MLS Decision Day 2019 – Here’s What Is At Stake

MIAMI, Fla. (October 5, 2019) —

The last day of the MLS season is upon us. It’s called “Decision Day.” For most fans of soccer around the world, that means a final chance for some clubs to survive relegation, or for a club to seal the championship. For MLS, which follows the model of North American sports leagues, the final round of the season is a chance for some clubs to secure a place in the postseason tournament, known as MLS Cup.

For this season, MLS made some changes which definitely gives more emphasis to the regular season and rewards teams for better performances. The post season was revised to a single elimination format which involves single games at the home of the higher seed, rather than two legs that flattened the odds. This means teams are vying to finish high enough in the table to secure a very important home matches in MLS Cup.

All games kickoff Sunday, October 6 at 4 p.m. EDT.

Fixtures For Round 34

What’s at Stake? Here are the main 2019 MLS Decision Day Storylines:

  • In the Eastern Conference, three teams – D.C. United (4th place / 49 points), New York Red Bulls (5th / 48 points) and Toronto FC (6th / 47 points) – will be playing for the final spot available to host a playoff game.
  • In the Western Conference, four teams – Portland Timbers (46 points), FC Dallas (45 points), San Jose Earthquakes (44) and Colorado Rapids (42 points) – are competing for two playoff spots.
  • The Seattle Sounders FC and Minnesota United are tied for second in the table on 53 points. They play each other in Seattle at CenturyLink Field; the winner secures the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference.
  • The Los Angeles Galaxy can assure themselves of having a home game in the playoffs with a win over Houston. Last year, Houston’s win at Carson cost the Galaxy a spot in the playoffs. Zlatan and company are hoping to set the record straight this time.
  • Chasing the Golden Boot Award: LAFC’s Carlos Vela is tied for MLS’s most goals in a season record, set last year by Atlanta’s Josef Martínez, at 31 goals. If Vela scores Sunday, he gets the record. Currently at 29 goals for the season, LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is chasing Vela for 2019 top scorer and the record.

Probing 2019 MLS Decision Day Questions:

Eastern Conference: Should Teams Watch out for the Revolution?

With the Eastern Conference qualifiers already set in stone, Atlanta versus New England looks to be the most interesting match of Round 34 on this side of the league.

Atlanta can lock up the number 2 seed in the East with a win against New England combined with a Philadelphia loss or draw.

Ironically, despite winning a lot of matches in their three-year history, the Five Stripes still have not won on decision day. In 2017, Atlanta drew 2-2 with Toronto FC at home. The following season, they were crushed 4-1 at BMO Field. On Sunday they’ll face a dangerous New England Revolution side that come into Mercedes-Benz Stadium on a high.

New England has been looking like a time on the rise under Bruce Arena, riding some serious momentum. New England clinched the seventh and final playoff spot in the east with a 2-0 win over top-seed New York City FC, a team that recently defeated Atlanta United 4-1 in the Bronx.

Toronto FC currently sit sixth in the table, just one point behind the Red Bulls from New Jersey.

Atlanta United has not done well versus the Reds, while the team from New Jersey has won in Atlanta before. It’s reason enough for Atlanta to want to avoid playing either of these sides right away in the first round of the playoffs.

New England comes into Atlanta with nothing to lose. They are in the playoffs, something that looked impossible until Arena took the helm. The pressure sits squarely on Atlanta United. This is Arena’s first visit to Atlanta with the Revolution. The way he sets up New England today could tell us how he may approach a potential playoff rematch. Expect New England to stay compact and look for the counterattack. Columbus Crew used this trategy in Atlanta on September 14th and came away with a win. Frank de Boer’s team failed to find the necessary attacking solutions, and were subsequently punished in transition. How will De Boer adjust? It should be a study in tactics.  

Western Conference: Can Los Angeles Football Club Finish With The Most Points In History?

LAFC has been the dominant team this season, with only a couple of blips on the radar. They will likely use the final game of the season to remain focused. As the top seed, after this game they will have a first-round bye that will give them two-and-a-half weeks’ rest. With a win, LAFC have a chance to finish with the most points in a single season. Will they do it?

Can Colorado actually sneak in to the playoffs?

The Rapids had been building up momentum for months. After starting the season 0-9-2, they rallied under interim coach Conor Casey toward something resembling respectability. Robin Fraser took over as the Colorado Rapid’s head coach in late August, with his only previous managerial gig having been with Club Deportivo Chivas USA.

