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Atlanta’s Bocanegra responds to Martino to Mexico reports

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Another report claims that Tata Martino will take the Mexican national team job, and puts a date on the start of employment.

David Medrano of Azteca Deportes has the report, saying that Martino will be announced as Mexico boss on Dec. 8 (the date of the MLS Cup Final).

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Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra did his best not to comment on the report in a Tuesday radio appearances, saying the Five Stripes have been having “ongoing discussions” with Martino.

From 929thegame.radio.com:

“It’s all good. There’s all kind of rumors, for our coach, for our players, for everything. I guess that means we’re relevant in the soccer world at the moment, which is a good thing. We’ve been having ongoing discussions. We can’t control what goes on in the rumor mill but we’re doing our job. Tata’s our manager, and going forward we’re looking to get into the playoffs with the Supporters’ Shield under our belt and that’s about as much as it is right now.”

As recently as Sept. 28, Martino had said he hadn’t had discussions with anyone outside Atlanta.

He has also been linked with the Colombia job, while several have connected the dots between the USMNT job and Martino‘s expiring contract in ATL.

As for how hard it would be to replace Martino? Bocanegra seems to think it won’t be as difficult as some fear.

“Each coach has a unique style. We have a philosophy and a way of playing as a club. Within that, you try to put people in place that fit that style, fit that philosophy. That’s where Tata fit nicely. Each coach out there will put his own spin on things but it’s the club that has the long-term vision, playing the younger players.”

VIDEO: Carlos Vela runs wild on Houston including GK chip

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Sometimes elite players make it look like the older sibling looped into playing a game with his younger sibling’s friends.

Just watch him read this lazy pass, steal the ball, and then confidentially chip the keeper.

Vela has been doing that a lot this year, the former Real Sociedad star tormenting MLS defenses and leading LAFC to a playoff spot in its first season.

[ MORE: Steffen leaves USMNT camp ]

LAFC climbed into second place with a 4-2, twice weather-delayed win over Houston Dynamo on Saturday. Vela had two goals and two assists to give him 13 and 9 in 26 matches on the season (He also scored against Portland in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

It’s easy to forget that Vela was somewhat of a mild risk given a half season with just two starts and a few times out of the 18 with Real Sociedad (He had a goal and an assist as a regular sub).

2019 Gold Cup venues announced for USMNT, Mexico, seeded teams

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The venues for the seeded teams in the 2019 Gold Cup have been announced, with the U.S. men’s national team, Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica finding out where they will play their group games.

As the four seeded teams (based on the CONCACAF ranking index for September 2018), they are guaranteed to play in the expanded 16-team tournament, while Panama and Trinidad & Tobago have also qualified as being part of the Hex.

The USMNT will play in St. Paul, Cleveland and Kansas City in their three Group D games.

If the U.S. advance as group winners they will play their quarterfinal in Philadelphia, then if they make it to the semifinal they will head to Nashville with the final in Chicago at Soldier Field.

Below is a look at the group stage schedule for the four seeded teams, with the full schedule to be released in due course as the other 10 teams to qualify are announced.


Group A – Mexico
June 15: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
June 19: Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, CO
June 23: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC

Group B – Costa Rica
June 16: Non-US venue to be determined
June 20: Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
June 24: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ

Group C – Honduras
June 17: Non-US venue to be determined
June 21: BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
June 25: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, TX

Group D – United States
June 18: Allianz Field, St. Paul, MN
June 22: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
June 26: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS

Quarterfinals (Doubleheaders)
June 29: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX (QF1: 2A v 1C & QF2: 1A v 2C)*
June 30: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA (QF3: 2B v 1D & QF4: 1B v 2D)*

Semifinals
July 2: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ (Winner QF1 v Winner QF2)
July 3: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN (Winner QF3 v Winner QF4)

Final
July 7: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL

Wolves striker Jimenez headlines young El Tri squad

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Interim Mexico National Team boss has selected a young squad ahead of a rare pair of friendly matches set to be held this month in Mexico. The El Tri selection features a mix of European and domestic-based players, headlined by Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez and PSV Eindhoven’s Hirving Lozano. But the squad is also noteworthy for who isn’t included.

El Tri regulars Hector Herrera, Javier Aquino, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa, Hector Moreno and Carlos Salcedo were all left off the squad, in addition to the MLS-based big names including Carlos Vela, Giovani Dos Santos and his brother Jonathan. Jonathan Dos Santos was called up for El Tri’s last camp in September but neither Vela (inconsistent play) or Giovani (injuries) have been selected since the World Cup.

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With so many veterans missing, it’s a chance for some fresh blood to rejuvinate the squad. While Club America youngster Diego Lainez was not called up this window, a trio of uncapped players with extensive youth national team experience are in the squad: goalkeepers Gibran Lajud (Club Tijuana) and Raul Gudino (Chivas) and defender Josecarlos Van Rankin (Chivas). Jonathan Gonzalez, after sitting out El Tri’s last match against the U.S. Men’s National Team, is also back in the squad.

Jimenez, who featured for Mexico at the World Cup, has two goals and two assists in seven games for Wolves so far this season, delighting the crowd at the Molineux during matches as the Wolves’ No. 9. Jimenez received Man of the Match honors in his last two matches, a 1-1 draw at Manchester United and a 2-0 win against Southampton.

Mexico hosts Costa Rica on October 13 in Monterrey before facing Chile in Queretaro on October 16.

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.