Matias Almeyda To Continue as the San Jose Earthquakes’ Manager

Matias Almeyda isn’t going anywhere…

The 45-year-old Argentine former-footballer-turned-manager has confirmed that he’ll  remain manager of the San Jose Earthquakes and won’t be leaving to take up the reins at Liga MX side C.F. Monterrey.

Matias Almeyda

Since Almeyda was named the Quakes manager last year, there have been speculation that Almeyda would depart. Various reports last week had Almeyda exiting the Quakes to join up with LosRayados, who subsequently hired Antonio Mohamed.

Speaking at his season-ending press conference, Almeyda confirmed that he’s had several offers from different clubs over the course of the year, as well as one national team from South America. He added that his agent, Lalo Hernandez, had met with Monterrey officials.

“I thanked them that they thought about me,” said Almeyda about Monterrey with the help of a translator. “And keeping in mind the contract that I had here, I told them that I cannot keep going with these talks because my mind is here in San Jose and my players. And with the directors, we’ve talked about having project and moving up the hierarchy in this club and which I believe in, and which I’ve projected my life here now.”

Almeyda admitted that the Monterrey job was attractive, but that he sees his future in San Jose.

“A club like Monterrey is tempting to any coach, because they have a very rich squad, a marvelous club, and it’s a club in which any coach would dive in head first,” he said. “If I was in Monterrey and the same thing would have happened, I would have stayed in Monterrey because I keep my word. Many Mexican journalists have called me, throughout these days, which we spoke about. I publicly apologize because I never responded to their calls. So everything that was spoken was their own imagination and lies. That’s why I want to be honest with myself. I’ve been honest with people in San Jose, and I’ve been honest with the approach that Lalo Hernandez had there. I have nothing left to say but thank you to those people.”

Almeyda has previously managed River Plateand Banfield in his native Argentina, as well as Liga MX side Chivas. He said that in his previous stints, he had always left by mutual agreement, and not because he simply wanted to leave for a better job. Almeyda admitted that of the offers he received after his tenure with Chivas ended in 2018, San Jose’s offer was the lowest one economically.

“Coaches always get mad when we get fired,” he said. “We have to be coherent and keep going when we have a contract, although the tempting offers are 10 times larger than where you at.”

He added, “I have a group of players for which I’m grateful for what they put in. There’s staff, directors and owners who have given me all that they can. I’m only left to say that I’m grateful being in this place. I’m hopeful that this place will keep growing, that we can grow in terms of hierarchy every day. That’s why changing clubs doesn’t even cross my mind.”

In terms of next season, Almeyda said he didn’t expect there to be many changes to the Quakes’ roster and that the team would be selective in terms of its reinforcements. This despite the fact that while San Jose recorded a 23 point improvement this season, it failed to reach the MLS Cupplayoffs, losing nine of its last 11 games.

Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez Scores for Record-Setting 11th Straight Match

Josef Martinez has kicked his way into the MLSrecord books…

The 26-year-old Venezuelan professional footballer, a striker for Atlanta United FC, scored for the 11th straight match, a Major League Soccer record, and his team cruised to a 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers on Sunday night at Portland’s Providence Park.

Josef Martinez

The win was Atlanta’s seventh in the past eight games across all competitions, and it vaulted them into first place in the MLS Eastern Conference. With goal differential as the tiebreaker, Atlanta United (14-9-3) took over first place from the Philadelphia Union, though both teams are on 45 points.

The Timbers (11-10-4) missed a chance to move up to fourth place in the Western Conference. The loss kept them in seventh place with the third tiebreaker advantage over FC Dallas, which is total goals scored.

Portland lost for just the second time in 10 league matches in a rematch of the two teams that played for the MLS Cuplast December, won by Atlanta. The Timbers have played three games of a 10-game homestead.

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez scored off a rebound of a blocked shot from Martinez in the 14th minute, and Atlanta took a 1-0 lead into halftime despite numerous chances for the Timbers.

The Timbers couldn’t convert an on-target header from Jeremy Ebobisse, saved by Brad Guzan in the 42nd minute, and had an apparent goal nullified by an offside call.