“By the end of the first session, I thought that not only were they a good team, that they have a really good spirit, and a lot of belief in themselves,” Fraser said. “That’s when I felt like this could be a really fun project.”

Now, on the last round of the season the Rapids have a chance, though admittedly a slim one, of making the playoffs. Can they do it? To reiterate, despite having started the season winless through 11 games the Rapids are still alive heading into the final round.

If Colorado upsets LAFC — the best team in the league, already owning the Supporters’ Shield and with the top playoff seed already clinched — and Dallas loses to Kansas City and San Jose loses to Portland, the Rapids are in. Even if the ‘Quakes draw with the Timbers, Colorado can still qualify through tiebreakers if they win by two goals or more. This ‘perfect storm’ isn’t exactly likely. LAFC is the top team, Dallas is at home, and Kansas City is playing only for pride. But wouldn’t it be a great story of overcoming odds?

Colorado has been scoring goals. Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio are both in the double digits (13 and 11, respectively), while Andre Shinyashiki and Jonathan Lewis have come on stronger. Fraser wants to inject a possession style of play but joining so far into the season has made that difficult. Yet he’s optîistic.

“I really admire the character of the team. They care about each other, and I think you see that in how they play, adds Fraser.”

No matter what happens on Sunday, that’s something to build on and carry over. And if they can get into the playoffs they will definitely be a team to watch.

Which club, the Portland Timbers or San Jose Earthquakes, will stumble into the playoffs?

Their game at Providence Park in Portland is the only semi-do-or-die matchup on the schedule in Round 34. Despite going a combined 1-7-3 in September, at least one of them will drag themselves into the playoffs on Sunday afternoon. Portland has played its last three games to a draw. Portland can lose this game and still get into the postseason torunament if Dallas also loses. The Earthquakes, who need a win, won the first meeting between the teams, 3-0.

There is a sense that both teams might be approaching unhappy endings.

This could very well be Diego Valeri’s last game as a Timber. Negotiations over a new contract have not gone well, and the two sides have different demands. Valeri has been the face of the Timbers since his arrival in 2013. He’s gone above and beyond — not just on the pitch, but as an ambassador in the community as well. Yet neither side looks likely to budge at the moment. This might be it.

Moving past Valeri’s situation, the Timbers have had a strange and trying year, summed up by Brian Fernandez’s goal drought and red card that has him suspended for this all-important finale.

San Jose sits just below the playoff line on 44 points. But if you had offered them this position at the beginning of the season — win one, final game and you’re in — surely they would have taken it. The club has done much better under head coach Matías Almeyda in his first year with the team, who has imparted an exciting style of play.

San Jose has slumped late, however. They have lost eight out of 10 since early August. Either opponents have figured them out or Almeyda’s physically demanding high press has ground them down. There are also rumours out of Mexico that Club de Fútbol Monterey are looking for a new manager, and, you guessed it, his name is Matías Almeyda.

Almeyda is a bigger name that most people realise, having been successful in his native Argentina and leading Chivas Guadalajara to the CONCACAF Champions League title just last year Earlier this week, he admitted that links with Monterrey and a return to Liga MX made him “happy.” How quickly the sand can shift in the world of soccer.

Is Seattle or Minnesota a real contender?

The victor of the Sounders-Loons game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle will lock up the No. 2 seed in the west, and home-field advantage all the way to the conference final. However, If Real Salt Lake wins in Vancouver and the LA Galaxy win in Houston, whichever side loses the match at CenturyLink Field would drop to fifth.

Seattle seems to feel rightly disappointed by this year’s performance: “I think anytime we don’t compete for the Supporters’ Shield, with the talent that we have, is a fail,” midfielder Cristian Roldan said this week.

“Maybe it’s more of a redemption-type game for us,” goalkeeper Stefan Frei said. “We’ve had so many opportunities to make a statement game, and we’ve squandered quite a few of them. … We’ve been very, very fortunate. Let’s be honest. I think our season has been not the best. It was nice to finally start on top, but the remainder of the year has been a struggle. At some point, we have to make that statement.”

Minnesota has qualified for the playoffs for the first time. Their highlight moment of the season was a 2-0 away win at LAFC, which is also LAFC’s only loss since El Tráfico on July 19th. Carlos Vela was absent that match. But with the MVP favourite reinstated last weekend at Allianz Field, Minnesota still ground out a 1-1 draw. The Loons formula against Los Angeles was to stay compact, give LAFC possession in less dangerous areas, and have a ruthless mentality on the counter.

