We’re back with the Leagues Cup for Thursday’s soccer news, starting with New England beating Atletico San Luis 5-1 at Gillette Stadium. Giacomo Vrioni opened the scoring for the Revolution in the 15th with Atletico’s Mateo Klimowicz equalizing in the 22nd. Gustavo Bou scored for New England in the 29th and an own-goal made it 3-0 in the 32nd. Vrioni finished off the scoring with goals in the 39th and 60th minutes with New England advancing from East 4.
“I think our counter attacks were effective,” New England coach Bruce Arena said. “I think, as the game went on, the passing got better. In the first-half, we were a little fortunate. Djordje (Petrovic) made some big saves. That game could have been a little closer at halftime than 4-1. And the second half, the fifth goal was obviously huge, and the game was basically over at that point. But the team played well.”
DC United won 1-0 at Montreal on a 70th minute Erik Hurtado goal to advance from East 2. DC goalkeeper Alex Bono made four saves for the shutout.
NYCFC beat Toronto 5-0 at Red Bull Arena, taking the lead from a 30th minute Maxime Chanot goal. Monsef Bakrar doubled the lead in the 45th and Santiago Rodriguez added a goal two minutes into stoppage time. New York’s Andres Jasson made it 4-0 in the 56th and Rodriguez scored again in the 75th. Toronto finished a man down with a red card to Shane O’Neill in the 84th minute. NYCFC goalkeeper Matthew Freese made one save to keep the clean sheet. NYCFC is tied with Atlas on three points in East 3 with Atlas playing Toronto on Sunday.
“There will be many positives today and there will be many negatives,” NYCFC coach Nick Cushing said. “Let’s not get blinded by the goal because we had the best performance of our whole season against Charlotte, and we drew. So, it’s just about staying on the road, staying on the journey, and enjoying it. And we’ll get ready to work.”
Philadelphia advanced from East 1 with a 5-1 home win over Queretaro. Daniel Gazdag put the Union up in the 30th and converted a penalty in the 39th. Nathan Harris made it 3-0 in the 43rd with Gazdag converting another penalty in the 63rd. Queretaro’s Raul Sandoval pulled a goal back in the 84th, but Jack McGlynn finished off the Philadelphia scoring in the 89th minute.
Monterrey beat Real Salt Lake 3-0 at America First Field, taking the lead from an 8th minute own-goal. German Berterame added goals in the 13th and 74th minutes. Goalkeeper Esteban Andrada made three saves for the shutout. With head-to-head results as the first tiebreaker, Monterrey takes over from RSL at the top of West 2 with a game remaining against Seattle on Sunday.
Leon beat the LA Galaxy 1-0 at Dignity Health Sports Park on a 58th minute Angel Mena goal to advance from West 3. Leon goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota made three saves.
Tigres beat Portland 2-1 at Providence Park and now holds the tiebreaker over the Timbers at the top of West 1. Evander put Portland up in the 24th with Andre-Pierre Gignac equalizing in the 42nd. Portland went down a man in the 44th after Evander saw red. Jesus Angulo scored for Tigres in the 80th minute. Tigres plays San Jose on Sunday to close out the group stage.
Continuing with the season previews for USMNT players in Europe, the 2.Bundesliga begins its 2023-24 season on Friday and there are two USMNT players involved. Terrence Boyd’s Kaiserslautern finished 9th last season, with Boyd the regular choice at the top of the formation scoring eight league goals. Julian Green made 28 appearances for Furth last season, scoring seven times for a club that finished in 12th-place.
Both of those clubs finished with negative goal differentials last season, with Kaiserslautern at -1 and Furth with -5. Heidenheim won the league and had the highest goal difference with a +31, but Darmstadt finished second with +17. While that was tied for 3rd-best goal difference overall, it’s worth pointing out that Paderborn finished 6th at +24. While breaking into the top six will likely require a double-digit positive goal difference, there are paths to success that don’t necessarily rely on dominant offenses. Heidenheim finished 6th in 2021-22 with a -2 differential.
With Hamburg finishing in 3rd-place and missing out on promotion following a playoff series loss to VfB Stuttgart, it’s easy enough to slot them in as favorites alongside relegated Bundesliga clubs Schalke 04 and Hertha BSC. The gap in points last season between 3rd and 4th was eight. While the difference between 4th and 6th was only three points, 6th-place Paderborn finished with a nine-point lead over 7th-place Karlsruher. Based on last season, that’s the next step for both Kaiserslautern and Furth, separated by four points and with Kaiserslautern only a point behind 7th-place Karlsruher and 8th-place Holstein Kiel.
Unlike England’s Championship, the 2.Bundesliga is an 18-team league without the grind of games that comes with having a second tier with more clubs than the topflight. That creates a different set of expectations for all involved. Kaiserslautern moved into contention for a playoff spot in rounds 17-22, eventually settling at 7th until the final two games of the season that saw them drop to 9th. Furth worked themselves out of trouble last season by round 15, mostly staying between 9th and their eventual 12th-place finish. While it seems like the kind of empty statement that goes along with every season preview, both clubs can use that to expect more from 2023-24.
FRIDAY’S SOCCER TV
World Cup on FS1: England vs Denmark at 4:30am and China vs Haiti at 7am. ESPN Deportes has the Real Betis vs Burnley friendly at 1:30pm. Liga Nacional on Fox Deportes: Real Espana vs Victoria at 10pm ET.
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Photo by the New England Revolution