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Ex-FC Dallas star Castillo leaves Turkey, signs with Xolos

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Fabian Castillo departed FC Dallas for Europe on contentious terms in the summer of 2016, but the Colombian winger has returned to North America after two seasons with Turkish side Trabzonspor.

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Rather than returning to Dallas, though, Catsillo will suit up for Club Tijuana after completing a (reported) $1.5 million transfer to the Liga MX side on Thursday. Trabzonspor reportedly paid $3 million to FC Dallas as an initial loan fee, plus an addition seven-figure sum to make the signing permanent.

FCD were reportedly willing to entertain the idea of bringing the 26-year-old back last offseason, but a deal wasn’t reached and Castillo was intent on completing the season and trying to force his way into the first team. In the end, he made just 10 appearances (four starts) in league play this season, tallying two assists in 420 minutes.

Castillo, who arrived in Dallas at the age of 18 in 2011, was not so long ago considered one of the most talented, mercurial prospects in all of North America. He racked up 24 goals and 18 assists in his final two and a half seasons (2014-2016) in MLS, and even garnered call-ups to the Colombian national team in 2015.

Liga MX wrap: Xolos beats Chivas as Apertura begins

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Liga MX’s Apertura season is off and running with all 18 clubs partaking in a match this weekend.

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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

Key newcomers for USMNT friendly

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While the excitement potential is high amongst big club USMNT call-ups like PSG’s Tim Weah and Everton’s Antonee Robinson, there are several other relative newcomers who are facing a more acute focus.

So yes, of course, we’re most excited to see the young guns fire away, but a few others will be under the microscope for different reasons.

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Paraguay is leaving some big names behind — Dario Lezcano, Jesus Medina, Edgar Benítez — but won’t be using as “B” or “C” of a squad as the USMNT. Key defenders Junior Alonso (Lille) and Gustavo Gomez (AC Milan) will be staring down the U.S. attack, while Atlanta United star Miguel Almiron will try his luck against the Yanks’ backs.

  1. The goalkeepers — With full respect to Bill Hamid and his five caps, the trio of backstops who could play against Paraguay are unknown entities on the senior international level. There are reasons to be excited about Alex Bono (Toronto FC) and Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew) going against Los Guaraníes — and Hamid, too — and standing behind a young and untested group of center backs should give plenty of chances to make a name for whoever is chosen (If Sarachan is more “woke” this go-round, it’ll be multiple keepers).
  2. Andriya Novakovich — The Telstar striker is checking all the boxes: 6-foot-4, productive on the youth level, and now succeeding overseas. The 21-year-old has 17 goals on loan from Reading in the Dutch second tier. While that’s far from a “Woah” figure considering the top-tier in the Netherlands isn’t exactly a defensive hot bed, it’s intriguing for Tuesday in North Carolina.
  3. Rubio Rubin — We’re hopeful Sarachan goes with a 4-4-2, which would allow both Rubin and Novakovich to get runs next to Bobby Wood. Rubin is seeing some time at Liga MX side Club Tijuana after his European adventure stalled following a hot start for Utrecht. He had an assist in CONCACAF Champions League play against Red Bulls this month.
  4. Tyler Adams — Speaking of that match, the Red Bulls got a goal from Adams. It’s fair to say he’s got the chance to be as special a player as Schalke youngster Weston McKennie (and would apparently like to join his USMNT teammate overseas). Adams and McKennie together could legit be an engine room for years. Will that begin on Tuesday?
  5. Cameron Carter-Vickers — The 20-year-old center back has shown resilience in England. His hot start to life at Sheffield United, on loan from Tottenham, cooled enough to have him sent back to North London, but Carter-Vickers has rebounded to become a key part of Ipswich Town’s back line. With 22-year-old Matt Miazga the only clear center back on the roster and older than him, CCV can quiet a lot of doubters.
  6. Kenny Saief — This guy has excited at nearly every turn since bursting onto the scene with Gent via the Israeli national team, and an injury cost him some momentum with the USMNT. Now healthy and on loan with Anderlecht, the same side which refined the fire of Sacha Kljestan, the once-capped Florida-born man is as intriguing as ever.

RBNY rolls past Tijuana to CONCACAF Champions League semis

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The New York Red Bulls are one round from their first CONCACAF Champions League final.

Tyler Adams scored and the Red Bulls made their big Mexican win hold up in a 3-1 win (5-1 aggregate) over Liga MX’s Club Tijuana at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Tuesday.

Marc Rzatkowski and Kaku scored the Red Bulls’ other goals, with Bradley Wright-Phillips playing a role in all three goals.

The Red Bulls will face either Seattle Sounders or Chivas Guadalajara in the semis, with Seattle holding a 1-0 lead ahead of Wednesday’s second leg at Estadio Chivas.

The semifinals legs are April 3-5 and 10-12.

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Xolos struck quickly, with American winger Rubio Rubin crossing from the left for Luis Mendoza to tap into the goal.

It was the 22-year-old Rubin’s first assist since transferring to the Mexican club following time at Stabaek, Silkeborg, and Utrecht.

The hosts were not moved, with Bradley Wright-Phillips starting a play.

Adams restored the two-goal aggregate advantage in the 28th minute when he met Michael Murillo’s cross and was ruled onside.

BWP and Murillo would switch roles in setting up Rzatkowski’s 70th minute goal, and RBNY was home free.

CCL wrap: Tigres endures Herediano test, TFC advances vs. Rapids

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Three clubs have booked their place in the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, and that meant one MLS side had to go home on Tuesday.

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Toronto FC rode a scoreless draw against the Colorado Rapids in their second leg affair into the final eight, after the reigning MLS Cup champions went ahead 2-0 on aggregate in the first leg.

The result for the Rapids sees the Western Conference side among the three eliminated teams on the evening, while three more MLS clubs remain alive.

Elsewhere, Tigres and Herediano proved to get tangled up in another wild affair on Tuesday, however, the Mexican side managed to earn its place in the next round despite a tough test from their Costa Rican opposition.

Tigres has finished runners’ up in the competition in each of the last two years, but will face another stiff opponent in the next round when Toronto is on the opposite end of the pitch.

Tuesday’s CCL scores

Toronto FC 0-0 Colorado Rapids (TFC advances 2-0 on aggregate)
Tigres 3-1 Herediano (Tigres advances 5-3 on aggregate)
Tijuana 1-0 Motagua (Tijuana advances 2-0 on aggregate)

Remaining CCL schedule

Wednesday

Chivas Guadalajara vs. Cibao — 8 p.m. ET (2-0 on aggregate)
FC Dallas vs. Tauro FC — 8 p.m. ET (0-1 on aggregate)
Club America vs. Deportivo Saprissa — 10 p.m. ET (5-1 on aggregate)

Thursday

New York Red Bulls vs. Olimpia — 8 p.m. ET (1-1 on aggregate)
Seattle Sounders vs. Santa Tecla — 10 p.m. ET (1-2 on aggregate)