The Loons are playing with confidence, no matter the opponent.

Who Will Win The Golden Boot?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is second in the goal-scoring race with 29 goals. In fron is Carlos Vela of LAFC, who has 31 goals, a mark which places him in a tie with Atlanta United Josef Martínez for the most goals in a single MLS season. Zlatan had this to say:

“I am trying to score goals every game, that is part of my responsibility, part of what I have to do to help my teammates,” I have 29 goals in 28 games. If I would have the same amount [of] games like the other ones, it would be different. But now I’m chasing someone that has more games than me. If we score we score, we’ll have to see what the end number will be. If there still is a possibility, we’ll try.”

Still, the LA Galaxy star insists the ultimate aim is to achieve team glory.

“I prefer the collective win, when we win that game, that is more important,” he said. “With the collective success the individual success comes with it. If I can do good for my team, with my team, I know I’m doing good. I’m not focusing on the individual bonuses, I always say it’s like a bonus. Without my teammates those things would not be possible. If I win, it’s my team that wins. Whoever wins the Golden Boot has to think it’s not because of him, it’s because of his teammates.”


Credit to The Athletic for providing inspiration and perspective.

Granada CF returns to La Liga

Nerja, Málaga, España (lunes 19 de agosto de 2019) – Kenneth Russo

Granada Club de Fútbol is back in La Liga Santander, and the primary mission this season will be to survive in the top flight of Spanish football. The beginning of a new season is always filled with anticipation, and the battle for la permanencia began with a goleado, a wild encounter Saturday night at the Estadio de la Cerámica in Villarreal, where the rojiblancos produced a 4-4 draw with Villarreal.

Antonio Puertas scored the goal that earned the away point. Manager Diego Martínez, who is the youngest head coach in La Liga, said, “We are a team that believes.” That belief will receive a second test at home this Friday as Sevilla FC come to Granada.

El Granada Club de Fútbol está de vuelta en La Liga Santander, y la misión principal de esta temporada será sobrevivir en la máxima categoría del fútbol español. El comienzo de una nueva temporada siempre está lleno de anticipación, y la batalla por la permanencia comenzó con un goleado, un encuentro salvaje el sábado por la noche en el Estadio de la Cerámica en Villarreal, donde los rojiblancos produjeron un empate 4-4 con Villarreal.

Antonio Puertas marcó el gol que le valió el punto como visitante. El gerente Diego Martínez, quien es el entrenador más joven en La Liga, dijo: “Somos un equipo que cree”. Esa creencia recibirá una segunda prueba en casa este viernes cuando el Sevilla FC visita al Granada.

Inter Miami CF Announces First Two Players

Another Historic Day In The Life of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami.

Club Confirms Previous Reports Here And Elsewhere.

Miami, Fla. (Friday, July 26, 2019) by Kenneth Russo

Another day. Another first. Two of them, to be precise.

The team that for so long didn’t have a name; didn’t have colours; didn’t have a chance according to some; lacked this and didn’t have that; whose supporters were mocked for supporting a fictitious team. All this has changed over the past year and a half, of course.

And today, the dream is more tangible than ever. For today, the Rosanegra has announced the signing of its first two jugadores.

The club was expected to name its first players over the summer. Exactly when wasn’t known for sure. However, reports out of Argentina in recent days and weeks suggested that transfer deals were in place, and research revealed that the players whose names had been reported on had indeed visited Miami.

This morning, Inter Miami raised expectations that an announcement was forthcoming by posting several tweets on its Instagram account. It seemed to be a prelude to something big:

And big it was. “Matías Pellegrini. El Primero.” That was the caption on the first video announcement that was sent out on social media at 3:57 p.m. EDT. a video that was described with words such as “clean,” “more like a raggaeton singer intro,” “dope merch,” “dope marketing,” and “dripping in swag.” In other words, a very Miami-like production, right down to the essential Miami trait of mixing Spanish and English in the course of a single statement.. Shortly thereafter, the second announcement was pushed out, at 4:20 p.m.: “Seguimos. #LaFamilia is about to grow stronger.” | 4:30 p.m.: “Julián Carranza. Welcome to #LaFamilia.”

