Carlos Vela

FC Dallas withdraws from MLS is Back
Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

FC Dallas withdrawn from MLS is Back tourney; Vela to sit out

Leave a comment

Carlos Vela’s decision to sit out the MLS is Back tournament has been one-upped by reports that MLS has pulled an entire team out of the fray in Florida.

Vela, considered by many to be the league’s top player, is opting out of representing LAFC and choosing to spend time with his pregnant wife and children.

The Mexican star, 31, said he would love to play but the coronavirus pandemic means missing out is in “the best interest of the health of my family to stay home and be with my wife during what is a risky pregnancy.”

[ MORE: Mourinho, Lloris react to Son spat ]

LAFC released a statement supporting Vela’s “difficult decision,” which will not help the West’s top side in its bid to outlast the Galaxy, Houston, and Portland in Group F, should the tournament go forward as planned.

Meanwhile, FC Dallas’ bad month has gotten much worse. Six players reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 last week and reports grew to include 10 players and one coach.

The side’s opening match against Vancouver was postponed on Saturday. Now FC Dallas says it is supporting an MLS decision to take the team out of the tournament. FC Dallas says it will take every precaution to make sure its return to Texas “minimizes risk of exposure to all parties involved.”

Dallas was drawn into Group B with Seattle, Vancouver, and San Jose. Two of the teams were set to advance to the knockout rounds.

Here is MLS’ statement on FC Dallas’ withdrawal:

“Major League Soccer announced today that FC Dallas have been withdrawn from the MLS is Back Tournament due to 10 players and one member of the technical staff confirmed positive for COVID-19. Each of these positive tests either occurred upon the club’s arrival or within a few days of arrival. The decision was made in the best interest of the health of all players and staff participating in the tournament, and in line with protocols created in conjunction with local and national health authorities and infectious disease experts.
“’Given the impact of the number of positive tests on the club’s ability to train and play competitive matches, we have made the decision to withdraw FC Dallas from the MLS is Back Tournament,’ said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. ‘The health of everyone involved in our return to play has always been our top priority, and we will continue to make decisions consistent with that priority.’
Of the 557 players currently in Orlando, Fla. 13 total players have been confirmed positive for COVID-19, 10 of those being FC Dallas players and the remaining three from two other clubs.”

Liga MX suspends promotion and relegation for the next five years

Getty Images
Leave a comment

During a video conference on Friday, Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla announced that promotion and relegation between Mexico’s top two divisions is suspended for the next five years.

The decision came after 18 Liga MX owners took a vote on the subject during the same video conference.

Bonilla, who took over the league’s presidency in 2015, also confirmed the cancellation of Ascenso MX’s – Mexico’s second division – 2020 Clausura and the 1000-minute threshold for minors in Liga MX.

In addition, Bonilla added that Ascenso MX clubs, who voted in favor of the promotion-relegation decision earlier this week, will receive five years worth of guaranteed income ($845,000 per club every year).

The news comes after professional soccer in Mexico came to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, giving Liga MX executives time to get its affairs in order, including the possibility of Ascenso MX converting into a youth development league.

Recently, dozens of Ascenso MX and Liga MX players took their disagreement of ending promotion and relegation to social media, uploading a photos with the hashtag, “without promotion there is no development.” Major League Soccer players like San Jose Earthquakes’ Oswaldo Alanís and LAFC’s Carlos Vela – whose older brother, Alejandro Vela, was affected first-hand by the decision – also joined the movement.

With promotion and relegation – which was based on a points-per-game basis over a three-year period and only relegated and promoted one club from each league per calendar year – on pause for the next five years, the chances of a Liga MX-MLS merger on the back of the 2026 World Cup seems likely.

In July 2019, MLS commissioner Don Garber told ESPN’s Herculez Gomez that the “ultimate dream” (between MLS and Liga MX) is “a league that is combined in some way.”

Burning Question: Who is the best player in North America right now?

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s a question many have tried to answer recently, and now it’s ProSoccerTalk’s chance to give a verdict of their own: Who is the best player in North America right now.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Knowing the loyalty of the devout Liga MX fan, the following statement may make a few onlookers cringe, or become enraged: Carlos Vela is currently the best player in North America. Period.

Truthfully, it shouldn’t take more than 15 seconds to generate such an answer. The question should instead be: What player comes at a touching distance from 31-year-old Vela?

Carlos Vela has been on a legendary streak since arriving in Los Angeles from San Sebastian, scoring for fun. Literally, scoring for fun – when he wants, how he wants: long or short range chips, stunning volleys, headers, from the spot, 30-yard runs leading to gentle tap-ins, free kicks, you name it. In numbers, it reads more like a humble 57 goals in 71 appearances.

That’s a healthy goal-per-game-ratio.