Atlanta United was close to a 2-0 lead in extra time of the first half, but Steve Clark stopped Ezequiel Barco‘s breakaway shot. They took the 2-0 lead 45 seconds into the second half when Martinez chipped an open shot past Clark after a pinpoint assist from Julian Gressel.

Martinez raised his season goal total to 21.

Portland defenderJulio Cascante had a header miraculously saved by Guzan, who had five saves, in the 64th minute.

Cristian Pavón to Play for the MLS’ LA Galaxy

Cristian Pavón is headed to a galaxy far, far away…

The LA Galaxy have completed the loan signing of the 23-year-old Argentine professional footballerfrom Argentina’s Boca Juniors, the club has revealed.

Cristian Pavón

Pavon becomes the first signing for the Major League Soccerside in this transfer window.

“Cristian is a young and dynamic attacking addition who has the talent to be one of the most effective offensive players in Major League Soccer,” LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese said in a statement.

“He is a high-caliber player who will be a valuable piece to our roster moving forward. By providing him with a stable environment and a coach he knows well, we are confident that he can continue to grow and improve as a player within our club. We are extremely excited to add him to our squad and look forward to his contributions with the LA Galaxy.”

Sources told ESPN FC that the Galaxy attempted to sign the forward on a permanent deal but were unable to agree on a fee.

Both clubs have now negotiated an agreement, which will see the Argentina international join on loan for the remainder of the campaign.

Pavon played every match for Argentina in the 2018 World Cupin Russia and scored four goals in 19 appearances for Boca last season.

Portland Timbers Finalize Transfer of Brian Fernandez from Necaxa

Brian Fernandezwill be playing Major League Soccer soon…

The Portland Timbers have completed the transfer of the 24-year-old Argentine footballer from Necaxa, according to ESPN FC.

Brian Fernandez

While multiple outlets reported in recent weeks have reported that the terms of the deal had been finalized, the Athletic was first to report that the transfer is complete, with Fernandez securing his work visa in the last few days.

No word on the precise fee, but it reportedly dwarfs the previous club record of close to $5 million the Timbers paid for Lucas Melano back in 2017, though it’s not as high as the $12 million previously reported.

Fernandez can play either as a central striker or on the wing, and is expected to arrive in Portland as early as Monday. The signing also concludes the Timbers’ lengthy and at times public search for a new attacking piece, which saw them linked with the likes of the Tigresduo of Julian Quinones and Eduardo Vargas, as well as AEK Athens‘ on-loan attacker Ezequiel Ponce.

It is also believed that Fernandez won’t have to serve out the remaining two games of a three-game suspension he recently was handed following a red card and then a subsequent altercation with a fan as he left the field, though MLS will ultimately have the final say.

While it was an ignominious end to his Necaxa career, Fernandez’s stint with Los Rayos resurrected his career. While on the books of Racing Club, Fernandez was suspended for a year by CONMEBOLfollowing a failed drug test in which he tested positive for cocaine.

A series of loan stints followed with the likes of Sarmiento, Metz and Union La Calera, but his time with Necaxa proved highly productive, with the Argentine scoring 12 goals in 15 games during the current Clausura. Overall, Fernandez scored 18 goals in 32 league and cup appearances.

Fernandez joins the Timbers with three games remaining in Portland’s season opening 12-game road swing due to renovations at its home venue, Providence Park. The Timbers have so far gone 3-5-1 and sit in ninth place in the 12-team Western Conference.

Prince Royce Appears in Major League Soccer’s New “Our Soccer” Campaign

Prince Royce is ready for some futbol…

Major League Soccer has revealed its newest campaign titled Our Soccer, featuring the 29-year-old Dominican American bachat asinger.

Prince Royce MLS Campaign

The campaign — produced by The FADER and Cornerstone, MLS’ creative agency of record, and directed by Clayton Vomero— expresses the unique experience of being an MLS fan and the growth of the soccer movement in North America.