Matías Pellegrini

Pellegrini, 19, is a native of Magdalena, Argentina. His primary positions are as a left winger and centre forward. He was promoted to the first team in August 2018, having been part of the reserve squad of Estudiantes’ de La Plata (U20) prior to that. His first goal as a professional cane against Boca Juniors. He has made 15 appearances for Estudiantes this season, with three goals and one assist. He has logged 1,053 minutes across all competitions (903’ in Primera División and 150’ in the Copa Libertadores). Pellegrini joined the Estudiantes Academy at the age of 11.

Mati joins Inter Miami CF from Estudiantes via transfer and will be classified as a Young Designated Player. He will remain on loan with Estudiantes through January 2020. The value of the transfer is listed on Transfermarkt as being $9.23 million USD. (8.1 million EUR).

Pellegrini Profile On Transfermarkt

Julián Carranza

Carranza, from Oncativo, Argentina, also 19, is in his second season as a professional. He joined the senior squad of Club Atlético Banfield in 2017. Since then, he has made 29 career appearances for them, scoring 8 goals. He has logged 1,871 minutes across all competitions. Carranza featured in two matches for the Argentina U17 team at the 2017 South American Championship in Chile, and has also trained with the U20 team.

Prior to playing as a professional with El Taladro, Carranza came through Banfield’s academy system, having moved to Buenos Aires at the age of 13 to join their academy.

Like Pellegrini, Carranza will remain on loan with Banfield for the fall Superliga season, and will join his future teammates for training camp at the end of January, 2020, in advance of the inaugural season in MLS which begins next March. His transfer is listed on Transfermarkt as being for $6.16 million USD (5.5 million EUR).

“Julian is a very grounded player with an impressive work rate. He’s the player that strives to score goals and is very good in the box”

Paul McDonough, Sporting Director

Carranza Profile On Transfermarkt

Recent Video Clip:

And it’s only the beginning. The secondary transfer window in MLS is open until August 7th (the last date for inbound transfers) so there is reason to believe fans of Inter Miami can expect more names to be announced. To stay on top of news from Inter Miami, look on this site or on the club’s official website at http://www.InterMiamiCF.com.

Continue reading Inter Miami CF Announces First Two Players

Pellegrini Returns From The U.S. And Trains With Estudiantes; Transfer to Inter Miami CF confirmed


Pellegrini passes medical tests; Estudiantes releases statement on deal with Inter Miami CF.

Miami, Fla. (Tuesday, July 23, 2019) – Kenneth Russo

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami finally has a player: Matías Pellegrini.

Per a communication by Estudiantes de La Plata, the Argentine club and Inter Miami CF have completed a deal to transfer 19-year old Argentine midfielder Matias Pellegrini.

Additionally, Argentine publication El Dia de La Plata reported Tuesday that Matias Pellegrini returned from the United States and was in training with Estudiantes today, in advance of the club’s opening game in the 2019 Argentine Superliga this weekend versus Aldosivi de Mar del Plata.

The same report states that in addition to Pellegrini successfully completing his medical exam, Estudiantes was able to complete the deal with Inter Miami, worth about $9 million, and potentially up to $11 million depending on his future performance.

Estudiantes de La Plata released the following official communication that confirms what has been reported: (English Translation Below)

COMUNICADO DEL CLUB SOBRE PELLEGRINI

El Club Estudiantes de La Plata hace saber que el jugador Matías Pellegrini pasó con éxito la revisación médica en el Inter Miami CF y ya regresó al país, donde se puso a las órdenes del cuerpo técnico de Gabriel Milito de cara al inicio de la Superliga.

El futbolista viajó a Estados Unidos junto a Diego Ronderos, integrante de la Secretaría de Fútbol Profesional. El joven surgido de las divisiones inferiores superó los chequeos y ahora se ultiman detalles para su transferencia definitiva a la institución de la Major League Soccer.

Pellegrini, quien este martes entrenó a la par de sus compañeros en el Country Club de City Bell, comenzará a trabajar en su nuevo club en enero de 2020.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE CLUB ABOUT PELLEGRINI

Estudiantes de La Plata has learned that its player, Matías Pellegrini, successfully passed the medical check-up at Inter Miami CF and has already returned to the country, where he was placed under the command of Gabriel Milito’s coaching staff for the start of the Super League.

The player traveled to the United States with Diego Ronderos, Secretary of Professional Football. The young man, who emerged from the lower divisions, passed his tests and now the details are finalized for his definitive transfer to the Major League Soccer institution.

Pellegrini, who on Tuesday trained with his teammates at the City Bell Country Club, will begin working at his new club in January 2020.


