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FC Dallas confirm departure of Tijuana-bound Oscar Pareja

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After nearly two decades of service to the club (in a variety of roles, from player to head coach), Oscar Pareja has officially left his post as FC Dallas’ leading man.

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The club confirmed Pareja’s departure on Monday, just days after it was reported that Pareja would be named the next manager at Liga MX side Club Tijuana, that FCD and Pareja “have mutually agreed to part ways.”

Pareja had the following to say in the club’s official release:

“This was a difficult decision for me and my family. FC Dallas has been our home for many years, but we felt it would be best for us to seek a different challenge which enables me to keep growing as a coach. This club and its players are heading on the right path and I have no doubt they will get there. I would like to thank the Hunt family, Clark and Dan, for their support throughout my time here. The memories I have made with this club will stay with me and my family for a lifetime.”

Pareja was once thought to be one of a handful of candidates for the still-vacant U.S. men’s national team job, but Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter is expected to be begin his tenure any minute hour day week month now.

Report: Oscar Pareja leaving FC Dallas for Club Tijuana

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One way or another, Oscar Pareja is leaving MLS this winter, swapping FC Dallas for Liga MX side Club Tijuana, according to a report from Goal.com.

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Pareja was thought to be on the short list of candidates up for consideration to become the next U.S. men’s national team head coach — if you believe such a list ever existed — but that post is now widely expected to be handed to Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter in the coming hours, days or weeks.

Therefore, Pareja’s taking the next great opportunity to make a step up in competition and exposure after a combined 18 years with FCD — 10 as an academy director, assistant coach and head coach, and eight as a player. The fact that Pareja — born in Medellin, Colombia, but has lived in the United States for two decades — is fluent in both Spanish and English surely played an important part in the hiring process for Tijuana, who more so than any other Mexican club has prioritized growing its footprint among English speakers in the U.S.

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Pareja will reportedly take much of his first-team coaching staff with him.

Moving from MLS to any of Liga MX’s top-half teams is very clearly a considerable step up for a coach — or player, for that matter. If it’s a new, bigger challenge he’s looking for — and he’s deserving of one — Pareja will get just that at Xolos.

Mexico probes possible collusion in soccer signings

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MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexico’s federal government says it is investigating possible “monopolistic practices” in the signing of soccer players in the country.

A statement from the Federal Commission on Economic Competition says such purported activity related to recruiting and hiring would violate Mexican law.

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Investigators are looking at possible “contracts, agreements, arrangements or collusion between competing economic agents.”

Tuesday’s statement says any entities found guilty may be fined up to 10 percent of earnings and individuals could face up to 10 years in prison.

It did not name any teams or persons that may be under investigation.

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

MLS, Liga MX have discussed combining; How could it work?

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The idea of a single league combining Liga MX and Major League Soccer, well, it’s just plain awesome.

We can thank Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla for lifting the lid on discussions between the top flights of Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

The Mexican boss was speaking at Stamford Bridge about the future of the sport, and admitted conversations between MLS and Liga MX had taken place.

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He even puts a vague timeline on the project, citing the 2026 World Cup as a springboard for North American club momentum (much like how the 1994 World Cup helped launch MLS).

This led to MLS vice president Dan Courtemanche issuing a comment that certainly wasn’t “No.” From MLSSoccer.com:

“We have been discussing with Liga MX additional ways we can collaborate on and off the field, and we are excited about the future opportunities that exist between our two leagues.”

Liga MX is a more established league with older, bigger brands and has dominated the rivalry between the two leagues, but there’s no denying the headway made by MLS over the past decade.

Given the relationships between the two nations, the melding of the leagues beyond a CONCACAF Champions League is, to borrow a Joe Prince-Wright term, mouth-watering.

But how would it work? Presumably more like a super league, though it would also give MLS another chance to implement what I’ve long-argued is already in their plans (promotion and relegation).

With the money invested by the biggest Mexican clubs in their teams, utilizing a salary cap just isn’t going to make sense. New York City, LAFC, LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, and Atlanta United would be among the teams you’d imagine beyond the cap. And if Club America, Chivas Guadalara, and others were to really spend, then, yes, the league could legitimately start to make headway in competition with Europe (especially with South American elite players who would be able to make nearly as much money closer to home).

A caveat: This is far less attractive an idea if Liga MX sides have simply been swayed by the business model of capping player expenditures and being owned by a single entity. But that can’t happen, right?

How do you think it would work?

Gudiño becomes Chivas hero overnight

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Outside of their shocking and surprising CONCACAF Champions League title earlier in 2018, it’s been a rough last few months for Chivas de Guadalajara fans.

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Over the 2017-2018 Apertura and Clausura campaigns, Chivas had the third-worst record in Liga MX, and while things have been a bit better during the 2018 Apertura, Chivas looked as if it was about to lose a heartbreaker in the Clasico Nacional to Club America. That was before Raul Gudiño had something to say about it.

The 22-year-old former Mexican youth international who could become El Tri’s No. 1 in the future came up with a massive penalty kick save in the 97th minute of the match to save a 1-1 draw for Chivas against Las Aguilas. Gudiño, formerly signed by FC Porto before returning to his home at Chivas this summer, uncoiled from his spot in the middle of the goal like a loaded spring and dove to his right, palming the penalty kick away. It wasn’t the best taken penalty kick by Matias Uribe but it was a great save nonetheless.

Returning to Mexico may have been the best medicine for a player like Gudiño, who until this season was looking for first team minutes with a major club. While Chivas may continue to struggle scoring (it hasn’t won a game since August), they appear to have a gem in the goal. And with Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa, Gudiño is reminding the Mexican fanbase and press that there’s a ready-made replacement in the pipeline.