D.C. United are, slowly but surely, filling in the void left by Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta.
The Black-and-Red and Liga MX side Monarcas Morelia have have come to an agreement on the transfer of Peruvian winger Edison Flores, according to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff.
The MLS side will pay over $5 million for the 25-year-old’s services, almost three times the amount that Morelia payed Danish side Aalborg in 2018 for Flores. The winger’s contract with Los Purépechas ran until the summer of 2022.
Flores was a first-team favorite at Morelia – who finished seventh in the recently-finished 2019 Clausura and went on to make a unexpected run into the semifinals before losing to Club America – making 21 appearances for Monarcas last season, and scoring seven goals and recording four assists.
The crafty, left-footed winger is also a staple with the Peruvian national team, accumulating over 43 caps for Ricardo Gareca’s side. Flores featured heavily for Los Incas in the 2018 World Cup and during the 2019 Copa America, which saw Peru make it to the final.
During the offseason, D.C. United has lost key pieces such as Rooney to Derby County, Acosta to Atlas and Lucas Rodriguez to Estudiantes.
Flores appears to be the first of three important signings for the nation’s capital side, who lost to Toronto FC 5-1 in MLS Cup playoffs. The franchise has also been linked to Santos Laguna’s Brian Lozano, Venezuelan striker Gelmin Rivas and Ecuadoran midfielder Christian Aleman.
With tears in his eyes, Ecuadorian striker Jefferson Montero tore off his shirt after scoring the opening goal in Monarcas Morelia’s 2-1 win over Tigres UANL on Wednesday. Underneath, he wore a shirt bearing the image of Chucho Benítez, his national teammate, on the front as well as his No. 11 and last name on the back.
It was an emotional tribute to Montero’s friend, who tragically died on Monday at age 27.
(MORE: Tributes pour in for Ecuadorian striker Christian Benitez following his tragic death)
Before the game, Montero tweeted: “I hope to dedicate a goal to you, my friend. … You will always be present with us.”
After the match, he followed up with a photo of himself in the act of his tribute, along with: “It’s like when you have this sensation of waking up from a nightmare, but it’s the reality we live, and we have to get used to it.”
All in all, it was a heartfelt tribute to a departed friend — and a reminder that some things go beyond the field.
Man of the Match: Going up again his former club, Elias Hernández dominated the right flank, forcing a change from Monarcas coach Tomas Boy after 30 minutes. Within seconds after Adrian Aldrete was brought off, new left back Carlos Guzman was getting torched. You’d expect Boy to have a plan for a man he coached for three years, but on Sunday, Morelia was never able to slow down Hernández.
Tigres entered today’s second leg up 1-0 after their mid-week win in Morelia.
Packaged for takeaway:
- After 45 minutes, it looked like the defending champions were going to ride their 1-0 lead into the semifinals. They’d taken a stranglehold of the match, keeping a Morelia team that started without forward Rafael Marquez Lugo from connecting with talismanic striker Miguel Sabah.
- The floodgates opened in the 64th minute when defender Hugo Ayala, inexplicably chilling just outside the six-yard box, hammered home a knockdown from forward Héctor Mancilla (which, I learned today, sounds like man-SHEE-shah in a Uruguayan/Argentine accent).
- Ten minutes later, a wall terribly positioned by Morelia goalkeeper Federico Vilar (along with the `keeper’s mistaken instinct to jump behind said wall) gave Tigres midfield Lucas Lobos the left post from 19 yards. Two minutes later, miscommunication between defender Mauricio Romero and Vilar gifted Edno Cunha a gift goal. Tigres went up 4-1, capping three nightmarish minutes for Vilar.
- Sabah pulled one back (only the second time in the last eight playoff games Tigres has been scored on), but with a spot kick in the 91st minute, Hernández got a deserved goal, ending a five goal second half and a quarterfinal that will look slightly more lopsided than it actually played.
- If you happened to be a Santos player watching from Torreon, the second half was scary. Not only did it remind you of the Apertura’s final (when Tigres second three times in the final 40 minutes to win, 4-1), but it showed a semifinal opponent that may have regained their champions’ form.
- But unlike that final, Tigres will go into the semifinal the lower seed, having to play the second leg on the road. We’ve seen they can post goals when the opposition has to chase them, but in a position where they’ll need to outscore Santos, it’s unclear they can rely on suffocating their opponents.
- With Damian Alvarez and Hernández, Tigres have an avenue toward goals. While Mancilla is going to have his hands full with Santos defenders Felipe Baloy and Aaron Galindo, Alvarez and Hernández are likely to be able to concentrate on breaking down full backs Jorge Estrada and Osmar Mores. Tigres’ defense will have to figure out how to handle Santos’s attack-heavy approach, but there is a good chance Tigres can grab the first goal and again force their opponents to come after them.