Rodolfo Pizarro Returning to Liga MX’s Monterrey Side

Rodolfo Pizarro is returning to his old stomping grounds…

Major League Soccer side Inter Miami CF has loaned the 27-year-old Mexican professional footballer and Mexico international to Liga MX club Monterrey, the clubs announced on Tuesday.

Rodolfo Pizarro

It marks a return to Los Rayados for Pizarro, who initially left the club to join David Beckham‘s Miami side as a Designated Player for its inaugural 2020 season. The loan includes an option to make the move permanent.

“This loan gives the club more options to continue managing our roster. We are working tirelessly to acquire the right players that will help us attain our objectives moving forward. We’re glad to have found an opportunity for Rodolfo to continue developing in Mexico and wish him well during his loan,” said Inter Miami CF Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director Chris Henderson.

Pizarro appeared in 47 matches and tallied seven goals and 12 assists during his time at Miami, playing under coaches Diego Alonso and Phil Neville. He played 64 games with nine goals during his first stint with Monterrey.

The Tampico, Tamaulipas native won a Liga MX title in each of his stints with Pachuca, Chivas and Monterrey and also won the CONCACAF Champions League with the latter two sides.

By joining the defending CONCACAF Champions League winners for a second time, Pizarro is set to participate with Monterrey at the Club World Cup in February.

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.

Alfredo Morales In Talks to Join New York City FC

Alfredo Morales is thisclose to a Big (Apple) move…

New York City FC is in talks to acquire the 30-year-old Peruvian United States international and Fortuna Dusseldorf midfielder, according to ESPN.

Alfredo Morales

Dusseldorf tweeted earlier on Tuesday that Morales was in talks with a Major League Soccer side, with German outlet Bild first reporting that the team in question was NYCFC.

Morales has spent the entirety of his career in Germany, rising through the ranks of Hertha Berlin before making his debut with the first team in 2010. Morales then moved to FC Ingolstadt in 2013, where he spent five seasons before signing with Dusseldorf ahead of the 2018-19 campaign. All told, Morales has made over 320 professional appearances, scoring 24 goals.

The Berlin-born Morales was able to represent the U.S. through his father, who served in the U.S. military. The holding midfielder has played 16 times for the U.S., with his last appearance coming in a 4-0 CONCACAF Nations League victory over Cuba on November 19, 2019.

Efrain Alvarez Selected by Mexican & United States Under-23 National Teams

Efrain Alvarez is weighing his options…

The 18-year-old professional soccer player and LA Galaxy forward has been selected by both the Mexican and United States under-23 national teams, as the two nations compete to have Alvarez represent them at the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic qualifying tournament.

Efrain Alvarez

This week, CONCACAF announced the official preliminary rosters for all eight teams participating in the 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament, set to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico from March 18 to March 30. Though Alvarez appears on both the rosters for Mexico and the United States, the player will need to make a decision by March 8, the latest any country can submit their final 20-player roster.

Alvarez, who was born in Los Angeles to Mexican parents, is eligible to represent both countries under FIFA‘s statutes for dual-nationals. In the past, he has played for the United States at the under-15 level before switching to participate with Mexico’s under-15 and under-17 squads. With El Tri, Alvarez played in the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, scoring four goals and guiding Mexico to a second place finish.

However, Alvarez accepted a call into the United States men’s national team last December, for a training camp that included fellow dual-national and LA Galaxy teammate Julian Araujo. Afterward, USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter gushed over Alvarez, praising his ability to play in multiple positions on offense.

“What I saw today in training is [that] he’s a guy you want to be around the ball, a very creative player, has a good change of pace, very good in tight spaces,” Berhalter said at the time.

Berhalter admitted that despite the invitation, Alvarez had not decided whether to pursue a one-time switch to join the United States and cement his international future. Under the new FIFA eligibility rules, players like Alvarez are able to change allegiances before the age of 21 if they have played less than three competitive matches at the senior level.

Mexico will face the United States in the final Group A match on March 24.

Andres Perea Granted Permission to Represent United States

Andres Perea is switching (international) sides

The 20-year-old professional soccer player and Orlando City SC midfielder has been granted a one-time switch from Colombia to represent the United States.

Andres Perea

Perea, a Tampa, Florida native, moved to Colombia at an early age, rising through the club ranks at Atletico Nacional. He went on to represent Colombia at the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2017 and U20 World Cup two years later before joining Orlando City on loan last season.

Perea, who’s at the January camp with the U-23 U.S. men’s team, received the news on his switch from senior side coach Gregg Berhalter. Because Perea played for Colombia in official competition, Perea wasn’t able to take part in the USMNT‘s 6-0 win against El Salvador last December.

“It was a very important decision for me. Colombia is my country as well, but it’s an honor for me to represent the United States as I did Colombia in the past,” Perea said.

The players of the U23 side — which will represent the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics this summer — are training alongside 12 members of the senior group in Bradenton, Florida, with reports of a friendly match against Serbia in the works.