And to be clear, goalscorers aren’t the only type of players that qualify for the sweepstakes – supreme talent doesn’t discriminate. But in this case it just happens to be that an inverted winger, with a penchant for goal, happens to outdo not only every player in MLS, but in every other North American top-flight contest, including Liga MX.

And perhaps scoring goals isn’t his ultimate quality – Vela’s dynamism, agility and tenacity are at the core of his magic. There’s a reason why he’s considered the most talented Mexican player of his generation.

Still tough to accept? Ask yourself this: Who was the last player in North America that Josep Maria Bartomeu and Barcelona went after?

You guessed right – Vela. The Spanish giants know a thing or two about scouting elite talent, don’t they?

WATCH: Carlos Vela scores 50th MLS goal in divine fashion

Getty Images
Leave a comment

No one in Major League Soccer does it like Carlos Vela. No one.

The Mexican star made Philadelphia Union’s wall look obsolete, as he netted his 50th league goal in just 61 appearances. Vela is the third quickest player to the 50-goal mark in MLS history, and he did it in divine fashion.

To believe that Vela was purchased for a reported $6 million from Real Sociedad is still hard to digest, even almost three years removed. The 31-year-old continues to outdo himself week in and week out. There’s no other player in the league like him. Period.

Mexicans Abroad: Pizarro, Pulido show off goalscoring talents in MLS

Getty Images
Leave a comment

During the winter, there was an unprecedented influx of Mexican talent to MLS. Two weeks into the new season, a couple of them are already making recognizable differences for their respective teams.

The Liga MX 2019 Apertura scoring winner, Alan Pulido doesn’t lack any knowledge as it pertains to scoring goals. The 29-year-old showcased exactly that against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, introducing himself to the Blue Hell with a goal and assist. That’s two goals in two games for the former Chivas striker.

Rodolfo Pizarro, too, wrote his name in Week 2’s stats sheet, scoring Inter Miami’s first-ever MLS goal in the nation’s capital.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, in Spain, Andres Guardado put together a laudable performance against Real Madrid. Real Betis shocked Zinedine Zidane’s men 2-1 on Sunday.

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 started and played all 90 minutes in Wolves’ 0-0 draw against Brighton. The forward registered a lone shot on target.

La Liga

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid —  After not appearing on Atletico’s bench in February, Herrera was called up by Diego Simeone for Los Colchoneros’ draw against Sevilla. Herrera was left on the bench, however.

Andres Guardado, Real Betis —  Guardado played all 90 minutes against Real Madrid on Sunday. In addition, the midfielder contributed an assist, but saw a yellow card in the 74th minute.

Diego Lainez, Real Betis — The 19-year-old did not make the bench in Betis’ win on Sunday.

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — Despite drawing a yellow card, Araujo registered eight clearances, one blocked shot, four interception and two tackles throughout 90 minutes in Celta’s 0-0 draw.

Serie A

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Napoli —  Lozano and Napoli were inactive this weekend.

Primeira Liga

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, FC Porto — Tecatito started and played 90 minutes in Porto’s 1-1 draw with Rio Ave.

Eredivisie

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven —  Gutierrez was left on the bench in PSV’s 1-0 win over Groningen on Sunday.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax — Alvarez featured for the final eight minutes of Ajax’s win on Saturday. 

Jupiler Pro League

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — Govea played 90 minutes in Zulte’s 7-0 loss to Anderlecht on Saturday.

Major League Soccer

Carlos Vela, LAFC – LAFC and Vela host the Philadelphia Union on Sunday.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, LA Galaxy – In his first MLS regular season game at Dignity Health Sports Park, Chicharito went missing – both on and off the field. The 31-year-old failed to registered a shot on goal, and after Galaxy’s 1-0 loss to the Whitecaps, was a no-show at the team’s press conference. A very slow start for MLS blockbuster signing.

Jonathan dos Santos, LA Galaxy – Recently back from injury, Galaxy’s captain was limited to 45 minutes on the field.

Rodolfo Pizarro, Inter Miami – It took two, whole minutes for Pizarro to score Miami’s first-ever MLS goal. The 26-year-old followed up with a solid 88 minutes against D.C. United, who took all three points when the final whistle blew.

Alan Pulido, Sporting Kansas City – Pulido played 90 minutes and scored a goal in SKC’s 4-0 trouncing of the Houston Dynamo.

Oswaldo Alanis, San Jose Earthquakes – Alanis played all 90 minutes in the Earthquakes’ shambolic 5-2 loss to Minnesota United on Saturday night. Not the best night for the defender, who was coming off a stellar debut.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Ulises Davila, Wellington Phoenix – Davila played all 90 minutes and provided and assist in Phoenix’s 3-1 win over Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.

Marco Fabian, Al-Sadd – Fabian played in Al-Sadd’s 1-0 loss to Al Rayyan.

Hector Moreno, Al-Gharafa – Moreno played all 90 minutes and was awarded a yellow card in Al-Gharafa’s win on Thursday.