Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Paul Arriola says Arena was “very optimistic about the move” to MLS

Leave a comment

Paul Arriola has quickly leapt up the U.S. Men’s National Team pecking order, and the young attacker has fast-tracked himself for a spot in the squad for Russia 2018.

[ MORE: Ethan Finlay joins Minnesota United from Columbus ]

While the 22-year-old’s rise has been well-documented, though, Arriola was left with a tough decision this summer of where to continue his young career.

[ MORE: USMNT huge climbers in latest FIFA world rankings ]

Ultimately, the California native opted for a move to MLS with D.C. United, but it wasn’t until after a discussion with USMNT manager Bruce Arena that Arriola says he was comfortable in making the move.

“I had talked to Bruce before the move had even happened and asked his opinion and he was very optimistic about the move,” Arriola told Goal. “He believes it’s a great move for me, where I’m going to be on the field all the time and improving in the areas I need to work on. Not once did he ever say anything about worrying about my growth or my level dropping off.

“Any time you have a national team coach that can say that and give you the green light to do something it obviously makes your life easier,” Arriola added. “Not thinking about what he’s thinking and wondering if it’s the right move.”

Arena’s blessing for Arriola in MLS is a stark contrast from that of Jurgen Klinsmann, though, with the former USMNT boss a proponent of players reaching their potential overseas in Europe’s top flights.

While there still are many U.S. players in Europe, the number has certainly dwindled down as of late as more players opt for MLS. Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley — all of whom are still key figures in the USMNT’s starting lineup — each chose to return to play domestically in the U.S. after spending time in some of Europe’s top divisions.

Arriola believes he’s found a good fit in D.C., though, and says the club will allow him to fulfill his goals if he ever chooses to complete a move to Europe.

“D.C. United understands my aspirations, and one day if I want to go to Europe I know they’ll be open to that, which is very comforting,” Arriola said.

Arriola spent one season with the LA Galaxy’s academy from 2012 to 2013 prior to the winger’s move to Liga MX side Club Tijuana — where he spent the last four seasons.

It was at Tijuana where Arriola began to hit his stride, making 84 appearances for the Mexican outfit and scoring four goals along the way.

The attacker’s budding success reportedly led to other serious contenders in obtaining his services this summer, with the Washington Post reporting that Orlando City SC and Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon each rated Arriola highly.

Liga MX wrap: Xolos beats Chivas as Apertura begins

Photo by Natalia Perales/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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

Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.