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Mexicans Abroad: Jimenez assists twice, Vela breaks MLS record

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He didn’t score, but Raul Jimenez was the X-factor on Sunday, assisting Adama Traore twice in Wolves’ memorable 2-0 win over defending champions Manchester City. In eight games this season, the 28-year-old has tallied two goals and two assists.

MLS has a new single season goalscoring champion, and he is Mexican. Carlos Vela topped of his season with a hat-trick performance against the Colorado Rapids, putting his season totals at 34 goals and 15 assists in 31 games played. Historic.

Outside of Jimenez’s stellar contributions and Vela’s historic day, however, things weren’t as positive for Mexicans abroad this weekend.

In Italy, despite making a great first impression, Hirving “Chucky” Lozano is far two, three steps away from living up to his price tag. That said, it’s likely the speedy winger is still assimilating to Carlo Ancelotti’s system and Serie A’s pragmatism.

In Spain, the only true “winner” was Nestor Araujo, who recorded three clearances, one blocked shot and two interceptions in Celta Vigo’s 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao.

Here is a list of several other Mexico national team affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) outside of Mexico this weekend.

Premier League

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers — Jimenez hasn’t scored a league goal since September, but he doesn’t need to score goals to help Wolves, his latest performances shows. Spearheading two counter-attacks, the striker assisted Adama Traore twice in Wolverhampton Wanderers masterclass win over Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City.

Serie A

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Napoli — Lozano had a first this weekend, but it didn’t involve putting Napoli ahead of Torino. The 24-year-old, instead, earned his first yellow card with Napoli in 61 minutes of play.

La Liga

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Sevilla — Chicharito‘s goal count in Europa League with Sevilla is at two goals now, but for some reason, it’s not enough to earn him a La Liga start with Sevilla. On Sunday, El Tri’s all-time scorer played 25 minutes and recorded a short off target in Sevilla’s 4-0 loss to Barcelona.

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid — Herrera can now describe what it’s like to come off the bench in a La Liga match. The 29-year-old replaced Alvaro Morata and played 18 minutes in Atletico’s 0-0 draw with Real Valladolid.

Andres Guardado, Diego Lainez, Real Betis — The talk surrounding the 19-year-old was that it’d be best for him to look elsewhere for playing time. But over the past weeks, Lainez has started to gain minutes here in there. On Friday, he played a minute, coming on for Guardado in Betis’ 1-1 draw with Eibar.

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — Celta Vigo, flirting with the relegation zone, were in desperate need for a win. With Araujo starting and playing all 90 minutes, the home side won 1-0 over Athletic Bilbao, a top-seven side.

Eredivisie

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven — Like Lozano, Gutierrez, with time, is winning the hearts of PSV fans with undeniable effort on the pitch. The midfielder started and played 85 minutes in the Dutch giants’ 4-1 victory over VVV-Venlo.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax — After a good shift against Valencia in Champions League play, Alvarez played a minute in Ajax’s 2-0 win. after nine game, Ajax and PSV are tied with 23 points.

Primeira Liga

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, FC Porto — Porto and Corona didn’t play this weekend.

Jupiler Pro League

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — Govea started on the bench but ended up playing 42 minutes in Zulte’s 6-0 win on Saturday.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Carlos Vela, LAFC – Vela was critiqued for making a move to MLS at prime age. in retrospect, though, it was the best choice the now 30-year-old could have made. On Sunday, the winger finished the 2019 regular season with a hat-trick and as the league’s Golden Boot winner.

Hector Moreno, Al Gharafa   Moreno earned a yellow card in Al Gharafa’s 3-3 draw on Thursday.

Carlos Fierro, San Jose Earthquakes – Dressed but didn’t play in the Quakes’ 3-1 loss to the Portland Timbers. The offseason has officially started for the 25-year-old.

Uriel Antuna, Jonathan Dos Santos, LA Galaxy – Dos Santos and Antuna started and played all 90 minutes in Galaxy’s game loss against the Houston Dynamo. The Galaxy, however, move on to MLS Cup playoffs and face Minnesota United in the first round.

USMNT striker Sargent out for rest of 2019

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American forward Josh Sargent will be shut down for the rest of 2019 thanks to a groin injury.

Werder Bremen said the injury first arose during USMNT duty and has bothered the 19-year-old in recent weeks.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Sargent has two goals and three assists in 13 matches this season, playing mostly a center forward or primary striker role.

Here’s Bremen head coach Florian Kohfeldt:

“Since this is a small, deep-set muscle, the problems only occur at certain, very specific loads, which is why he was able to play and train for so long with problems. We will now give Josh’s injury time to properly heal, then he will get back to training in January.”

There are four more match days in the Bundesliga before the league goes on holiday break until mid-January.

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 15

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The congested schedule means we’ve had two match days since we last took stock of the Premier League.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

We’ve got a brand new Top Five (well, in terms of the four behind eventual champions Liverpool) and two teams dipping to season lows on our ol’ litmus test.

