Fernando Gago Named New Head Coach of Liga MX’s Chivas

Fernando Gago is headed to Liga MX

The Mexican soccer league’s Chivas have hired the 27-year-old Argentine football manager and former player as their new head coach.

Fernando Gago,Gago replaces Veljko Paunovic (21W-8D-13L), who mutually parted ways with Liga MX’s second-most successful side on December 15 after a disappointing quarterfinal playoff exit in the 2023 Apertura season. 

Although Paunovic initially exceeded expectations with a run to the 2023 Clausura final in his first season in charge, this season’s quarterfinal exit, coupled with a failure to qualify for the knockout round of the summer’s inaugural MLS-Liga MX Leagues Cup tournament, ultimately led to his departure.

Gago will now begin his third managerial job — and first outside of his home country — after previously leading Racing Club (2021-23) and Aldosivi (2021).

With Aldosivi, Gago produced inconsistent results and resigned in October 2021 after suffering seven defeats in a row.

Brought on by Racing Club weeks later, Gago closed out the 2021 Liga Profesional de Futbol season with a 3W-0D-5L record.

After mixed performances in 2022’s Copa de la Liga Profesional, Copa Argentina and Copa Sudamericana, Racing Club eventually gained steam with a second place finish in the 2022 league season, a Trofeo de Campeones title and a Supercopa Internacional championship in January 2023.

However, questionable results returned, including a 12th place finish in the regular season, which led to Gago’s exit in early October.

Despite being plagued by injuries as a player, Gago collected 61 caps for Argentina‘s national team, as well as a long list of club titles through Boca Juniors, Real Madrid and Velez Sarsfield.

The midfielder also played abroad for Roma and Valencia.

Chivas return to play in January for the 2024 Clausura season. The Guadalajara side are second in Liga MX’s all-time list for championships with 12, but have only lifted once league trophy since 2007.

On Sunday, historic rivals Club América secured their 14th Liga MX title after defeating Tigres 4-1 on aggregate in the 2023 Apertura final.

Héctor Herrera Named to Mexico’s 24-Man Roster for Upcoming U.S.-Based Friendlies

Héctor Herrera is back on the roster…

Mexico has announced the 24-man roster that will take part in U.S.-based friendlies against Australia on September 9 in Dallas and Uzbekistan three days later in Atlanta, with the 33-year-old Mexican professional footballer making the list.

Héctor Herrera The first-ever roster selection for new manager Jaime “Jimmy” Lozano is highlighted by the return of the veteran Houston Dynamo midfielder and Fulham forward Raúl Jiménez, both of whom were recently left out of the Mexico squad that won the Gold Cup this summer.

Elsewhere in September’s squad, marquee names and usual call-ups for Mexico such as Salernitana‘s Guillermo Ochoa, Feyenoord‘s Santiago Giménez and West Ham United‘s Edson Álvarez made the cut.

New faces that earned first-ever call-ups for Mexico’s senior team include ChivasJesus Orozco, Monterrey‘s Jordi Cortizo and PumasCesar Huerta.

Colombian-born winger Julian Quiñones was not included in the call-up, but Lozano noted earlier on Monday that the Club America player has already committed to a switch to Mexico, pending paperwork.

“It wasn’t our convincing, this was an own decision and we accept it, we validate it, and we are very proud to have a player like Julian Quiñones,” said El Tri‘s coach earlier this week. “His professional career as a soccer player, nearly all of it was developed in Mexico.

“He’s been here for many years, he’s very grateful to the country for the opportunity it provided.”

Due to ongoing trades and moves, Mexico’s coach also said that a few noteworthy players would be left out of the team.

Names like Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, who is set to undergo a medical with PSV Eindhoven ahead of a move from NapoliJorge Sánchez, announced as a Porto addition on Tuesday, Jesus “Tecatito” CoronaCésar MontesGerardo Arteaga and Luis Chávez, who debuted with Dynamo Moscow on Tuesday, were left out of the squad.

Serving as interim coach during Mexico’s Gold Cup-winning run in July, Lozano was given the permanent role earlier in August. September’s roster marks the first selection made by Lozano after previously leading the Gold Cup squad that was chosen by former coach Diego Cocca.

Mexico’s 24-man roster

Goalkeepers: Angel Malagon (Club America), Guillermo Ochoa (Salernitana), Jose Antonio Rodríguez (Club Tijuana)

Defenders: Kevin Álvarez (Club America), Gilberto Sepúlveda (Chivas), Jesus Orozco (Chivas), Jesús Gallardo (Monterrey), Johan Vásquez (Genoa), Julián Araujo (Las Palmas), Jesús Angulo (Tigres)

Midfielders: Carlos Rodríguez (Cruz Azul), Roberto Alvarado (Chivas), Hector Herrera (Houston Dynamo), Luis Romo (Monterrey), Jordi Cortizo (Monterrey), Érick Sánchez (Pachuca), Edson Alvarez (West Ham), Sebastian Cordova (Tigres)

Forwards: Alexis Vega (Chivas), Santiago Gimenez (Feyenoord), Raul Jimenez (Fulham), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul), Orbelín Pineda (AEK Athens), Cesar Huerta (Pumas)

Brian Rodriguez Signs with Club America from LAFC

Brian Rodriguez has joined the Club

The 22-year-old Uruguayan soccer player has officially signed with Club America from LAFC, the MLS club announced.

