Lionel Messi Reportedly In Talks to Join MLS’ Inter Miami

Lionel Messi may be playing Major League Soccer next season…

The 35-year-old Argentine professional footballer is reportedly close to an agreement with Inter Miami to join the team after the conclusion of the 2022-23 European season, according to the Sunday Times.

Lionel Messi Messi would be the highest-paid player in MLS history and also the highest-profile player to ever play in MLS.

Inter Miami is co-owned by David Beckham, the man who made waves in the 2000s when he came to MLS to play for LA Galaxy.

The Sunday Times also reports that Inter Miami is looking to recruit players who have played with Messi previously in Europe to join him in the United States.

Messi currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in France’s Ligue 1 after playing most of his career at Barcelona. Messi established himself as one of the best players ever at Barcelona and has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards given to the best player in soccer.

Messi joined PSG ahead of the 2021-22 season after he couldn’t come to a contract agreement with Barcelona amidst the club’s financial issues. Messi scored 474 goals in 520 LaLiga appearances for Barcelona and tallied a staggering 96 goals over 69 appearances over the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons as Barcelona was one of the best squads modern soccer history.

Messi’s contract with PSG is up at the end of the season and a possible move to MLS has long been rumored. It’s unclear how much he’d actually play for Inter Miami after he would join the team in 2023. Major League Soccer’s schedule doesn’t match up with the schedule for major European club soccer. Combine the overlapping schedules with the 2022 World Cup and Messi would be facing over 14 straight months of soccer without a break if he joined Inter Miami as soon as PSG’s season was over and immediately featured in the squad.

Ilie Sanchez Hits Game-Winning Penalty Kick to Give Los Angeles FC Its First MLS Cup Title

Ilie Sanchez has helped lead the Los Angeles FC to its first Major League Soccer championship…

The 31-year-old Spanish professional footballer hit the game-winning goal in an epic championship match at Banc of California Stadium against Philadelphia Union to give the LAFC the teams first MLS Cup title

Ilie SanchezSanchez and his LAFC teammates beat the Philadelphia Union on penalty kicks after a 3-3 draw for the ages – and also making the hosts the first team to complete a Cup-Supporters’ Shield double since Toronto FC in 2017.

Gareth Bale’s thunderous 128th-minute equalizing header sent the game into penalty kicks, showing exactly why the Black & Gold signed the superstar forward this summer as he left Real Madrid. That canceled out a possible man-of-the-match performance from Philly center back Jack Elliott, whose first equalizer booked extra frames, and then his go-ahead 124th-minute strike pushed the Union on the verge of a first MLS Cup trophy.

But Bale came up huge with the final whistle nearing, and back-up goalkeeper John McCarthy took the hero’s cape in the PK shootout by saving two Union efforts – from Jose Martinez and Kai Wagner – after Daniel Gazdag sent the Eastern Conference champions’ first attempt over the crossbar.

LAFC first got scores from Denis Bouanga and Ryan Hollingshead in PKs, then Ilie Sanchez’s game-winner from the spot sealed a 3-0 advantage for the Black & Gold from 12 yards out.

From there, celebrations ensued for the Western Conference champions before their 3252 supporters’ section – all in a final that pitted the league’s top two teams against each other for the first time since 2003.

FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira Named the MLS Young Player of the Year

Jesus Ferreira is celebrating a major MLS honor… 

The 21-year-old Colombia professional soccer player, a forward for FC Dallas, has been named the MLS Young Player of the Year after matching the franchise record for goals in a season.

Jesus FerreiraFerreira scored 18 goals to share the record with Jason Kreis (1999) and Kenny Cooper (2008). The 18 goals tied for fourth best in Major League Soccer this season, with Nashville SC‘s Hany Mukhtar leading the league with 23. 

Ferreira also netted a goal from the penalty spot during Dallas’ shootout win over Minnesota United FC in the MLS playoffs on Monday night.

The YPOTY award is given out to players age 22 and under and was known as Rookie of the Year until being changed in 2020.

Ferreira received 32.4 percent of the votes from a panel of players, technical staff and media.

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada (17.3 percent) finished second and FC Cincinnati forward Brenner (8.2 percent) was third.

Ferreira also had six assists while playing in 33 matches (29 starts) this season. He has 36 goals and 22 assists in 114 career matches (97 starts) for FC Dallas.

Ferreira, who turns 22 on December 24, made his MLS debut at age 16 during the 2017 season.

