Author: Richard Farley

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CONCACAF Champions League Roundup: Champions fall in Panama; Sporting slips at Estelí

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Portland’s 2,500-mile trek from Boston to Guyana did not go unrewarded. On a discolored ground in Providence, Guyana, the Timbers made a resounding CONCACAF Champions League debut, defeating Alpha United, 4-1.

The game played to the expectations that have grown from MLS’s meetings with the regions’ minnows. While trips to Costa Rica, Honduras, and, of course, Mexico can still haunt U.S. and Canadian teams, visits to the regions’ less-established leagues tend to be more forgiving.

Coming off a loss last week to Olimpia, United proved just as accommodating to their MLS guests. Steve Zakuani scored his first of the season in the 18th minute, while Maxmiliano Urruti doubled the advantage in the 34th. Through a wonderful free kick from Barbosa Murilo pulled the home side within one moments before the break, second half goals from Fanendo Adi and Alvas Powell gave Portland the lopsided result.

Despite the convincing performance, the Timbers merely stayed on par. The real challenge in Group 5 will be Olimpia, who also have three points after one match. Where the winner of the teams’ head-to-head battles will likely reach the quarterfinals, it’s imperative to get three points from Alpha United.

Club América 6-1 Bayamón FC

Even without Raul Jiménez in tow, Club América remain one of the tournament favorites, a fact they hammered home at a largely empty Estadio Azteca. With goals in the sixth (Moisés Velasco), 12th (Michael Arroyo), 14th (Ventura Alvarado), and 20th (Martín Zuñiga) minutes, Antonio Mohammed’s teamtook advantage of a shaky Adrian Krul, putting the match away before the Puerto Ricans had a chance to settle.

Gil Burón’s goal just before halftime sent América into intermission up 5-0, though Nicholas Walker would pull Bayamón within four on the hour. In stoppage time, Zuñiga’s second of the game make it 6-1 – Bayamón’s second straight five-goal loss.

Real Estelí 1-1 Sporting Kansas City

A potential setback saw MLS’s champions drop points in Nicaragua, failing to take advantage of the same slip from Saprissa a week ago. Now Sporting may need to take four points from the Costa Ricans to guarantee a knockout round return.

Estelí broke through early, with a sixth minute save from Jon Kempin deflecting off midfielder Jorge Claros and in for an own goal. Ten minutes later, Peter Vermes’ side responded, with a free kick buried by Toni making it 1-1.

Estelí would go on to outshoot Sporting 11-5 on the night, prompting Vermes to eventually call on Benny Feilhaber and Dom Dwyer to spark the attack. Ultimately, neither team was able to break through, leaving both sides reason to rue the final score at the Estadio Independencia.

Chorrillo 1-0 Cruz Azul

The upset of the night saw the tournament’s defending champions give Panama’s Chorrillo its first points in Champions League, simultaneously ruining La Maquina’s perfect record (6-0-0) against Panamanian sides. Putting home the rebound of a 70th minute penalty kick, Justin Arboleda authored Chorrillo’s little piece of history, leaving the holders bottom of their group through two matches.

Luis Fernando Tena’s team also slipped up last week, drawing at home to Costa Rica’s Alajuelense. Tuesday’s performance offered more of the same, with the Cementeros allowing the hosts to have the better of play early on.

Though the holders slowly started exerting more control, attempts by Marco Fabián, Fausto Pinto, and Gerrado Torrado failed to come good, leaving Chorrillo within a whistle of their history-making upset.

In the 69th minute, that whistle finally came, putting the pressure on goalkeeper José de Jesús Corona to keep his team even. After saving the initial try, however, Corona couldn’t prevent Arboleda from converting the rebound, leaving Cruz Azul with one point through two matches.

Where in the world is Juan Agudelo? “Munich” may soon be the answer


Perhaps Juan Agudelo was hoping for a better landing spot after things didn’t work out with Stoke City, but with the European season upon us, it’s time for the former New York Red Bull, Chivas USA, and New England Revolution striker to get back on the field. That may be why the 21-year-old’s name has been connected with one of the most recognizable names in German soccer, albeit one that sits in the second division.

1860 Munich, former home to Fabian Johnson and current employer of Bobby Wood, is reportedly in search of two strikers, with Agudelo’s name coming up in a recent German report. Though were unable to get a confirmation from Agudelo’s agent, sources told the German outlet that the 18-time U.S. international is among the names being considered by the Sixty’ers.

1860 is a 154-year-old club that won a Bundesliga title in 1966, a honor complemented by the club’s two German Cup triumphs. Over the last 10 years, however, the Lions have been in the second division, with the club finishing no higher than seventh since 2007.

Though the potential move will surely spark a debate amongst MLS fans about Agudelo’s desire to play in Europe, the enthusiasm shows in their report reminds you of how he’s already accomplished. Because he broke through internationally (and scored his first U.S. goal) at 17, it seems like Agudelo’s been around forever, but barely out of his teens, the Colombia-born American remains on the fringes of Jurgen Klinsmann’s main squad. After his short spell with Holland’s FC Utrecht last season, Agudelo has the kind of early European experience many prospects will never see, acquitting himself well for somebody so young.

Not to mention Agudelo secured a more to England, albeit one that was eventually cancelled. And, as notes, the guy has a YouTube goal that’s received over 900,000 hits:

It’s not the most-balanced picture of Agudelo, but it’s not an inaccurate one, either. There are plenty of reasons a team like 1860 Munich would roll these dice, particularly given he’s on a free transfer.

Between his MLS travels and his trouble building on early national team promise, we sometimes forget: Agudelo still has a long way to go. If he can settle at a club like 1860 Munich, Agudelo could yet fulfill fans’ lofty expectations.

Moor’s season-ending injury sends Rapids’ defense into upheaval

Colorado Rapids v Philadelphia Union
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The worst seemed possible when Colorado captain Drew Moor left Sunday’s game with an apparent knee injury. Today, those suspicious were confirmed. According to the club, the 30-year-old central defender will miss the rest of the season, a torn anterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus in Moor’s knee costing the Rapids their best defender.

The injury occurred 12 minutes into Sunday’s game at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., leaving Moor unable to exit the field under his own power.

“It’s hard to remember exactly what happened,” Moor said, according to the Rapids’ website. “I just remember running full speed one way, and cutting really hard when [Luis] Silva cut in. My right leg was planted pretty hard and when I opened up to reach back for the ball, my right leg didn’t move and all the weight just went into my knee. It was almost as if, for a split second, I could feel my knee turn into jelly.”

The injury leaves Pablo Mastroeni in search of solutions in central defense, where Moor joined the sidelined Shane O’Neill. Although O’Neill’s injury is less severe than his partner’s, there’s still no timetable on his return, with the 20-year-old still experiencing discomfort in his knee.


O’Neill suffered his injury on July 12 during a match against the Philadelphia Union and has been out since. An MRI scan last week showed that there was no further structural damage despite O’Neill still feeling pain in the joint.

That leaves Mastroeni with Marvell Wynne and rookie Jared Watts in the middle, a duo that was at the heart of a defense that conceded three times in Sunday’s final 24 minutes.

For a team that’s lost four in a row (as well as its standing amongst the West’s top five), the injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. Had this happened earlier in the season, Mastroeni would have had time to adjust. And if the Rapids weren’t in the middle of a slump, having all its players healthy, ready to provide solutions, would be less of an imperative.

Instead, Colorado is without one of its building blocks. With 10 games left in the season, Mastroeni needs to reestablish a foundation before he can launch a playoff run.