The soccer news starts with the US Open Cup semifinals. Philadelphia and Houston advanced, with the final set for September 26 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The semifinals opened with Philadelphia shutting out Chicago 3-0 at home. In a game dominated by the Union, Cory Burke scored in the 59th minute and doubled the lead in the 77th. Alejandro Bedoya assisted on both goals. CJ Sapong finished off the scoring in the 86th minute with Andre Blake making one save for the clean sheet. Philadelphia finished with 22 shots to the Fire's 8, putting 7 on goal to Chicago's 1.
Houston came back to draw 3-3 with LAFC in regulation and advance 7-6 on penalties. Diego Rossi put LAFC up in the 6th minute. Houston's Andrew Wenger equalized in the 12th with Mauro Manotas scoring in the 25th. Memo Rodriguez made it 3-1 Dynamo in the 75th. Rossi responded with a 78th minute goal and an equalizer five minutes into stoppage time. In the penalty phase, Houston failed to convert in the 4th round, with LAFC missing in the 5th. LAFC exited after failing to convert in the 8th round.
"I’m proud of the players," Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera said. "I appreciate the support of the fans. So, since 2009 we haven’t been in the final. Houston Dynamo is in the final, and it’s well deserved. To the city, to the fans, and its’ well deserved by my players. I’m really happy. I’m proud of them because we’ve been suffering a while. It’s been difficult, but they haven’t given up, and that’s the most important thing. We’re still humble. We know our limitations, but we continue working hard to try to achieve our goals, and it wasn’t easy."
In the first-leg of the Canadian Championship final series, Vancouver and Toronto drew 2-2 at BC Place. Kei Kamara put the Whitecaps up from the penalty spot in the 24th minute. Jonathan Osorio equalized two minutes later. The Whitecaps played the second-half a man down after a first-half stoppage time red card to Felipe for violent conduct. They went ahead through an Erik Hurtado goal in the 84th minute. An own-goal six minutes into stoppage time leveled the score. The series concludes in Toronto on August 15.
Moving to Mexico, the news starts with a player move. Jorge Villafana left Santos Laguna to return to the Portland Timbers. The Timbers needed to send $75k in general allocation money and $100k in 2019 targeted allocation money to the LA Galaxy to get the top spot in the allocation table to sign Villafana.
“It’s with great pleasure that we welcome back Jorge Villafana to the Timbers,” GM Gavin Wilkinson said. "Jorge played a critical role in helping our club win its first MLS Cup in 2015, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to Portland. He returns to the club as an even more experienced and seasoned professional, with his accomplishments with the US National Team and his championship-winning success in Liga MX, and we look forward to his further contributions in his return to Portland."
In the Copa MX group stage, Omar Gonzalez's Atlas drew 2-2 at Cruz Azul. With Cruz Azul going a man down in the 29th and scoring in the 31st and 36th, Atlas needed a comeback. Octavio Rivero scored in the 45th and 76th minutes to split the points in Group F. In Group B, Rubio Rubin's Tijuana shutout Toluca 2-0 at home. Erick Torres scored in the 4th minute with Miller Bolanos adding a goal in the 78th. Luis Michel kept the clean sheet.
Philadelphia announced that Ernst Tanner is their new sporting director. The LA Times' Kevin Baxter on LAFC signing Joshua Perez. The Washington Post's Emily Giambalvo has Bill Hamid's return to DC United.
USMNT and Bournemouth player Emerson Hyndman will spend the first half of the season on loan to Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League. Inside World Football's Andrew Warshaw has Premier League CEO Richard Scuadamore's comments on the early transfer deadline. The NY Times' Kevin Draper previews Liverpool where the expectations are high this season. World Soccer's Gavin Hamilton previews the 2018-19 Premier League season. The Guardian's Adam White previews Ligue 1.
Appreciate the fans that did come out tonight, for those that did not... WE ARE HOSTING A FINAL. https://t.co/37ZHyJiVTN— AJ DeLaGarza (@AJD_20) August 9, 2018
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