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Manchester United on to EFL Cup final despite loss to Hull City

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Manchester United saw its 17-match unbeaten run snapped, but it didn’t much matter as Paul Pogba‘s 66th-minute goal sent the Red Devils to Wembley for the EFL Cup final with a 3-2 aggregate win over Hull City.

United fell 2-1 in the second leg at the KCOM Stadium, but Pogba’s follow-up strike which equalized the score at 1-1 put United through after a 2-0 win in the first leg. Hull City’s Oumar Niasse, who just arrived on loan from Everton 13 days prior, was bright in the match and scored the winner for the Tigers, but it wasn’t enough to keep them from elimination.

Jose Mourinho began the match with clear defensive tactics to protect the lead on the road, but Hull broke through 35 minutes in when referee Jon Moss penalized Marcos Rojo for a pair of fouls in the box on a corner, having tugged the shirt of Harry Maguire and also pushed/tripped Niasse. Tom Huddlestone powerfully buried the spot-kick into the lower left-hand corner, and put Hull up 1-0.

Following the goal, Manchester United switched to a more attacking intent, and Pogba put them back level after the hour mark as he came streaking into the box and pounced on a loose ball. Jose Mourinho was angered during the match when Chris Smalling appeared to be fouled by Huddlestone in the box with 20 minutes to go, but the referee ignored the calls for a Manchester United penalty.

With Hull fighting for their Cup lives down the stretch, they grabbed the match victory to end United’s unbeaten run with the Niasse goal five minutes from full time, but it was too little too late to earn a spot in the final at Wembley Stadium. They will take on Southampton in the EFL Cup final on February 26th.

Report: USMNT’s Arriola drawing transfer interest abroad, in MLS

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Paul Arriola’s motor was constantly running as the United States men’s national team claimed its sixth Gold Cup title, and it could drive him all the way from Club Tijuana to Europe or a prime spot on an MLS roster.

There’s a snag, though.

[ MORE: Everton wins Europa opener ]

Arriola is reportedly wanted by Real Salt Lake and clubs in both the Netherlands and Portugal, but the LA Galaxy has what Goal.com describes a “dubious homegrown player” claim on Arriola, who participated in a minimal of practices with the Galaxy when he was younger.

As you’ll see below, there isn’t much “homegrown” about it and, to its critics, it is peak MLS monopolized tomfoolery. Here’s how Goal describes it:

“He was already a U.S. youth national team player when he traveled the 120 miles from Chula Vista to take part in a handful of training sessions with the LA Galaxy academy and eventually the Galaxy first team.

“The Galaxy are believed to hold a homegrown player claim on Arriola, and would have the right of first refusal on making Arriola an offer if he comes to MLS. The Galaxy’s current salary-cap situation might not allow them to make a serious bid for Arriola.”

But… here’s how the Galaxy described his choosing to sign for TJ instead of a pro deal from LA in 2013:

“It’s a little disappointing,” Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “He went through our system, we offered him a contract and he decided to move on and go somewhere else. But that’s going to happen. It’s something that has happened before, and it’s something that will happen again.”

Arriola’s response in the same article? “I thank the Galaxy for giving me a wonderful opportunity to train with their first team and be a part of their first team which really taught me a lot.” That doesn’t read as much like he “went through their system.” He played in at least one U-18 game, debuting in October 2012, did more training with TJ in December 2012, and signed for the Mexican side in May 2013.

Should that qualify him as Homegrown?

https://www.transfermarkt.com/paul-arriola/leistungsdaten/spieler/189876

Did Arriola spent significant time with LA, or is it possible the Galaxy might reap rewards from having an already established youth national teamer to practice when he was a kid? Whether you’re okay with that or not, consider that it encourages clubs to pilfer rights without actually registering or training the player.

Not to mention there is no guarantee that playing in the Netherlands or Portugal will be better for his development than MLS. Benfica or Ajax and potential action in European tournaments? Maybe. NAC Breda or Tondela? Maybe not.

Nevermind the quagmire that is American youth soccer clubs’ not earning money from transfer fees, the Arriola drama seems baseless. We don’t know the Galaxy will hold the player hostage, but they would actually be depriving MLS of a talent, as LA would theoretically get nothing should TJ sell him to a European club.

In any event, check out Arriola’s use chart from Tijuana and you’ll see why he’s valued by Bruce Arena as well as his suitors. He’s a Swiss Army Knife. Here’s hoping Tinseltown doesn’t stop him from a proper next step (assuming he’s ready to leave Liga MX).