Tigres UANL

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Leagues Cup preview: MLS gets its next shot at Liga MX

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It’s not a typo; The s is very real.

The Leagues Cup — not the League Cup — is the new competition pitting Major League Soccer sides against some of the top sides from Mexico’s Liga MX.

The tournament has been expanded before it’s even seen a ball kicked in competition, as the second edition with go from eight to 16 teams.

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For now, though, we’ve got four American and four Mexican sides meeting over the next two months in a bid for North American supremacy not unlike a CONCACAF Champions League stripped of all the minnows.

Much like the CCL, the Mexican sides will be expected to triumph, even with all of the quarterfinals being staged in the United States.

Chicago Fire hosts Cruz Azul on Tuesday, followed by the LA Galaxy’s visit from Club Tijuana.

Wednesday will see the Houston Dynamo host Club America, and Tigres UANL at Real Salt Lake.

The winners meet Aug. 20, while the final will be played Sept. 18 in Las Vegas.

There’s a lot of promise in this, and it gives MLS another chance to make some statements about the distance between it and Liga MX. The Mexican sides have flat out dominated the CCL, and it’s not difficult to make the same prediction for this tournament.

But, like many tournaments, it also gives success-starved clubs a chance to give their fans something big and their players a tonic. For Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s Chicago, for one, it’s a huge opportunity. And for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy, it’s a look toward another piece of silverware for one of the world’s biggest trophy cases.

Tigres cruises to Campeones Cup in Toronto

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What home field advantage?

Jesus Duenas scored twice to join a Toronto FC own goal on the score board as Tigres UANL beat the MLS side 3-1 at BMO Field in Toronto to win the the first ever Campeones Cup.

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Lucas Janson scored late in the match for Toronto FC.

The new competition brings together the winners of MLS Cup and Liga MX’s Campeón de Campeones in a one-off trophy tilt.

The win was a small measure of revenge for Tigres, which was knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions League after a fierce quarterfinal against TFC.

The breakthrough came via Duenas, who beat TFC’s back line to a Juninho pass. Michael Bradley showed Duenas to the back post, but Alex Bono didn’t have his angle covered and Tigres had a 1-0 with 10 minutes to go before halftime.

To add insult to injury for Toronto, who saw Jay Chapman head off the cross bar, Sebastian Giovinco had to leave the match soon after Tigres’ opener due when he injured himself trying a shot from 45 yards.

Duenas made it 2-0 from distance in the 64th minute when he ripped a partially cleared corner kick just off the shin of Nick Hagglund and inside Bono’s far post.

An Eriq Zavaleta own goal made it 3-0 for Tigres, but Toronto received a fortunate penalty kick in the 86th minute to get on the scoreboard via Janson, on loan from Tigre (no s).

Report: Toronto to send Giovinco to Tigres for Valencia, cash

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An Mexican site reports that Tigres UANL is ready to send Enner Valencia and cash to Toronto FC to land Sebastian Giovinco.

Normally that’s seem a bit wild for TFC to send their perennial MLS MVP candidate packing, but the club has been hesitant to meet Giovinco’s terms on a new contract.

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And Valencia is nearly three years younger and a bit bigger than Giovinco.

Valencia scored in bunches for Tigres after arriving from West Ham, scoring nine goals with an assist in 16 Apertura matches including three multi-goal games. He then saw his numbers dip to two goals and three assists in 11 Clausura appearances.

Giovinco, meanwhile, has six goals and six assists in 15 matches between MLS and the CONCACAF Champions League.

It would be a significant risk for TFC, though the idea of pairing up Enner Valencia and Jozy Altidore is a physical nightmare for MLS defenses.

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)

Report: LA Galaxy’s interest in Tigres star Gignac quite real

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Reporter Kristian Dyer says the LA Galaxy has bid $6 million for the services of French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac of Tigres UANL.

The Mexican club is said to value him at twice that fee, which is plenty of money for a 31-year-old striker. Transfermarkt rates his value just under $8 million, and Gignac signed with Tigres on a free transfer in 2015.

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Gignac spent time at Marseille with LA’s new star, 28-year-old Romain Alessandrini, who has been influential since arriving in the offseason.

From Metro.Us:

Gignac’s interest in a move to MLS is “high” the source said.

“He thinks highly of the MLS and sees this as a dream move,” the source said. “Los Angeles would be a great fit for him.”

Gignac has 53 league goals in 81 appearances in Liga MX, and it would be surprising if he didn’t carry a similar strike rate in MLS. With Gyasi Zardes yet to score in 798 minutes for the Galaxy this season, LA needs an answer and someone to pair with Giovani Dos Santos on the end of Alessandrini’s playmaking. Between Zardes, Jack McInerney, Jack McBean, and Jose Villarreal, LA has just two goals this season.