Brian Rodriguez Club America will pay $6 million, with LAFC also receiving a percentage of any future sale, according to ESPN sources.

“Brian has been an important piece of our attack and a huge reason for all of our success since his arrival in 2019,” LAFC president & general manager John Thorrington said in a team release. “He is a player who is capable of special things, and this move will be a great opportunity for him to continue to develop in a competitive environment.”

Rodriguez, a winger, arrived at LAFC in August of 2019 with big expectations after the MLS side spent around $8 million to secure him from Penarol and make him a young designated player.

Rodriguez, a three-time member of the league’s 22-Under-22 list, helped push his team to the Supporters’ Shield in his first season. In 2021, he had a brief stint on loan with Almeria in Spain’s second division.

He has found his place threatened, though, by the summer arrivals of forwards Gareth Bale and Denis Bouanga.

Rodriguez told TUDN earlier this month that he would be open to a move to Club America, noting that it “would be a great leap.”

The winger will look to regain the attention of Uruguay‘s national team after being left out of World Cup qualifiers and friendlies in 2022.

Rodriguez first debuted with Uruguay in 2019, but has failed to earn international minutes since late last year. Later this year, Uruguay will kick-off their World Cup run with group stage matches against South Korea, Portugal and Ghana.

National team manager Diego Alonso previously coached in Liga MX with Pachuca and Monterrey, as well as with Inter Miami in MLS.

At Club America, Rodriguez will join fellow Uruguayans Jonathan RodriguezSebastian Caceres and Federico Vinas.

The giants from Mexico City currently sit third in the 2022 Apertura standings after winning its last five games

LAFC, along with Rodriguez, recently met Club America in a friendly on August 3 at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium. In a double-header friendly that began with LA Galaxy defeating Chivas 2-0, Club America narrowly beat LAFC on penalties after a 0-0 draw in regulation time.

Liga MX’s Club America Signs Nestor Araujo & Jurgen Damm

Nestor Araujo and Jurgen Damm has joined the Club

Liga MX giants Club America have announced the signings of the 30-year-old Mexican professional footballer and the 29-year-old Mexican professional footballer.

Nestor Araujo & Jurgen DammThe news was made official on Friday, just eight days away from the team’s 2022 Apertura season-opener against Atlas on July 2.

Club America will pay Celta Vigo up to $4 million for Araujo, with $3 million up front and the rest determined by performance-related incentives, according to Spain’s Faro de Vigo.

The central defender has signed a three-year deal with Las Aguilas, reported ESPN MX.

Damm, who has been part of Club America’s preseason training, will have a six-month contract with a possible six-month extension.

Damm has yet to play an official match in 2022 after Atlanta United exercised an offseason buyout of his guaranteed contract in February. Prior to his stint in MLS from 2020-21, he played for Tigres in Liga MX.

Araujo is returning from Europe after a four-season stay with Celta Vigo in LaLiga. He was a key figure for the mid-table Spanish side that narrowly avoided relegation when he arrived in 2018. The veteran will look to continue claiming regular minutes ahead of an expected spot on Mexico’s roster for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The signings of Araujo and Damm follow Club America’s headline-stealing addition of Uruguay forward Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodriguez earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Las Aguilas gained a 5-2 preseason win over Leon at San Jose EarthquakesPayPal Park. Manager Fernando Ortiz and his roster will soon head back to Mexico City, where they will prepare for next week’s start of the 2022 Apertura.

Jonathan dos Santos Joins Liga MX Side Club America

Jonathan dos Santos is headed back to his home country…

The 31-year-old Mexican professional footballer and former LA Galaxy captain has joined Club America, the Liga MX side announced on Thursday.

Jonathan dos Santos

The deal would be for two years, according to ESPN reports, with the Mexico City side announcing on Thursday that the El Tri star had officially joined the team.

The Liga MX Clausura season kicks off on January 7. Las Aguilas finished atop the regular season table of the recently completed Apetura campaign but were ousted in the playoffs, with Atlas winning the title.

Dos Santos was a free agent after the Galaxy stated in late November that it had parted ways with the former designated player.

“I feel I’m in pretty good shape. I am 31 years old. People say that I am coming to retire here; that’s not true. I still have a lot to give in my career and to this club. I am hungry. I want to win titles with América and make the fans happy,” Dos Santos said.

