Liga MX

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Weekend soccer games called off after Mexico earthquake

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MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexico’s soccer federation has canceled all first-division games this weekend as stadiums are being used as relief centers after the country’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

[ MORE: Sporting KC claims its fourth U.S. Open Cup crown ]

The federation announced Wednesday that there would be no games in the 10th round of the Apertura tournament or any other professional competition, including the women’s league.

“All the clubs are doing their bit,” Mexican league president Enrique Bonilla said in an interview on Fox Sports before the decision to cancel all matches was announced. “We would like to bring people a moment of joy, but it is a more complex decision, and we need to have all the information from authorities.”

The postponed league games will be played in mid-October, including the derby between Chivas and America.

Mexico star Marquez back at Atlas after US drug sanctions

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MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez is back with his club more than a month after the U.S. Treasury Department named him on a sanctions list for alleged drug trafficking ties.

Atlas said Monday that the 38-year-old defender is practicing with the team again.

In August, Marquez was among 22 people sanctioned by the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. He was accused of acting as a frontman for the Raul Flores Hernandez drug trafficking organization.

Marquez has denied any wrongdoing and said he will work to clear his name. He is not known to face any criminal charges in the United States or Mexico.

Atlas says Marquez will continue his legal fight while at the team.

Marquez has played internationally with AS Monaco, Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls.

Atlas hopes Marquez can ‘rejoin team’ after US allegations

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MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexico’s national soccer team and club Atlas have issued cautious statements backing embattled star Rafael Marquez but also apparently distancing themselves somewhat after he was among 22 people sanctioned by the U.S. government for alleged drug trafficking ties.

[ MORE: Assessing the top moves during the MLS summer transfer window ]

Atlas calls Marquez an “exemplary” player and wishes him well. It says it hopes for “a resolution that allows our captain to rejoin the team,” but does not give further details.

Marquez did not practice with the club for a second straight day Thursday.

The national team said Marquez has represented “El Tri” in a dignified fashion for two decades and it trusts “he will clear up his situation with authorities.”

The 38-year-old is a former defender for Barcelona and New York Red Bulls. On Wednesday he denied having any drug ties.

DC brings U.S. U-20 Canouse home from Bundesliga

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DC United may be bringing a pair of Americans home to Major League Soccer.

Reports Wednesday linked the Black-and-Red with USMNT midfielder Paul Arriola, late of Club Tijuana in Liga MX. Arriola has 11 caps with two goals for the Yanks.

The 22-year-old midfielder is going to cost DC a club record $3 million, according to the Washington Post, and the Eastern Conference club is also going to have to ship money to LA Galaxy, holders of Arriola’s MLS rights.

[ MORE: All the latest transfer news ]

Meanwhile, DC announced the addition of another 22-year-old midfielder in Hoffenheim’s Russell Canouse. The Pennsylvania native leaves Germany with one Bundesliga appearances and 20 in Germany’s second tier after going on loan to Vfl Bochum, where he scored one goal in 905 minutes.

From DCUnited.com:

“Russell is a dominant holding midfielder with great talent and vision, especially as a young player,” Dave Kasper, United general manager and VP of soccer operations, said. “We’re pleased to acquire such a accomplished 22-year-old with years of European experience. He is a strong, physical presence who has an acute ability to dictate play.”

As good as these two are, the best international resume belongs to a third pickup for struggling United. Coach Ben Olsen can now deploy Hungarian international Zoltan Stieber.

Stieber, 28, has 21 caps and three goals for Hungary, including a goal against Austria at EURO 2016. A left wing and striker, Stieber comes from 2.Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern. He posted two goals and five assists for the side. He’s also played for Hamburg, Mainz, and Yeovil Town.

All this as well as the jettisoning of Lamar Neagle, Sebastian Le Toux, and Bobby Boswell. DC is going to look very different this weekend in a bid to improve on the league’s worst record.

Honda takes road less traveled, signs with Pachuca in Liga MX

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Keisuke Honda paved new roads earlier in his career, first starring for CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League before making a big move to AC Milan.

But now he’s heading in a direction many from Europe travel to, though his destination was a surprise.

Honda announced early Friday morning that he had signed with reigning Liga MX champions Pachuca, becoming the latest high-profile European player to join Liga MX after Frenchman Andre-Pierre Gignac joined Tigres UANL.

[ MORE: Kyle Walker completes record transfer to Man City ]

The 31-year-old midfielder comes in as a replacement for budding Mexico National Team star Hirving Lozano, who signed with PSV Eindhoven earlier this summer, though the pair play different roles in midfield.

Honda only played in eight games in Serie A last season and will have his hands full with adjusting to the language and culture of Mexico along with the Liga MX style of play. However, if Gignac’s example is anything to follow, after some time to bed in, Honda can have a big impact in Mexico and could encourage others to join.

Pachuca is coming off defeating Mexican giants Club America in the Clausura Liguilla final and as winners of the CONCACAF Champions League, they’ll be playing this winter in the 2017 Club World Cup.

Honda will also be teammates with U.S. Men’s National Team centerback Omar Gonzalez.