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MLS Roundup: Richards completes move to Bayern, Kaku drama continues

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Whether for marketing reasons or footballing ones, Bayern Munich and FC Dallas cemented a transfer that could begin a new pathway to Europe for MLS youngsters.

After spending the last seven months on loan with Bayern Munich’s academy, Bayern and FC Dallas made official the news that centerbach Chris Richards has completed a permanent transfer to the German giants. Goal.com reported two weeks ago that Bayern and MLS had agreed on a $1.5 million transfer fee for the 19-year-old American, with a 40 percent sell-on fee that would go back to FC Dallas.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

News of the transfer is the latest in the meteoric rise of the Alabama native, who was once rejected from the FC Dallas academy as a 16-year-old. Two years later, including after beating FC Dallas with the Texans in Houston in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs, Dallas brought him back and quickly signed him as a Homegrown player. Richards has since also cemented his place with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, leading the U.S. to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship title last November. He’s in line to start at the 2009 Under-20 World Cup in Poland.

However, due to MLS rules, Richards never got a chance to play for the MLS first team. Instead, he and the club took advantage of a new partnership between FC Dallas and Bayern, and he reportedly impressed enough to make the deal permanent. Richards is the second player from MLS signed to Bayern in the past six months, after the club inked a transfer for Vancouver Whitecaps youngster Alphonso Davies.

Here’s more news from around MLS:

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Liga MX: America wins at Cruz Azul to capture Apertura title

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Club America had a tall mountain to climb following their scoreless draw, at home, with Cruz Azul in the first leg of Liga MX’s Apertura final on Thursday, but climb that mountain they did with a 2-0 victory at Estadio Azteca on Sunday.

[ LA LIGA: Lionel Messi’s hat trick paces Barcelona in rout of Levante ]

Midfielder Edson Alvarez scored both goals in the game — five minutes into the second half and one minute before full-time — as America claimed their record 13th league title (first since 2014).

Cruz Azul goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona committed a costly error to set up Alvarez for the opener, and ultimately the winner. Alvarez’s second came courtesy of a bit of fortuitous timing, as Corona made the initial save on Cecilio Dominguez’s shot, but the rebound fell to Alvarez for a straightforward finish.

It was the second league title of manager Miguel Herrera’s career, and his first since his first stint with America, in 2013.

Cruz Azul saw their title-less streak reach 21 years, in heartbreaking fashion, after finishing top of the table in the regular season. They are now the first team in Mexican history to lose six straight finals appearances.

Liga MX wrap: Mozo magic helps Pumas win thriller vs. Necaxa (video)

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Week Two of the Apertura is nearly complete, and the soccer authorities deemed us worthy of a thriller at Olympic Stadium.

[ MORE: Mitrovic in, Rondon out at NUFC ]

Pumas 5-3 Necaxa

This game was bonkers, and featured one of the slickest nutmegs we’ve seen in some time.

More on that later, but a 1-1 halftime deadlock gave way to a half-dozen markers in a frenzied second half.

Necaxa’s Matias Fernandez saw his 53rd minute goal answered two minutes later by Carlos Gonzalez. Martin Rodriguez and Alan Mozo made it 4-2 by the 76th, but Necaxa again had a quick fire answer in the 78th through Victor Davila’s second of the night.

Gonzalez bagged his second in the 81st to effectively put the match to bed, but what a game.

Mozo’s goal was legitimately smooth.

Club America 3-0 Atlas

Guido Rodriguez’s double made sure Week 1 was just a stumble, as America came back with an inspired performance to move to 1W-1L on the Apertura.

Elsewhere
Tigres 0-0 Tijuana
Guadalajara 0-1 Cruz Azul
Morelia 3-1 Santos Laguna
Puebla 2-1 Toluca
Queretaro 1-0 Pachuca
Lobos BUAP 2-0 Veracruz
Leon 0-2 Monterrey

Manchester United draws Club America 1-1 on Mata goal

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Manchester United began Jose Mourinho’s “very bad” preseason with a drab 1-1 draw against Liga MX side Club America.

Juan Mata hit the post in the opening 20 minutes and later scored the equalizer in the 78th minute after Ander Herrera‘s header rebounded off the crossbar and right into the Spaniard’s lap. Mata then put his shot through the goalkeeper’s legs and in for the only goal for the Red Devils.

With many players receiving extra rest after participating in the 2018 World Cup, Manchester United is utilizing a bit-part roster for much of the preseason which includes five matches in the United States. Regulars Mata, Herrera, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, and Antonio Valencia were all included in the starting lineup, but they were joined by a smattering of relative unknowns.

35-year-old journeyman goalkeeper Lee Grant played the first 45 minutes between the sticks, replaced in the second half by 22-year-old Joel Peirera. 22-year-old midfielder Andreas Pereira played the full 90 minutes in midfield, while 21-year-old winger Demetri Mitchell saw his name listed among the starters along with Scott McTominay, who suffered a nasty looking head injury late in the match on an overhead kick attempt.

16-year-old Mason Greenwood got a few minutes towards the end, with Mourinho hoping to get a quick look at the club’s U-18 leading scorer. Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Alex Tuanzebe also both came off the bench to participate, as did 18-year-old former Feyenoord youth product Tahith Chong who was impressive during his second-half appearance.

While Manchester United held a slight majority in possession, Club America out-shot the Premier League giants 15-10, however the Liga MX side could only manage to put four of those on target.

CCL: TFC holds lead against America, Red Bulls seeking turnaround

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Tuesday night could prove to be a historic one for MLS, but the two clubs representing the league need to finish their business.

The storylines have been drawn out. The task is simple for both Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls. Earn a victory (or in TFC’s case a draw or 1-0 defeat) and the two sides will be on a collision course in the CONCACAF Champions League final.

[ MORE: How will Man City, Liverpool line up on Tuesday? ]

TFC played its first match against Club America brilliantly, and Greg Vanney and his team came away with a 3-1 win that has the reigning MLS Cup champions in the perfect situation as they head to Mexico for the return leg.

Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore continue to play at a high level in the tournament, with the attacking duo having combined for five goals in as many CCL matches.

Meanwhile, the Red Bulls have a bit more challenging task, although far from impossible, as they aim to overcome a 1-0 defeat last week to Chivas in Guadalajara.

Jesse Marsch’s Red Bulls have conceded just three goals in five CCL matches this season, giving the home side on Tuesday a distinct advantage when coupling its defensive prowess with the fact that they boast one of the best goalscorers in the competition with Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Also, Chivas will be at a disadvantage after captain Jair Pereira was suspended by CONCACAF over the weekend for violent misconduct late in the first leg.