AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Manchester United’s expectations have changed

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Manchester United’s 2-1 loss to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup proved two things to the Red Devils’ faithful.

The first is that their club is much-improved but not yet back to world beater status, and the second is that the Red Devils’ talent is enough to compete with any club on any given night.

[ MORE: Real wins UEFA Super Cup 2-1 ]

No, Cristiano Ronaldo did not start for United and, yes, Real Madrid controlled the first hour of play. But even on a night with a largely absent Paul Pogba and a glaring miss from Romelu Lukaku, United could’ve found themselves going to extra time with Europe’s most successful team.

While this is still a team growing into its best self, United will be expecting much more from Jose Mourinho in Season Two.

Last season saw the Red Devils lift the Europa League and win the League Cup, finishing outside the Top Four as Mourinho chose to prioritize a UEL title as the club’s clearest route back to the UEFA Champions League.

This season, United’s supporters have to feel that Mourinho has assembled the talent to compete for both the Premier League, any Cup competition, and make a deep run in the UCL. That’s miles better than the “hit and hope” of last season, when a buy of Paul Pogba and the hiring of Mourinho conspired to provide long shot dreams in the slumber of Old Trafford faithful.

Mourinho has won everywhere, and will be expected to claim one of the two big trophies that eluded him last season. Whether that’s fair or not, especially on the UCL front, is a debate for another day, but given United’s success in winning the signatures of Lukaku, Pogba, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan while keeping David De Gea in town, wins have to come quickly.

United won’t be tested by a fellow UCL club until Oct. 14’s visit to Liverpool, and the best opposition in the previous seven matches is a mid-September visit by Everton. Compare that to every other Top Four candidate, and United hits the ground with the best chance to pile up early hay in the table.

Apart from surprising and dire results to start the season, this shouldn’t be a season that sees Mourinho’s job status find uncertainty. Yet it can go a long way toward deciding whether he has the potential to spend a long, long time at Old Trafford or fade out after a three- or four-year stint.

Things have changed, again, at United. Now it’s on Mourinho to make a difference.

Liga MX wrap: Xolos beats Chivas as Apertura begins

Photo by Natalia Perales/Getty Images
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Liga MX’s Apertura season is off and running with all 18 clubs partaking in a match this weekend.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

Club Tijuana 2-1 Chivas Guadalajara

Scoreless at the half, the weekend’s marquee match sprang to life in the final 45. Juan Martin Lucero gave TJ a 54th minute lead before Jose Van Rankin knotted it up five minutes later.

Lucero assisted Jose Rivero’s 75th minute winner, which was helped in its status when Michael Perez took a red card in the 80th.

Cruz Azul 3-0 Puebla

Elias Hernandez scored a goal and added an assist, and Milton Caraglio put one of his five shots on goal into the net. Andres Renteria also scored in the win.

Tigres 2-0 Leon

Andre-Pierre Gignac scored, and Lucas Zelarayan marked a goal and an assist in the win.

Elsewhere
Necaxa 2-1 Club America
Toluca 2-0 Morelia
Santos Laguna 2-1 Lobos BUAP
Pachuca 0-1 Monterrey
Veracruz 0-2 Pumas UNAM
Atlas 0-0 Queretaro

Report: Colorado acquires USMNT mid Acosta for Badji

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The West’s first place team is switching it up in a big way.

FC Dallas is sending Homegrown Player and USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta to Western foes Colorado Rapids in exchange for striker Dominique Badji, according to a report by The Dallas Morning News.

[ MORE: Pulisic rips up Liverpool ]

Acosta, 22, has 17 caps and a goal for the U.S., and is primarily a defensive midfielder. He’s also played right and left back.

He’s appeared 139 times for Dallas, scoring 13 times with nine assists, but had fallen out with head coach Oscar Pareja. He’s also struggled mightily on the field, according to WhoScored.

Badji, 25, has seven goals and three assists in 16 matches for the Rapids this season, building on an eight-goal, five-assist campaign last season.

FCD has gotten six goals out of forward Maxi Urruti, and there’s been little production from anyone else. Cristian Colman is out with an ankle injury and managed just a pair of goals in 399 minutes.

The risk of trading Acosta is mitigated by the continued speculation that he may test the waters of European soccer. Badji’s a quality player, but Colorado may’ve gotten a bargain in its push to escape the dregs of the West.

Quintero, Loons pick LAFC apart in five-star win (video)

Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP
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Minnesota United throttled LAFC on Sunday, using a Christian Ramirez brace to batter the hot expansion team 5-1 in Minnesota.

Darwin Quintero had a goal and two assists for the Loons, who took advantage of LAFC’s decision not to start dominant forward Adama Diomande and center back Walker Zimmerman.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

Quintero ripped off seven shots, putting five on goal. He now has 10 goals and five assists since joining the Loons after scoring two and eight in 29 matches for Club America last year.

Miguel Ibarra recorded a goal and an assist, while Rasmus Schuller also scored. LAFC’s goal came courtesy Benny Feilhaber.

Minnesota’s Bobby Shuttleworth and LA’s Tyler Miller each made six saves in their goals.

LAFC fails in a bid to make up points on Western Conference first seed FC Dallas, while the Loons now can eye a playoff spot in the West.

Already-thin Liverpool center back corps loses Matip to quad injury

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Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund featured an injury to a position with very little depth.

The Reds lost Joel Matip to what Jurgen Klopp said could possibly be a “small tear” in one of his quads.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

If Matip, 26, needs any significant time to heal up, he’ll put a major question mark into Liverpool’s opening day center back pairing.

Virgil Van Dijk, who scored against BVB on Sunday, already won’t have Dejan Lovren as a partner thanks to a post-World Cup vacation.

That leaves Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan as options next to Van Dijk.

Matches at Crystal Palace and home to Brighton and Hove Albion follow the Aug. 12 visit from West Ham.