The United States men’s national team is also expecting Ferreira to be a key contributor for Gregg Berhalter at the World Cup in Qatar. He became the fifth player in USMNT history to score four goals in a match when he turned the trick against Grenada on June 11 in a CONCACAF match.

Almada, 21, had six goals and 12 assists in 29 matches (25 starts) this season, while Brenner, 22, had 18 goals and six assists in 29 matches (22 starts).

FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira Named to 2022 MLS All-Star Game

Jesus Ferreira is getting his all-star moment…

The 21-year-old Colombian professional soccer player, a forward with FC Dallas, is among the 26 players named to the 2022 MLS All-Star Game.

Jesus FerreiraFerrerira will be joined by fellow U.S. men’s national team hopefuls DeAndre YedlinWalker ZimmermanJordan MorrisPaul ArriolaAaron Long and Sean Johnson, along with reigning Major League Soccer award winners Valentin Castellanos and Carles Gil.

For the second year in a row, the MLS All-Star Game will feature a battle against Mexican topflight Liga MX, this time at Minnesota United FC‘s Allianz Field on August 10.

FC Dallas striker Ferreira scored four goals for the USMNT in a 5-0 victory over Grenada last month in the CONCACAF Nations League. At 21, he is the first homegrown designated player in FC Dallas history.

The list also includes Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union), Dayne St. Clair (Minnesota United FC), Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Alexander Callens (New York City FC), Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinnati)Sebastian Driussi (Austin FC), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Kamal Miller (CF Montréal), Diego Palacios (LAFC), Kai Wagner (Philadelphia Union), Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC), Darlington Nagbe (Columbus Crew), Emanuel Reynoso (Minnesota United FC), Ilie Sanchez (LAFC), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas), Taxiarchis Fountas (D.C. United), Raul Ruidiaz (Seattle Sounders FCCarlos Vela (LAFCJavier Hernandez (LA Galaxy), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC).

The Liga MX All-Stars include Julio Furch (Atlas), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Jordan Carrillo (Santos Laguna), Heriberto Jurado (Necaxa), Luis Chavez (Pachuca), Angel Mena (Leon), Julian Quinones (Atlas), Aldo Rocha (Atlas), Kevin Alvarez (Pachuca), Diego Barbosa (Atlas), Hugo Nervo (Atlas), William Tesillo (Leon), Oscar Ustari (Pachuca) and Camilo Vargas (Atlas).

The 19,600-seat stadium was previously revealed as the venue for the interleague exhibition last October, along with the news that Minnesota United’s Adrian Heath would be the coach for the MLS All-Star roster.

The 2022 All-Star Game (kickoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET) will be broadcast live on ESPN in the United States in English, as well as ESPN throughout Mexico and Latin America in Spanish.

In the first All-Star Game meeting between MLS and Liga MX last August, MLS walked away with a narrow win through penalties at LAFC‘s Banc of California Stadium.

Following a 1-1 draw in regulation time, MLS claimed a 3-2 shootout victory thanks to a penalty-winning goal from then-FC Dallas and current U.S. men’s national team striker Ricardo Pepi.

Since announcing a partnership in 2018, Liga MX and MLS have worked together through not only the All-Star Game but also collaborations like the Campeones Cup and Leagues Cup.

Luca de la Torre ThisClose to Transfer to La Liga’s Celta Vigo

Luca de la Torre is joining La Liga

The 25-year-old half-Spanish soccer player, a United States international and Heracles, is thisclose to being transferred to LaLiga side Celta Vigo for a fee near $2 million, sources have told ESPN.

Luca de la Torre,Marca was the first to report that the American is heading to Celta.

One source indicated that de la Torre is set to travel to Vigo and will have a medical on Friday. If all goes well, he will officially sign with the club.

The deal, if completed, would amount to a significant step up in competition for de la Torre, after spending the last two seasons in the Netherlands with Heracles, the most recent of which ended in the club’s relegation to the Eerste Divisie.

Spain is a highly technical league that few American players have played in.

Current Celta manager Eduardo Coudet is familiar with American soccer, however, having played for the Philadelphia Union in MLS and the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers of the now defunct North American Soccer League.

Last month, de la Torre told ESPN that he had an agreement with Heracles that he would be transferred after his second year with the club, regardless of the division the club was playing in. All told he made 64 league and cup appearances for Heracles, scoring two goals.

“There’s always been an agreement between myself and the club that I would transfer this summer, with one year left on the contract,” he told ESPN during last month’s slate of games with the U.S. men’s national team.