During his time with the Galaxy that started in 2017, Dos Santos made 103 appearances for the club and was selected as an MLS All-Star in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. In his last two years, injuries took a toll on regular appearances.

The move to Liga MX is a first for Dos Santos, who has previously also played in LaLiga for Barcelona and Villarreal. Jonathan’s older brother Giovani, currently a free agent, previously played for Club America before being dropped over the summer.

“Since I was a kid, I dreamed that one day I would play in America. My father played here, Gio too, the Dos Santos’ already made history in this club,” Dos Santos said. “My dad always told us, you have to play for America, you have to fulfill that dream. It’s the best team in Mexico. I left the country 20 years ago, so having the opportunity to return and play for the best team is a big honor for me.”

Dos Santos’ move to Club America comes two days after fellow El Tri teammate Sebastian Cordova left Las Aguilas for Tigres UANL.

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano Among Players Called Up by Mexico for World Cup Qualifiers vs. U.S., Canada

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano is getting called up…

The 26-year-old Mexican professional footballer, who plays for Napoli, will headline a strong squad when Mexico faces its last World Cup qualifiers of 2021.

Hirving "Chucky" LozanoLozano will be joined by Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez and 24 other players by Mexico manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino to face the United States and Canada for two tough road games to close out their 2021 schedule.

El Tri will face the Stars and Stripes on November 12 in Cincinnati before facing off against the Canadians four days later in Edmonton.

In total, Martino named eight Europe-based players to the squad, with Lozano, Jimenez and Porto winger Jesus “Tecatito” Corona once again expected to head Mexico’s attack.

Atletico Madrid‘s Hector Herrera was also recalled, along with veteran central midfielder Andres Guardado (Real Betis).

Edson Alvarez (Ajax), fresh off qualifying to the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League, is another star named to Martino’s squad.

Johan Vasquez (Genoa) and Nestor Araujo (Celta Vigo) are expected to anchor the central defense.

Among those who’ll miss out on this window include Betis winger Diego Lainez and Genk defender Gerardo Arteaga. Lainez has been slowly coming back into the fold for Betis after an injury sidelined him for the first months of the season.

Arteaga, on the other hand, has featured regularly for the Belgian side but has reportedly received the ire of Martino for declining a previous call-up. In Arteaga’s absence, Liga MX stars Luis Rodriguez (Tigres) and Jorge Sanchez (Club America) are expected to start in the full-back positions.

Veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (Club America) heads the goalkeeping position, along with Rodolfo Cota (Leon) and Alfredo Talavera (UNAM).

Other Liga MX-based forwards named to the team include Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey) and Henry Martin (Club America).

With 14 points in six matches, Mexico currently sits first in CONCACAF‘s final round of World Cup qualifying, three more than second-place U.S. and four more than Canada.

Santiago Solari Named New Manager at Club America

Santiago Solari has joined the Club…

Club America has announced that it has hired the 44-year-old Argentine professional football manager and former player, a former Real Madrid manager, to fill the team’s vacant manager position.

Santiago Solari

The Liga MX giants fired Miguel Herrera on December 21 after the club crashed out of the Liga MX playoffs against bitter rival Chivas and then fell to LAFC in the semifinal of the CONCACAF Champions League on December 18.

Solari managed Real Madrid for a short spell between November 2018 and March 2019, before being sacked and replaced by Zinedine Zidane.

At club level, Solari played for River Plate, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, among others. He also made 11 appearances for the Argentina national team.

Solari will oversee his first match for Club America against Atletico San Luis when the Liga MX Clausura begins on January 9.

Austin FC Selects Joe Corona in the 2020 Expansion Draft

Joe Corona is heading to the Lone Star State…

MLS expansion side Austin FC made five selections in the 2020 Expansion Draft, headlined by the 30-year-old Mexican American soccer player and former LA Galaxy midfielder.

Joe Corona

The acquisitions bring the total number of players on Austin’s roster to 11 ahead of its debut season in 2021.

Austin sporting director Claudio Reyna selected San Jose Earthquakes forward Danny Hoesen with the team’s first selection. In four seasons with San Jose, Hoesen scored 23 goals and added 12 assists in 104 league and playoff appearances, but saw the field just eight times in 2020 after dealing with oblique and adductor issues that eventually required surgery. Combined with the fact that he is out of contract and earned $500,000 in 2019 (the last year that salary data from the MLS Players Association was available), his selection was something of a surprise. But Reyna said that when Hoesen became available he jumped to the top of Austin’s list.

“I’m a big believer in guys, when they get a clean start, come to a new club, work under a new coach, that they get back to their levels,” Reyna said about Hoesen. “A couple years ago he scored many goals and we feel that he’s got that ability to again.”