“The ‘Our Soccer’ campaign captures the unique spirit, confident attitude and diverse environment that embodies MLS,” said David Bruce, MLS vp/brand and integrated marketing in a statement.

The spot, voiced by Prince Royce in Spanish and English, features him wearing Inter Miami CF gear, the MLS expansion club co-owned by cultural icon David Beckham, while at a party watching a soccer game alongside producer and DJ TOKiMONSTA, who wears a Los Angeles Football Clubjersey.

Prince Royce said, “I think it’s one of the sports that has the most passion. You see so many cultures, languages — that’s the great thing about music and the great thing about soccer.”

“MLS truly marries culture and sport and unites players and people from diverse backgrounds like no other sport in North America,” added Jon Cohen, co-ceo of Cornerstone and co-founder and co-ceo of The FADER.

Josef Martinez Makes MLS History with His ‘Golden Trifecta’ 

Josef Martinez has etched his name into the annals of soccer history…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan professional footballer, a striker for the Major League Soccer club Atlanta United, has become the first player in MLS history to be named the MVP of the All-Star Game, season and MLS Cup.

Josef Martinez

Martinez capped the Golden Trifecta by being named the MVP of Saturday’s title game, a 2-0 win over Portland at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Martinez scored the opening goal and added an assist on Franco Escobar’s capping goal.

Martinez is the third player in MLS Cup history to score a goal and add an assist in the same final. He is the second player in MLS Cup history to score a goal in the final in the same year as winning the Golden Boot.

Martinez was named the league MVP after setting an MLS single-season scoring record with 31 goals during the regular season.  He added four more in the playoffs to set a league record for goals in a season.

He was named MVP of the All-Star game after scoring a goal against Juventus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“I am most happy with the (MLS) Cup,” he said. “I think this team has had an incredible year, and I think we just have to appreciate the work of everyone this season, the players and coaching staff, because even though we had some ups and downs as a team, everyone on this team contributed something and made sacrifices. This is a win that we want to celebrate because it has been a long year and thank God also.”

Cheered on by the largest crowd in franchise history, United captured the crown in just its second season to set off a huge celebration in a city that has known so much sporting heartbreak. Owner Arthur Blank got to lift the trophy — less than two years after his other team, the NFL‘s Atlanta Falcons, squandered a 25-point lead in an epic Super Bowl collapse.

Josef Martinez Leads Atlanta United FC Into the MLS Eastern Conference Final

Josef Martinez is kickin’ it into high gear…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan soccer player has helped put Atlanta United FC through to the MLSEastern Conference final.

Josef Martinez

Martinez scored twice, including on a penalty kick in the 25th minute, and host Atlanta defeated New York City FC 3-1 on Sunday to claim the home-and-home semifinal series by a 4-1 aggregate.

Atlanta held the edge in the tie after winning the first leg 1-0 last weekend at Yankee Stadium.

Martinez, who set an MLS record with 31 goals in the regular season, was awarded the penalty kick after NYCFC defender Ismael Tajouri-Shradi was called for taking down Atlanta’s Franco Escobar in the penalty area. Escobar drove the right wing to the end line and then tried to turn around, bumping into Tajouri-Shradi.

Josef Martinez

Martinez clinched the victory with a goal in the 83rd minute off a pass from Eric Remedi, who lobbed the ball over the NYCFC back line to spring Martinez. His 15-yard shot beat Johnson just inside the right post.

Atlanta will play either the New York Red Bulls or the Columbus Crew in the conference final.

Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez Matches Major League Soccer Record for Goals in a Season

Josef Martinez is kicking his way into the MLS record books…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan soccer star has matched the Major League Soccer record for goals in a season with nine games remaining, as he scored his 27th of the year for Atlanta United on Sunday.

Josef Martinez

Martinez is on pace to blow past the league’s previous high, which was set by Roy Lassiter in the inaugural MLS season in 1996 and matched by Chris Wondolowski in 2012 and Bradley Wright-Phillips in 2014.

Martinez received a pass in the attacking third and made a run toward goal, turning a defender before curling a shot past Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen from just inside the box to put his team ahead in the 31st minute.

