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.