Austin chose New York Red Bulls midfielder Jared Stroud with its second selection. Stroud, 24, made 20 appearances for the Red Bulls in 2020, 11 of them starts and recorded two assists. He had spent two seasons with New York Red Bulls II in the USL Championship.

With its third pick, Austin selected Nashville goalkeeper Brady Scott. A U.S. youth international, Scott spent three years with German side FC Koln, spending most of his time playing in the 3. Liga with the club’s reserve team. He was acquired by Nashville last August, and then immediately loaned out to Sacramento Republic in the USL Championship where he made two appearances.

Corona was chosen with the fourth pick, and is expected to provide Austin with a steady presence in the center of midfield. Corona has experience abroad having played in Mexico for Club Tijuana, Club America, Veracruz and Dorados. He spent the last two seasons with the Galaxy making 49 league and cup appearances, scoring two goals. Corona has also made 23 appearances with the U.S. national team, scoring three goals.

“He’s a calm player, an experienced player,” said Austin manager Josh Wolff about Corona. “He’ll be good in the buildup, he’s comfortable on the ball, and I think he’s a facilitator who will be able to circulate the ball side to side.”

Austin chose Orlando City defender Kamal Miller with its fifth selection, but immediately traded him to the Montreal Impact in exchange for $225,000 in General Allocation Money and the 11th overall pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft.

Austin FC Signs Cecilio Dominguez as the Team’s Designated Player

Cecilio Dominguez is headed to Central Texas…

The 26-year-old Paraguayan professional footballer has signed with Austin FC as the MLS expansion side’s first Designated Player.

Cecilio Dominguez

Dominguez moves to Austin from Argentine giants Independiente, where he spent last season after moving over from Club America.

Dominguez will remain on loan for the remainder of the 2020 season before joining his new team in January of 2021.

“Cecilio is the type of player we wanted for our first Designated Player signing. He’s a young but experienced, attacking international who joins us from one of the biggest clubs in South America,” said Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff. “His dynamic forward play will translate well to MLS.

“He is an attacking player well known to Liga MX fans, with a broad skillset, good movement off the ball and the ability to come inside and create scoring opportunities by himself. He can score with both feet and his head, and he is a true team player. His club experience in Mexico, Paraguay, and Argentina, alongside his national team history with Paraguay, adds a significant threat to our forward line. He’s a player fans will be pleased to see when we start play in 2021.”

Dominguez, who is the club’s second signing, scored eight goals and provided six assists in 42 games for Independiente, and scored 21 goals in 74 matches for America prior to that.

Austin FC sporting director Claudio Reyna said he had no shortage of suitors for his services.

“He chose Austin FC as opposed to staying in Argentina with the likes of Boca Juniors showing serious interest,” said Reyna.

“Both ways it shows the belief we have in him and likewise him in our staff and the way we’re absolutely going to get him back to his highest level. He just turned 26 and has so much to look forward to. It’s the challenge we talk about with every player … there’s no doubt that he’s going to find his form and be a really impactful player for us.”

Dominguez, who has also had stints at Paraguayan clubs Nacional and Cerro Porteno, has appeared 17 times for his country but has yet to score.

Giovani dos Santos Kicks Winning Penalty in Club America Debut

Giovani dos Santosis debuting with a banger…

The 30-year-old Mexican professional footballer kicked the winning penalty in his Club America debut as the Liga MX giants overcame Houston Dynamo 6-5 on penalties in the quarterfinal of the Leagues Cup on Wednesday after the game had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Giovani dos Santos

Nico Benedetti had given America the lead in the 73rd minute inside BBVA Stadium, but veteran DaMarcus Beasleystruck a golazo from a tight angle five minutes from time to take the game to penalties after a close-fought 90 minutes.

Dos Santos, a former Barcelonaforward, entered the field in the 57th minute with the score at 0-0 in his first appearance for a Mexican club and was involved in the build-up as Colombian Benedetti latched onto a Nico Castilloback-heel to break through the Dynamo defense and finish.

Houston coach Wilber Cabrerahad made changes to his usual starting XI for the team’s first Leagues Cup game, but the Texan team battled hard in the first half and was the more dangerous side, with America not appearing secure at the back.

But Las Aguilas improved after the break, took the lead through Benedetti and looked to be on course for victory, until 37-year-old Beasley’s late equalizer for the Dynamo.

America goalkeeper Agustin Marchesinsaved Romell Quioto‘s first penalty and Roger Martinezhad the opportunity to win it in round five of the shootout, but his spot kick went over the bar. Dos Santos’ winner came after Samuel Junquahad failed to convert his penalty for the Dynamo.

America will face the winner of Real Salt Lakeversus Tigresin the semifinal of the tournament on August 20, with LA Galaxytaking on Cruz Azulin the other side of the draw.

The Leagues Cup final is on September 18 in Las Vegas.