The goal was his 46th in 45 career regular-season MLS games, and it broke the record he shared with David Villa for goals in a player’s first two seasons in the league.

All but one of Martinez’s goals have come from inside the 18-yard box, with his strike on Sunday from 17.8 yards the second-farthest he has scored in MLS since he signed from Torino last year.

Martinez broke the record in the 69th minute but his header went off the crossbar. Atlanta went on to win 3-1 to claim the best point total in MLS.

Martinez has scored in eight straight games, matching the second-longest streak in league history and one shy of the record Diego Valeri set with the Portland Timbers last year.

He’ll get the chance to extend his streak — and break the season goals record — on Friday at Orlando City, which has lost 13 of its last 15 games and has been outscored 43-18 in that span.

MGM Developing TV Series Based on the Life of Luis Miguel

He’s known as El Sol de México, but Luis Miguel’s light could soon shine beyond the Mexican border.

MGM is developing a television series based on the life of the 46-year-old Mexican superstar, an icon in Latin America.

Luis Miguel

The project hails from a Spanish-language joint production venture MGM set with Mexican entrepreneurs Miguel Aleman and Antonio Cue.

Aleman and Cue’s Gato Grande Productions aims to develop content for the worldwide market. Expanding into Spanish-language production has been a goal of Mark Burnett, president of MGM Television and Digital.

“We see the value of premium content for the Spanish-speaking market throughout the world, and we look forward to many additional projects across all platforms that we can now develop with Antonio, Miguel and Gato Grande. This is only the beginning,” Burnett said.

A native of Puerto Rico, Miguel got his start in music as a teenager in the early 1980s, winning a Grammy in 1985 at the age of 14 for his duet with Sheena Easton, “Me Gustas Tal Como Eres.” He has collected another four Grammys to date and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

“It has taken me a long time to want to tell my story and I have been looking for the right team to tell it the way it should be told,” Miguel said.

Aleman is a radio and TV entrepreneur and former Televisa executive. Cue is the grandson of a founder of the Mexican brewery Grupo Modelo and is a former owner of the Major League Soccer team Chivas USA.

“Antonio and I have been looking to get into the content business for some time and after forming a deep personal relationship with Mark, we knew that the timing and opportunity were just right.” said Aleman. “To be able to launch our company Gato Grande with the story of Luis Miguel, one of the most important, legendary talents in music, is very exciting,” added Cue.

Carla Gonzalez Vargas, an author and filmmaker who helmed the 2015 documentary Alivio, will oversee the Miguel series in her role as Gato Grande’s head of development.

Arrieta to Bare All in ESPN the Magazine’s annual The Body Issue

He may play for the Chicago Cubs, but that doesn’t mean Jake Arrieta isn’t afraid to show he’s also a Chicago Bare

ESPN has released the starting lineup for ESPN the Magazines annual The Body Issue, in which the world’s top athletes take off all their clothes and pose for photographs that help celebrate the athletic form.

Jake Arrieta

And the 30-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star, the MLB wins leader in 2015, has made the cut, along with UFC fighter Conor McGregor, U.S. women’s national soccer team member Christen Press, Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade.

Arrieta, who is following up his 2015 Cy Young Award-winning season with an impressive 2016 campaign, is a well-known fitness fanatic. He’s lauded the use of Pilates as part of his remarkable comeback story. He currently has an 11-1 record with a sparkling 1.74 ERA for the Cubs in 14 starts this season.

The Body issue will also feature the first transgender athlete to appear in its pages, American duathlete Chris Mosier. Retired diver Greg Louganis — at age 56 — is the issue’s oldest.

“HIV taught me that I’m a lot stronger than I ever believed I was,” Louganis said. “I didn’t think I would see 30, and here I am at 56.”

ESPN hasn’t released the full listyet, but has said the issue will include ten men and nine women.

Arrieta is the latest Latino athlete to be featured in ESPN the Magazine’s The Body Issue, including Major League Soccer star Omar Gonzalez, Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton and futbolista Carlos Bocanegra.