“Andres we find to be a really, really interesting holding midfield player for us,” U.S. U23 coach Jason Kreis said during a conference call. “The amount of ground that he’s capable to cover defensively, I think it’s a little bit different level than some of the other guys that we have in our pool. His processing of the ball, he’s still learning a little bit about that.”

Kreis anticipates men’s Olympic soccer qualifying for North and Central America and the Caribbean will take place during late March in Guadalajara, Mexico, where the CONCACAF tournament last spring was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kreis said he anticipates it will be difficult to access top Europe-based Americans for qualifying. FIFA does not require that clubs release players to under-23 teams. FIFA extended the age limit by a year, keeping the group for qualifying limited to players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997.

Each team reaching the games in Japan can supplement its roster with three players over the age limit. Top Americans are not expected at qualifying, with clubs expected not to make available Christian PulisicWeston McKennieTyler AdamsJoshua Sargent and Giovanni Reyna. All are regulars in league play this season.

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.

Diego Alonso Named Head Coach of Inter Miami CF

Diego Alonsois headed to Miami…

Inter Miami CF has appointed the 44-year-old Uruguayan football coach and former player as their first ever head coach, the club has announced.

Diego Alonso

Alonso most recently served as head coach for CF Monterrey in Liga MX, where he led them to the 2019 CONCACAF Champions Leaguetitle.

“In Diego we found a manager that fits our culture and has a strong desire to build a winning club for our fans,” the club’s sporting director Paul McDonoughsaid in a statement.

“He brings a lot of experience and championship-winning mentality as we begin our drive to be among the best clubs in the Americas. We have big aspirations for our club and believe Diego has the right drive, passion and leadership to accomplish our goals.”

Prior to coaching Monterrey, Alonso guided Pachuca to the CONCACAF Champions League crown in 2017. He also coached clubs in Paraguay and Uruguay before moving to Mexico.

Inter Miami’s inaugural season opens on March 1 at LAFC.

The club also announced the signings of defender Denso Ulysse and goalkeeper Drake Callenderlast week, while they also traded for United States international Juan Agudelo.

Guardado Leads Mexico to 3-1 Win Over Jamaica in CONCACAF Gold Cup Title Match

Andrés Guardado is returning south of the border as Mexico’s new soccer hero…

The 28-year-old Mexican futbol player, who plays for Dutch club PSV Eindhoven and the Mexico national team, scored his fourth goal of the knockout rounds to help propel Mexico to its seventh CONCACAF Gold Cup title Sunday with a 3-1 victory over upstart Jamaica.

Andrés Guardado

Jesus Corona and Oribe Peralta contributed goals as El Tri scored twice early in the second half to ensure this match wouldn’t come down to any calls in the final minutes.

It was a convincing performance for coach Miguel Herrera and his team after some rough play and contentious moments in the previous two games.

Jamaica had made a rousing run to the final, stunning the U.S. in the semis to become the first Caribbean nation to reach the Gold Cup’s championship match. And they looked as though they belonged in the opening minutes, keeping the pressure on Mexico with several promising scoring chances but never putting a shot on goal.

Jamaica hadn’t trailed since early in the second half of its Gold Cup opener before a yellow card helped lead to Mexico’s first goal.

Darren Mattocks scored in the 80th minute to pull the Reggae Boyz within 3-1.

El Tri will face the U.S., the 2013 Gold Cup champions, on October 9 for CONCACAF’S spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

The only way Mexico had been able to score in the knockout rounds before Sunday had been on penalty kicks, all three by Guardado. And two of those came on late, questionable calls.

Against Costa Rica in the quarterfinals, a scoreless game was moments from going to a shootout when Guardado converted his penalty in the final minute of extra time. Mexico had been the better team that day, but that wasn’t the case in the semifinals. Down to 10 men, Panama was on the verge of victory when a disputed hand ball set up a penalty for Guardado in second-half stoppage time, and he scored on another for the winner in extra time.

Mexico had gone 272 minutes since one of its players scored on anything other than a penalty when Guardado put El Tri ahead for good Sunday. Jonathan dos Santos found Paul Aguilar out wide on a free kick, and Aguilar crossed it to Guardado, whose left-footed volley made it 1-0 in the 31st minute. It was his sixth goal of the tournament, one behind Clint Dempsey of the U.S.

Guardado came off to a thunderous ovation from the pro-Mexico crowd of 68,930 at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL‘s Philadelphia Eagles.

Gonzales Added to the Roster for the United States’ CONCACAF Gold Cup

Omar Gonzalez is back in the game for the United States…

The 24-year-old Mexican American soccer star has been added to the roster for the United States’ CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals match.

Omar Gonzalez

Gonzalez, who currently plays for Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy as a defender, had previously started in the U.S.’ World Cup qualifier match against Honduras in February.

On March 26, 2013, he was given the start at central defense in the United States’ 0-0 draw in a World Cup qualifier against Mexico. According to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, Gonzalez “was the man of the match by a clear margin”

The U.S. will play El Salvador in Baltimore on Sunday.

The knockout rounds begin in Atlanta on Saturday, with Panama taking on Cuba, and Mexico facing Trinidad and Tobago. Honduras and Costa Rica also play Sunday in Baltimore.