Pellegrini started at left midfield last Saturday in Estudiantes’ 2-0 win over Club Mitre, scoring a goal that turned out to be the game-winner. Here is a video of that game:

Inter Miami officials confirmed in response to media enquiries that Pellegrini was in Miami on Monday to meet with team executives, but said they were not ready to make a formal announcement yet. These developments came while David Beckham was in Miami for a family vacation, and it is likely he was involved in meeting with the young Argentine winger.

Major League Soccer Libera a Patrocínio De Manga Para A Temporada 2020

Miami, FL (4a feira, 23 do janeiro 2019) – Kenneth Russo –

Seguindo o modelo adotado do Premier League, a Major League Soccer anunciou em 23 de outubro de 2018 que irá liberar os times para fecharem patrocínios de manga para a temporada 2020. Essa medida visa incrementar as receitas das equipes que disputam a liga.

Os potenciais novos acordos deverão variar entre  US$ 500 mil e US$ 1 milhão por temporada. Para efeito comparativo, os gigantes da elite inglesa possuem acordos que variam de US$ 13 milhões e US$ 26 milhões (£ 10 milhões a £ 15 milhões).

“O patch de manga é uma excelente oportunidade para as marcas se conectarem à nossa Liga e aos clubes de formas mutuamente benéficas”, disse Gary Stevenson, Presidente e Diretor Administrativo da MLS Business Ventures. “À medida que a nossa Liga continua a se expandir e com mais fãs nos EUA e no Canadá assistindo a nossos jogos, participando de nossos jogos e interagindo com mídias sociais, a visibilidade os patrocinadores de mangas será substancial.”

Para mas detalhes (em inglês), clique o link:

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What is a Homegrown Player?

Miami, FL (Monday, January 21, 2019) –  

The Homegrown Player rule is one of several manners for a Major League Soccer club to acquire players. But how does it work?

Follow this link where I explain this mechanism in detail. Continue reading What is a Homegrown Player?

RSL acquire Everton Luiz

January 7, 2019 by Kenneth Russo –

Real Salt Lake added some veteran depth to its squad, acquiring Brazilian midfielder Everton Luiz on a season-long loan from Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor (S.P.A.L.) in Italy’s Serie A for the 2019 season. He will join RSL in preseason, pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and US work Visa.

Luiz joins RSL in preseason. He has made 21 appearances during the calendar year of 2018.

Luiz, 30, is a defensive midfielder who’s career has taken him through the ranks in Brazil. This will be the sixth different country he has played in. In Brazil, he has passed through Ponte Preta, Palmeiras, Marília, Bragantino, CRB and Criciúma. He has also played in Romania ( for Gloria Buzau), in México (for San Luís), Switzerland (for FC Lugano and St. Gallen) and Serbia (with Partizan Belgrade).

That led to a transfer to S.P.A.L., where he helped the club avoid relegation from a Serie A in the 2017-18 season.

He has scored seven goals in 155 league matches and ten goals in 246 matches across all competitions.

“Over the past several years we have restructured our roster with a young core.  Now is the right time to complement our young core with more experienced players in order to challenge for greater results.   Everton is the type of player that we feel can assist in helping us mature beyond being a competitive team and into one that challenges for bigger and better things,” RSL General Manager Craig Waibel said.  “He fits into the culture we are creating and is the type of player that our fans will enjoy watching as his on-field commitment is a standard they will surely appreciate.  His playing resume speaks for itself and his addition will allow the coaching staff to explore more options in squad selection each week.”

Disse o jogador Éverton Luiz:

A Major League Soccer tem crescido muito e está cada vez mais competitiva. Chego a um clube estruturado e com muito potencial para chegar cada vez mais longe. Consegui realizar meu sonho de jogar em uma das ligas mais respeitadas e dividir o campo com grandes jogadores. Não estava jogando tanto quanto eu queria. Procurando novos desafios, decidi, junto aos meus empresários, trocar de time, e vi no Real Salt Lake uma grande oportunidade de seguir crescendo na carreira.”

“MLS is a league that is growing a lot and becoming more and more competitive.  I am coming to a structured club that is full of potential to go further,” Luiz said.  “I’ve reached my dream of playing in one of the biggest leagues on the planet and share the pitch with many of the best players.  I wasn’t playing as much as I wanted and I’m looking forward to new challenges and saw in Real Salt Lake a huge opportunity to keep growing in my career.”