August kickoff

Crew & SKC impress, Chivas & Colorado bounced, USWNT a mess, Turner update, & more

ASN's Brian Sciaretta offers up his thoughts on the Leagues Cup, the Columbus Crew, the USWNT, and some news abroad - of bit likely means Matt Turner is on the move soon. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
August 01, 2023
1:05 PM

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.

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.


Other results


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.


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.

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, 2023 
8:00 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.


Notes abroad


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.  



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