Tuesday’s soccer news starts with Club America hosting Philadelphia in the second-leg of their Concacaf Champions League semifinal series tomorrow night (9pm ET – FS1). Club America took a 2-0 lead at Estadio Azteca on August 12. Separating the games by over a month that included an international break is an interesting choice. Whether it’s a benefit for either team is part of the scenarios playing out on Wednesday in Chester. Philadelphia coach Jim Curtin summarized that by saying, “A team with nothing to lose is a dangerous team.”
Perhaps, but it’s also a team halfway out of a competition needing something to happen against the 1st-place club in Liga MX. Club America is undefeated eight games into the 2021 Apertura with a +9 goal difference. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is in 5th-place in MLS after 23 league games with a +4 differential. Their last league game a 1-0 home loss to Eastern Conference leaders New England on September 3. The Union played a man up from the 59th minute but were unable to get a goal.
Taking this as another Liga MX vs MLS encounter, it’s no slight against the Union that it’s not going to be easy knocking out Club America. A 1-0 home win over NYCFC on August 8 suggested more, but Philadelphia hasn’t shown enough of an ability to get wins when needed against stronger clubs. What they are doing is keeping games close. Both of their recent losses to New England were by a goal and they drew at Subaru Park back on May 12.
“We have good depth, but at this point in the year we’re still competing for starting positions,” Curtin said. “We’re a good team, we’re not a great team yet. We need to raise our level because people remember how you finish the season, not how you started it.”
On the other side of the bracket, Monterrey has a 1-0 lead over Cruz Azul with that series concluding on Thursday at Estadio Azteca. The Apertura season hasn’t been going all that well for either club. A point separates 7th-place Monterrey from 8th-place Cruz Azul. After their August 11 Champions League semifinal first-leg, they met in league play on August 18 drawing 1-1 at Estadio Azteca. Neither team has played Club America, with those games waiting for the last two weeks of the Apertura season.
FourFourTwo’s Mark White works through what happened to FC Barcelona at the end of the Lionel Messi era. The Independent’s Andy Hampson focuses on Manchester City after losing last season’s final. Fibe ThirtyEight’s John Muller with work being done on soccer statistics. The NY Times’ Rory Smith with the situation for Sheriff Tiraspol.
Peter Vermes has now coached in exactly half of #SportingKC‘s 334 regular season wins all-time, posting a 167-126-100 record since taking the helm in 2009.
The man, the myth, the Sporting Legend. pic.twitter.com/cDkHQT51im
— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) September 14, 2021
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