Chivas USA finds help in (no surprise) Colombia, signs Correa


Once, when asked about why so many Colombians find there way to Major League Soccer, I responded “because the checks don’t bounce.”

That’s not the whole story. The United States is a great place to play and offers huge lifestyle incentives. And from MLS’s point of view, when you’re trying to recruit somebody from Colombia, you’re talking about a league with enough quality to produce good players but not enough exposure to launch them straight to Europe.

As Zoé would say, “click-click, match-match?”1

On Tuesday, those factors came together once more, with Chivas USA dipping into the Colombian league to sign 19-year-old José Erick Correa. The striker led his team in scoring before coming north, potting six goals in 12 matches for Boyacá Chico. In 35 career matches for the Tunja-based club, Correa’s scored 12 times.

You can see a bit of him here, scoring Boyacá’s first and fourth goals:

Did you catch the MLS mention? The video was uploaded on April 15, so obviously, the Colombians were way ahead of us on this one.

At 6’1″, 190, this looks like the type of through-the-middle attacker that could free up Alejandro Moreno, though it’s hard to say too much about these types of things before the kid’s played a minute.

Still, he looks promising. Correa’s currently with the national team in Bogotá, and although José Pekerman hasn’t been able to call in a full squad, it’s still a sign Correa has gotten on his radar (something, as we’ve seen with Fredy Montero, is not easy to do with Colombia).

This move might spark questions about Juan Pablo Angel’s health (concussion-related problems) or Chivas USA’s feelings about rookie Casey Townsend, but even if those two were clicking, the team needed depth. With only four goals in six games, you can’t blame the team for wanting help.

It’s unclear when that help will arrive, but when it does, Correa will be the third Colombian on Chivas USA’s roster and the 32nd MLS’s overall. It’s a huge continent that’s helped bolster the league’s talent pool, one you can’t help but wonder positively influenced the decision of such a young player.

1 – Any takers on the reference? Recent film. Independent, but with a prominent director and lead.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.