Though the second finalist won’t be determined until tomorrow, Toluca’s Tuesday night win over Alajuelense in CONCACAF Champions League’s semifinals ensures recent history will repeat itself. While this year’s final won’t be another Monterrey-Santos Laguna affair, the Red Devils’ outset of the Costa Ricans means two Liga MX teams will contest CONCACAF’s title for the fourth time in five years, with no other federation having claimed the region’s crown since the competition changed format in 2008.
On Tuesday, up 1-0 after their victory in Costa Rica last week, Toluca got goals from Carlos Esquivel and Juan Manuel Salgueiro, recovering from the Erizos’ early challenge to post an easy 2-0 (3-0, aggregate) victory. The two-time confederation champions now await the winner of Tijuana-Cruz Azul, with Xolos having earned a 1-0 lead last week at Estadio Caliente.
Regardless of what happens on that side of the draw, Toluca’s win guarantees Mexico’s monopoly of Champions League will continue. For the ninth straight tournament — a time that extends back to the old Champions Cup — a Mexican team will be crowned champions. Were it not for Real Salt Lake’s appearance in the 2010-11 finals, each finalist since the tournament’s redesign would have been Mexican, with 16 of the competition’s 24 semifinalists having hailed from Mexico’s league.
Go back further, and the picture is only slightly more diverse. Since Major League Soccer came into existence in 1996, three different federations have claimed CONCACAF’s title, but only Mexico has held the crown since 2006. In 2005, Saprissa made it back-to-back titles for Costa Rica, with Alajuelense having won the previous year. Slightly before that, MLS claimed this only titles with D.C. United (1998) and LA Galaxy (2000) each winning one title.
Tomorrow, Cruz Azul will try to turn around its one-goal deficit against visiting Tijuana, but the story of Mexico’s dominance has already been written. In 2014, the league’s hegemony continues, with the league set to claim a 30th CONCACAF title.
While Jose Mourinho was lamenting his team’s poor performance at the John Smith’s Stadium, his counterpart was thrilled with the latest step in its amazing journey.
Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner, the ex-USMNT player, watched his team top Manchester United 2-1 on Saturday for its first win over the Red Devils in 65 years.
[ MORE: Recap | Mourinho reacts ]
As proud as he’s ever been, the Town manager spoke after the win. From the BBC:
“If this is our moment, we have to grab it, which is what the players did. Small Huddersfield have beaten Man Utd and it one of the proudest moments in my managerial career.
“It’s another chapter in the fairytale we started nearly two years ago. It has shown everything is possible in football.”
The win probably felt extra nice for goal scorer Aaron Mooy, who rose to prominence on loan from Man City.
The attempts were nearly even. The finishing was anything but.
The United States fell 4-1 to England on Saturday at the U-17 World Cup quarterfinals in India.
[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to 1st loss ]
Captain Josh Sargent scored the lone United States goal at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, pulling the Baby Yanks within two goals before Liverpool man Rhian Brewster completed his hat trick with a stoppage time penalty.
Here’s Sargent’s goal:
Morgan Gibbs-White of Wolverhampton scored England’s other goal.
Ajax defender Sergio Dest took a red card in that added time, ensuing the U.S. would finish its World Cup with 10 men.
The U.S. took 20 of the matches 39 shot attempts, but England put 12 on target compared to the Americans’ four.
We haven’t heard a lot of scornful Jose Mourinho this season, and that changed Saturday.
Manchester United could not recover from a lackluster first half at the John Smith’s Stadium, only getting a Marcus Rashford goal in a failed comeback bid and 2-1 loss to Huddersfield Town.
[ RECAP: Town 2-1 Man Utd ]
It was the first time United has lost this season, and it’s first loss to Town since 1952. To say Mourinho was displeased would be an understatement, as United dipped five points behind leaders Man City.
“I was surprised by our performance, I was not expecting that. The team that started with emotion, aggression, intensity and desire, the team that played the game of their lives was the team that won,” Mourinho said. “Maybe in the second half we wanted it a little more and maybe we could get a draw, but I honestly think we deserved the punishment of the defeat.”
After first saying he wanted to evaluate the players, and shy away from criticizing them in the media, Mourinho had a nugget to share which really bothered him. From the BBC:
“I heard Ander Herrera in the flash interviews said the attitude and desire was poor, oh my God. When a player thinks that then I think all players should go to the press conference and explain why because I can’t explain.”
The man was seething, and United was honestly second best on the day. That must drive Mourinho nuts, as Aaron Mooy and Co. drove hard all day and United looked like a team expecting an easy win.
- No shots on target for Palace
- Out attempts NUFC
- Merino nabs winner off corner
Mikel Merino scored his first goal since 2015, leading Newcastle United to another win.
The Magpies have lost just once since dropping their first two matches of the season, and now sit sixth after a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
Stoke and West Ham losses keep Palace five points shy of safety, their three points coming last week versus Chelsea.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
There was pace but sloppiness to the opening 20 minutes, with a card handed out to Florian Lejeune for a step on the heel of ex-Newcastle star Andros Townsend.
Rob Elliot rescued a ball through the six as Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp combined in the 24th minute.
Matt Ritchie earned the Magpies a corner kick with a shot partially blocked by Mamadou Sakho.
Ex-Magpie midfielder Yohan Cabaye looked to have given his former team a man advantage with a scissor tackle on DeAndre Yedlin, but there was only a yellow to be found.
Christian Atsu dizzied Joel Ward to tempt the net, but fired his shot off the outside of the goal.
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
A very haphazard second half for Newcastle allowed Palace to adventure a bit, and Andros Townsend very nearly scored with a left-footed shot in the 65th minute.
Mohamed Diame subbed into the game and made room to zip a shot that Julian Speroni dove to catch. It was the first shot on target of the match.
Then Shelvey forced Speroni into a parried save in the 74th minute.
Newcastle kept piling on the pressure, but it was Patrick Van Aanholt who couldn’t get on the end of sub Ruben Loftus-Cheek‘s invitation to the back post.
That’s when the 21-year-old Merino, recently made permanent from Borussia Dortmund, out-leapt James MacArthur to nod Matt Ritchie’s corner kick beyond Speroni. 1-0, 86′.