The result was that Columbus ran Club America out of the stadium with a 4-1 win played in front of a sold-out crowd that was 50-50. Cucho Hernandez had two goals while American forward Christian Ramirez added another which was assisted by Julian Gressel.
U.S. national team and Olympic hopeful Aidan Morris also had a solid game.
Aidan Morris: raw # for Columbus in 4-1 win vs Club America— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) August 1, 2023
3/6 long balls
8 passes into the final 1/3
4/7 ground duels
- steady outing from Morris in what was a great performance from the Crew
But this was truly a massive result in the history of the Crew.
The question is how long can they be good without Zelarayan? If Diego Rossi comes in from Fenerbahce, as is rumored, they could be very good - and Rossi knows MLS well.
Columbus hosts Minnesota on Friday.
SKC eliminates Chivas
On Monday night, Sporting Kansas City defeated Chivas 1-0 at home in front of a mostly pro-Chivas crowd behind a first half goal from Johnny Russell. Sporting needed a result after both teams fell to Cincinnati.
While the goal margin was slim, SKC controlled the play and Chivas had only a few opportunities to score. It was an impressive result for a Sporting KC team given that Chivas had a perfect nine points from three games to start the Liga MX season and now will leave Leagues Cup without a point from games against two MLS teams.
Jake Davis was very sharp for SKC. A midfielder who is playing more right back these days, he completely shutdown Mexican international Alexis Vega.
Jake Davis: raw # for SKC in a 1-0 win vs Chivas— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) August 1, 2023
3/6 long balls
8/12 ground duels
Strong outing for the young right back from Michigan. Completely took Alexis Vega out of the game
Chicago fell to Pumas on penalties after a 1-1 draw. The penalty shootout went until 10-9. Despite the loss, getting to the shootout still awarded Chicago with the point it needed to win the group (after defeating Minnesota away). Pumas, meanwhile, fell to Minnesota 4-0 and only secured two points with a shootout win. That was enough for Chicago and Minnesota to advance over Pumas.
Meanwhile, Toluca smashed Colorado 4-1. This goal from Pedro Raul was remarkable. As for Colorado, there really isn’t anything to say other than they are just a poor team at the moment.
Colorado was playing well in this game, but then just before HT, Pedro Raul hits this magnificent strike to give Toluca a 1-0 lead— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) August 1, 2023
This is well worth a watch pic.twitter.com/4L0yGENBBc
Leagues Cup thoughts
The tournament has been fun, but the knockouts will be more of a test. Teams can smell the next round and more is on the line. Games won’t be as easy to win.
There are some good games ahead. I am particularly interested in the Orlando vs. Inter Miami game in a bigger test for Lionel Messi and friends who will now take their show on the road.
I was on the conference call with Orlando coach Oscar Pareja and I asked him about American forward Duncan McGuire. McGuire has 10 goals this season in under 1000 minutes between the Leagues Cup and MLS games. He has scored goals in his last three games and has six goals in his last nine games. He’s had a big rookie season and I asked Pareja about his development.
“Duncan is good proof of the talent that America has - not just in the academy system, which is already a successful process, but also in college who are coming through the draft who still put talent in the league,” Pareja said. “Duncan's maturity and professionalism is a good testimony to it. We're happy with him. I think he is growing. He understands that he has a long way to go still. What he has achieved so far is a good first step, but this is about being consistent. But Duncan has the personality to absorb that. We're proud and we know our fans are proud of Duncan too. We are hoping he continues with his success.”
Also in this round, LAFC and Pachuca will get involved after both had byes into the knockout stages. It will be telling to see what LAFC shows up? The 2022 Champions, or the team that lost to Leon in the Champions League final and has struggled since then. Club Juarez will be their opponent.
Atlas plays the New England Revolution on Thursday night, and Bruce Arena could be suspended due to an investigation of inappropriate comments. That was announced by MLS today.
As always, we have to let the facts come out.... pic.twitter.com/TaEFcOvXxK— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) August 1, 2023
Charlotte vs. Cruz Azul is also an interesting matchup as Charlotte impressed, particularly with a blowout win over Necaxa in the group stage.
Monterrey is the favorite now after two impressive wins in the group stage against Real Salt Lake and Seattle. But a trip to Portland is never easy.
Round of 32 set
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
8:00 p.m. ET: Inter Miami CF vs Orlando City SC
8:00 p.m. CT (9:00 p.m. ET): Mazatlán FC vs FC Dallas
8:00 p.m. CT (9:00 p.m. ET): C.F. Pachuca vs Houston Dynamo FC
7:30 p.m. PT (10:30 p.m. ET): LAFC vs FC Juarez
Thursday, August 3, 2023
8:00 p.m. ET: Atlas FC vs New England Revolution
8:00 p.m. ET: Philadelphia Union vs DC United
8:00 p.m. ET: Pumas vs Querétaro
8:00 p.m. ET: New York Red Bulls vs NYCFC
7:30 p.m. CT (8:30 p.m. ET): Charlotte FC vs Cruz Azul
8:30 p.m. MT (10:30 p.m. ET): León vs Real Salt Lake
Friday, August 4, 20238:00 p.m. ET: Columbus Crew vs Minnesota United
8:00 p.m. ET: FC Cincinnati vs Nashville SC
7:00 p.m. CT (8:00 p.m. ET): Chicago Fire vs. Club America
8:00 p.m CT (9:00 p.m ET) Toluca vs Sporting Kansas City
7:00 p.m. PT (10:00 p.m. ET): Monterrey vs. Portland Timbers
7:30 p.m. PT (10:30 p.m. ET): Tigres vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
USWNT into the knockouts
The United States women are into the knockouts of the World Cup after a 0-0 draw with Portland. I wish ASN could cover the women’s game more, but since our women’s reporter left during COVID, resources have been thin.
I will say that this team is not in a good place and much of what Vlatko Andonovski is trying isn’t working.
Rose Lavelle was impressive off the bench against the Dutch but then when given a start against Portugal, fell short. Lindsey Horan is playing the best on the team and while she struggled against Portugal offensively, she was still strong defensively.
The problem is that offensively, this team has no answers, and it puts a strain on the defense.
The team is less than an inch from going home. If Portugal's shot in stoppage time is an inch to the center, they win. Instead, it hit the post. And this is a Portuguese team in its first World Cup. The USWNT came into the game against Portugal with a record of 10-0 with a combined score of 39-0.
But the U.S. has been poor offensively. Things can change quickly but the U.S. team is going to be facing a highly motivated Swedish team next.
FC Heidenheim drew Pafos FC in a friendly which Lennard Maloney started. Many are predicting a tough season for newly promoted Heidenheim in the Bundesliga.
Cameron Carter-Vickers returned from surgery and started for Celtic against Athletic Bilbao (game still ongoing at the time of this writing.
Matt Turner is probably going to be on the move soon with Arsenal landing David Raya. Overall, this is a good thing for Turner that he has a real reason to leave. Getting forced out the door where you’re not in the plans only accelerates a needed move. There have been reports that Nottingham Forest is looking into Turner.