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]


20. Watford — As many losses as goals (9), and that figure is one more than the Hornets’ total points. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise to see them on the verge of full-time manager No. 3, as full-time manager of Watford is a bit more like seasonal help.
Last week: 18
Season high: 17
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-0 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Southampton

19. Everton — A top half team in terms of talent seeks the manager who can organize its way out of the drop zone. Might it be this guy? Better than the alternatives.
Last week: 17
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Leicester City

18. Norwich City — The first team to 10 losses is four points shy of 17th.
Last week: 16
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 2-0 at Everton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Arsenal

17. West Ham United — A gigantic ball of “blah.” Should thank Everton for existing so people aren’t more focused on this particular collection of currently squandered talent.
Last week: 20
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-2 v. Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea

16. Bournemouth — It’s just not good enough, is it? To have held onto Callum Wilson and get another step up in class from Philip Billing and still be so wildly inconsistent.
Last week: 11
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Wolves
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Spurs

15. Southampton — It really feels like the Danny Ings revival show could rival any story for the best individual one in the league this season. Happy to see Ralph Hasenhuttl get some good performances, as he was being scapegoated in a hurry.
Last week: 19
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Arsenal
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

14. Aston Villa — Allowing a league-worst 18.8 shots per game, but staying in the mix thanks to Tom Heaton and Tyrone Mings.
Last week: 13
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Sunday at Manchester United

13. Arsenal — The Gunners back line gets a lot of heat, and rightly so, but maybe a little help from the midfield would be nice considering Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz have combined for 39 blocks. Sokratis is third in the PL and Luiz fourth.
Last week: 12
Season high: 4
Season low: 12
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Southampton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Norwich City


12. Brighton and Hove Albion — First win ever away to Arsenal is another feather in the cap of Graham Potter, especially nice considering they had lost four on the bounce.
Last week: 14
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool

11. Newcastle United — No one is punching above its weight more than Steve Bruce‘s Magpies, and they’ve been aided in a big way by Martin Dubravka. The Slovakian goalkeeper has a league-best 44 saves from shots inside the 18.

Also, according to Understat’s xG numbers, they should’ve lost to the Blades. In fat, the xG table says they should be dead last. Life’s funny like that. It’s Steve Bruce’s world and we’re living in it.
Last week: 15
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Aston Villa
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Man City

https://understat.com/match/11786

10. Sheffield United — Just lost for the first time since September. That’s amazing.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 3-3 v. Manchester United
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

9. Burnley — Striker Chris Wood has been credited with 12 “big chances missed” by Sofascore, more than any player in the league.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 3-0 at Watford
Up next: 10 a.m. Saturday v. Crystal Palace

8. Spurs — Jose Mourinho learned Wednesday that Moussa Sissoko is nice for the squad, but not to be leaned on.
Last week: 9
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 3-2 at West Ham United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

7. Crystal Palace — Wilfried Zaha‘s 68 dribbles are 13 more than anyone else in the league.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

6. Manchester United — Ole had himself a moment in outfoxing Mourinho without Pogba or Martial.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 3-3 at Sheffield United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. Sunday v. Aston Villa

5. Chelsea — We told you, Frank. WE TOLD YOU.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham United

4. Manchester City — Aymeric Laporte is still two months away and that’s two months too long.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Chelsea
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United

3. Wolves — This is going to sound nuts, but there are days I’d rather see Liverpool on my schedule than Wolves. The Reds are obviously better weaponized, but Wolves come at you in waves, man, and Nuno Espirito Santo is doing it without his best center back.
Last week: 5
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-1 at Bournemouth
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Sheffield United

2. Leicester City — How’s this for an unsustainable stat? Wilfred Ndidi and Ricardo Pereira rank first and second in the league in tackles, with 67 and 62.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 2-0 at Brighton and Hove Albion
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Everton
1. Liverpool — Big Virgil Van Dijk is on track to become the first Premier League player to complete 1000 passes this season, currently at 953.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton and Hove Albion

Report: Everton targeting former Porto, Fener boss Pereira

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Everton might be looking to the Chinese Super League for its next manager.

Vitor Pereira is the top target for the Merseyside set, report our partners at Sky Sports, as the Toffees begin life after Thursday’s firing of Marco Silva.

Pereira, 51, has been in management since 2002, leading Porto, Olympiacos, Fenerbahce, and current club Shanghai SIPG amongst others.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

He’s won titles in Greece, China, Saudi Arabia, and his native Portugal, but there are suitors beyond the Toffees’ reported interest.

The 51-year-old is currently one of the highest paid coaches in the world and was recently offered the job of managing the Chinese national team.

It is understood he is currently considering a new contract offer from Shanghai, which will guarantee he earns £30m a year.

Duncan Ferguson is the interim boss as Everton hosts Chelsea this weekend.

MLS teams no longer will play every opponent each season

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NEW YORK (AP) Major League Soccer is breaking away from soccer’s tradition of having each team play every opponent in its league.

MLS is expanding to 26 teams in 2020 with the additions of Miami and Nashville but will keep a 34-game regular-season schedule. A team will play each of its 12 conference opponents home and away, and will face only 10 of the 13 teams in the other conference.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Nashville opens Feb. 29 at home against Atlanta and David Beckham’s Inter Miami starts March 1 at Los Angeles, the league said Thursday in announcing all home openers. Defending champion Seattle opens March 1 against Chicago.

Other Feb. 29 openers are Colorado at D.C., New England at Montreal, LA Galaxy at Houston, Toronto at San Jose, Philadelphia at Dallas, Salt Lake at Orlando and Kansas City at Vancouver. Games the following day include New York City at Columbus, Cincinnati at New York Red Bulls and Minnesota at Portland.

Home openers on March 7 are Chicago at New England, Red Bulls at Salt Lake, NYC at Toronto, Cincinnati at Atlanta, Houston at Kansas City, Orlando at Colorado and Vancouver at LA Galaxy. Four more home openers are set for March 14: Dallas at NYC, LA Galaxy at Miami, D.C. at Cincinnati and San Jose at Philadelphia.

The final home openers are Red Bulls at Minnesota on March 15 and Atlanta at Chicago on March 21 as the Fire return downtown to Soldier Field, their home from 1997-2005. The played in suburban Bridgeview from 2006 through last season.

More AP soccer https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports