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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.

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

DC brings U.S. U-20 Canouse home from Bundesliga

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DC United may be bringing a pair of Americans home to Major League Soccer.

Reports Wednesday linked the Black-and-Red with USMNT midfielder Paul Arriola, late of Club Tijuana in Liga MX. Arriola has 11 caps with two goals for the Yanks.

The 22-year-old midfielder is going to cost DC a club record $3 million, according to the Washington Post, and the Eastern Conference club is also going to have to ship money to LA Galaxy, holders of Arriola’s MLS rights.

[ MORE: All the latest transfer news ]

Meanwhile, DC announced the addition of another 22-year-old midfielder in Hoffenheim’s Russell Canouse. The Pennsylvania native leaves Germany with one Bundesliga appearances and 20 in Germany’s second tier after going on loan to Vfl Bochum, where he scored one goal in 905 minutes.

From DCUnited.com:

“Russell is a dominant holding midfielder with great talent and vision, especially as a young player,” Dave Kasper, United general manager and VP of soccer operations, said. “We’re pleased to acquire such a accomplished 22-year-old with years of European experience. He is a strong, physical presence who has an acute ability to dictate play.”

As good as these two are, the best international resume belongs to a third pickup for struggling United. Coach Ben Olsen can now deploy Hungarian international Zoltan Stieber.

Stieber, 28, has 21 caps and three goals for Hungary, including a goal against Austria at EURO 2016. A left wing and striker, Stieber comes from 2.Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern. He posted two goals and five assists for the side. He’s also played for Hamburg, Mainz, and Yeovil Town.

All this as well as the jettisoning of Lamar Neagle, Sebastian Le Toux, and Bobby Boswell. DC is going to look very different this weekend in a bid to improve on the league’s worst record.

WATCH LIVE: Tigres, Pumas battle; Tijuana faces uphill battle

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The Liguilla-Apertura quarterfinals continue on Saturday night, as two sides will ultimately punch their tickets into the competition’s final four down in Mexico.

First, Tigres and Pumas will go toe-to-toe at the Estadio Universitario as the two clubs look to create separation and advance into the semifinal round. The two sides currently sit level at 2-2 after an enticing first leg in Mexico City, which saw Fidel Martinez’s second-half finish give Pumas a solid chance coming into the second match.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Liga MX coverage ]

The evening’s second matchup will require a massive turnaround from the hosts as Tijuana looks overcome a 3-0 deficit against Leon. Including Wednesday’s first leg meeting, Leon has won three of the last five meetings against Tijuana.

Liga MX midfielder Arango suspended two matches for biting opponent (video)

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Tijuana midfielder Juan Arango has been suspended two matches for biting the shoulder of Monterrey’s Jesus Zavala on Saturday in Liga MX action.

Arango, 34, latched onto Zavala’s shoulder (below) with a rather devilish grin before and after the encounter, and the Mexican FA has issued the same ban length that Luis Suarez received the first time he bit an opponent (for Ajax in 2010).

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The 121-times capped Venezuelan came back to Liga MX in 2014 after spending a decade between Mallorca and Borussia Monchengladbach.

From the Associated Press:

Tijuana officials said Tuesday that the club also punished Arango for his actions, but they did not say how.

The referee and the rest of the officiating crew did not see the incident during the match in northern Mexico.

The video evidence in this case is undebatable: