Friday's soccer news starts with Bruce Arena talking to the media after taking over as New England's sporting director and head coach. Arena made it clear that the only thing he has to prove is that he can turn the team around over the longterm. New England is currently in last place in the Eastern Conference.
“It’s not going to happen in the next two weeks, but I’m confident over the next couple of years that we can make very good progress and make this team much more competitive than it is today," he said. "Everything will be here to be successful. The new training facility that will come on board at some point this year is fabulous. We want to have the energy to be a team that can attract free agents out of the league, as well as players from abroad. I think there are going to be a lot of resources here to allow us to make this team much more successful than it is today."
What isn't clear is what this means in real numbers in New England. Arena downplayed spending, specifically mentioning the Atlanta model that worked well last season but has had issues in 2019.
"I think it’s difficult to peg a number, as you say. I think there’s a new Collective Bargaining Agreement coming up for next year, so that’ll establish the spending in the league. I don’t think any club in the league needs to spend the way Atlanta spends. You can be successful without being the top spender in the league. If you follow the history of the league, the team that spends the most money doesn’t win every year and, actually, most cases they don’t. I think we can smart about how we spend and still be positioned to be much more competitive and ultimately one day win an MLS Cup."
The Concacaf U-17 Championship ended with the USMNT losing 2-1 to Mexico in extra time. Griffin Yow put the USMNT up in the 9th minute with Mexico's Santiago Munoz equalizing in the 17th. Israel Luna scored their winner in the 108th.
In MLS, LAFC beat FC Dallas 2-0 at Banc of California Stadium. Carlos Vela scored in the 39th minute with Diego Rossi doubling the lead in the 83rd. Tyler Miller didn't need a save to keep the clean sheet with LAFC out shooting Dallas 28 to 7, 6 shots on goal to none.
Moving to England, Lynden Gooch subbed on in the 69th minute for Sunderland's 0-0 draw at Portsmouth. Sunderland advanced to the League One playoff final 1-0 on aggregate. In the Liga MX playoff semifinal first-leg, William Yarbrough was on the bench for Leon's 1-0 win at Club America. Jose Macias scored in the 70th minute in a game that had to be rescheduled and moved to Queretaro due to air quality concerns in Mexico City.
"What we have done is rekindle that relationship between the supporters and the club," Sunderland manager Jack Ross said. "As a group of players, they recognize and buy into it and reflect how the fans feel about their club."
MLSsoccer's Bobby Warshaw explains LAFC's advantage at the top of the Western Conference. The Guardian's Tom Dart looks at the Chicago Fire's decision to return to Soldier Field.
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