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Toronto seeks strong home effort against Chivas in CCL final

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In nine days, an unprecedented feat could appear in the record books for Toronto FC, however, the MLS side needs to start strong in its first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.

TFC will host Chivas de Guadalajara on Tuesday night (8:15 p.m. ET) at BMO Field in Toronto, which provides the Canadian side the opportunity to build momentum before the two clubs meet in Mexico the following week.

For MLS sides, it’s long been a struggle when it comes to facing teams from Liga MX, particularly for clubs that have to travel to Mexico.

Manager Greg Vanney and his side will aim to construct a similar formula to their efforts against Club America in the CCL semifinals. TFC went up 3-1 in the first leg at BMO, before settling for a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in the return leg.

TFC’s starting roster has been fully rested after sitting out for the weekend’s 2-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids in MLS play, and that extended layoff for the regulars should benefit the squad as it prepares for Chivas.

Jozy Altidore is expected to play on Tuesday, despite suffering a foot injury early in the second leg against America, while Justin Morrow, Chris Mavinga and Gregory van der Wiel could all play massive roles on the back line for TFC.

Meanwhile, Chivas’ road to the CCL final has been an intriguing one.

The Mexican side took out Dominican club Cibao in the quarterfinals with ease, before needing a comeback performance against the injury-depleted Seattle Sounders in the following round.

The semifinals saw a hard-fought and largely defensive setup from Chivas, who edged the New York Red Bulls to reach the title match. With the Liga MX club facing the likes of Sebastian Giovinco and Altidore twice in eight days, it’s not unlikely that Chivas will align itself in a similar fashion against Toronto.

Seattle 1-0 Chivas: Dempsey gives Sounders advantage

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A Clint Dempsey second half goal gave the Seattle Sounders a one-goal advantage over Chivas de Guadalajara as the sides head into next week’s CONCACAF Champions League second leg in Mexico.

In the 78th minute, Henry Wingo was played into space down the right wing, and the local product centered the ball to the oncoming Dempsey, who timed his run perfectly and slotted home past Chivas goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota.

[MORE: TFC comes back to top Tigres in CCL action]

Chivas had chances to score throughout the match but Stefan Frei and the Sounders backline – which had a healthy Chad Marshall back in the lineup – shut the door on the Mexican side.

After a weekend in which few U.S. Men’s National Team-eligible players featured across MLS starting lineups, the Sounders sent out six American starters and brought three more off the bench.

18-year-old sensation Handwalla Bwana, a Homegrown signing like Wingo, made his first Sounders start and caused the Chivas defense a lot of problems with his speed and dribbling ability.

Erick “Cubo” Torres cleared to play by MLS, officially joins Houston Dynamo

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Erick “Cubo” Torres is officially back in Major League Soccer, as the Mexican international striker’s six-month loan to Chivas de Guadalajara has concluded and the the 22-year-old arrived in Houston and joined up with his new Dynamo teammates on Thursday.

[ MORE: Thursday’s transfer rumor roundup ]

Torres, who prior to his Guadalajara loan played two season for now-defunct MLS franchise Chivas USA (22 goals in 44 games), will travel with his new team to Salt Lake City for a league game against Real Salt Lake this weekend, but is not expected to play. He will likely make his Dynamo debut next Tuesday in a US Open Cup quarterfinal matchup with Sporting Kansas City. Torres will make his league debut the following Saturday, at home against the defending MLS Cup champions, LA Galaxy.

In April, Torres was accused of an alleged sexual assault in Guadalajara, but has since been cleared or any wrongdoing upon an investigation by local officials. MLS announced in a statement on Thursday that they conducted an investigation of their own prior to his arrival in Houston, through which he was also cleared of wrongdoing and officially cleared to play.

[ MORE: Giovinco dominating MLS in first 6 months, but is that a good thing? ]

MLS statement on Torres, from MLSsoccer.com:

After several months of conducting a criminal investigation, the District Attorney for Guadalajara issued an official ruling on June 19, 2015, stating that the evidence uncovered during its investigation cleared Mr. Torres of any criminal wrongdoing. As a result, the District Attorney recommended that the investigation be closed.

In accordance with Mexican law, the Attorney General for the State of Jalisco performed a detailed analysis of the evidence and information collected during the investigation for the purpose of approving or rejecting the District Attorney’s recommendation. After concluding its review on July 3, 2015, the Attorney General approved the District Attorney’s recommendation to close the investigation. The Attorney General noted in a 43-page report that the collective evidence in this matter warranted dismissal of any possible charges against Mr. Torres.

Major League Soccer has a zero tolerance policy on domestic violence and sexual assault and will continue to monitor any potential developments in the legal proceedings in Mexico. To the extent any additional informational or evidence is presented, the League is prepared to evaluate that information and take necessary action as the situation warrants.

Torres joins a Dynamo side that finds itself currently in eighth place in the Western Conference, two places and six points out of the sixth and final playoff place. Will Bruin (8) and Giles Barnes (6) lead the Dynamo in goals scored thus far in 2015. With 24 goals conceded, the Dynamo defense is currently second-worst in the West.

Torres was allocated to the Dynamo in December upon the league paying his transfer fee and La Naranja being the only interested party willing to meet the contract terms agreed upon between Torres and the league.

WATCH: Erick “Cubo” Torres scores for Chivas in Copa MX action

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Erick “Cubo” Torres has less than three months until he makes his permanent move to Major League Soccer and the Houston Dynamo, and while he’s struggling to breaking into Chivas de Guadalajara’s Liga MX first team, the 22-year-old striker continues to make the most of his limited playing time.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Major League Soccer coverage ]

Torres, who has made just two substitute appearances in league play this season, has been a regular in Chivas’s Copa MX team, making five appearances in that competition, with his latest coming on Tuesday night. In Chivas’s 1-0 victory over second-division side Irapuato, Torres scored the game’s only goal, an outside-of-the-foot curler from 12 yards out.

Torres will join the Dynamo following the conclusion of the current Liga MX Clausura season, which concludes in May.

So Chivas USA is about to get even worse? And by design?

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Picking out good players from Chivas USA isn’t easy. As with Toronto FC, D.C. United and Chicago, circling high-performance individuals from a losing team is just tough stuff.

That said, Eric Avila is among the Goats who have put together some good stretches this year.

So can it really be true that Avila (pictured), a guy brought up in Major League Soccer, will be plucked by Chivas de Guadalajara, further diminishing an already inferior side?

This report from The Goat Parade says it might just happen – and what a bad message this will send about how the Chivas mothership plans to treat its Major League Soccer pursuits going forward.

The report says that Mexican under-20 Julio Morales may also report to the Liga MX side for the upcoming season. That’s a different situation, since Morales was on loan from Chivas de Guadalajara. And Gabriel Farfan may be scooped up, too. He was recently acquired from Philadelphia and not yet established with the Southern California club.

The club has traded away Juan Agudelo without much coming back from New England in the deal. Now this?

How will Chivas USA ever build even a little bit of crowd support as, essentially, a farm team among a league full of teams that are, you know, actually trying to win something?  It’s a bad situation that might be getting worse.