Heracles’ relegation, combined with the fact that the U.S. is headed to the World Cup in November, made the move necessary for de la Torre, who is eager to cement his spot on the U.S. team ahead of this November’s World Cup in Qatar, after making a late climb up the U.S. depth chart.

Since the start of 2022, he’s made seven appearances — three of the starts — while recording two assists. In that time, he has impressed U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter with his technical ability in the center of midfield, and it’s very likely he’ll be on the plane to Qatar. He has 11 appearances total with the U.S.

A native of San Diego, Calif., de la Torre played for high-level youth sides Nomads Soccer Club and the San Diego Surf. He moved to English side Fulham in 2013, progressing through their academy and making his professional debut in 2016. But a lack of playing time with the Cottagers meant leaving for Heracles, where he succeeded in proving that he could play on a consistent basis.

“It was a really great move for me,” he told ESPN last month. “I played a lot of minutes in a really good league, and I put myself back into the picture for the national team, which was the whole point of making that move in my career.”

Watford’s Cucho Hernandez to be Transferred to MLS’ Columbus Crew

Cucho Hernandez is headed to the U.S.

The Columbus Crew has reached an agreement for the transfer of the 23-year-old Colombian professional footballer from Watford, according to ESPN.

Cucho HernandezColumbus will pay a club-record fee of just more than $10 million, the source said, confirming multiple reports.

Hernandez will initially occupy a Young Designated Player slot for the Crew and be under contract through the 2025 season.

In 25 Premier League appearances during his lone season in England, Hernandez scored five goals and registered two assists. Watford was relegated to the English Championship after finishing in 19th place last season.

Prior to his time at Watford, Hernandez played three seasons on loan in Spain’s LaLiga: one with Huesca after helping the club earn promotion, then a season with each Mallorca (2019-20) and Getafe (2020-21). He scored 11 goals over those three seasons after a 17-goal campaign in Spain’s second division.

Hernandez has two appearances with the Colombian national team, including the most recent in a friendly against Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

He is expected to be available to play for Columbus, which traded U.S. international Gyasi Zardes to the Colorado Rapids earlier this season, after the Major League Soccer transfer window opens July 7.

The Crew (4-5-4, 16 points) are in 11th place in MLS’ Eastern Conference and have exceeded two goals scored just three times in 2022 and only once since March 12.

Maximo Carrizo Becomes Youngest Player Signing in Major League Soccer History

Maximo Carrizo is making Major League Soccer history…

The 14-year-old Argentine Americam soccer player has signed a homegrown contract with New York City FC, becoming the MLS’ youngest player signing.

Maximo Carrizo It’s the second time in two months that the league has a new record youngest player signing.

Carrizo, who turned 14 on Monday, has broken the record set in January when Axel Kei (14 years, 15 days) signed with Real Salt Lake.

Prior to Kei’s signing with RSL, the previous record had been held by Freddy Adu since 2004.

A midfielder, Carrizo isn’t expected to play a role with the reigning MLS Cup champions’ first team, however he could factor into the club’s plans for NYCFC II, which begins play in the newly formed MLS NEXT Pro League when it begins in March.

“It’s an honor for me and my family to make MLS history by becoming the League’s youngest player to sign a First Team contract,” Carrizo said in a statement. “This is an incredible Club with amazing people, I’d like to thank everyone at NYCFC for believing in me and helping me take the next step in my career. I know I’m young and I have a lot to improve, but I am ready for the challenge and will work hard every day to show everyone what I am capable of.”

He is the second 14-year-old NYCFC has signed to a first-team contract in recent months, joining Christian McFarlane, who signed in September. Carrizo’s contract runs through the 2027 season and includes a team option for 2028.

D.C. United’s Kevin Paredes Signs with Bundesliga Club Wolfsburg

Kevin Paredes is heading to Germany…

Wolfsburg has signed the 18-year-old Dominican American professional soccer player from D.C. United for what the Major League Soccer team said was a $7.35 million transfer fee.

Kevin Paredes

The German club said Paredes signed a contract until the end of the 2025-26 season.

D.C. said the transfer fee is its record high for a sale. The deal includes additional money contingent on performance and a percentage of any future transfer fees.

“Despite his age he’s already gained some experience at first-team level, and as well as the left wing he can also play in the center,” Wolfsburg sporting director Marcel Schafer said. “In addition, he brings pace and dynamism, he’s very agile and nimble on the ball, covers a lot of ground on the pitch and has a really good mentality.”

Paredes came through the D.C. youth academy before making his professional debut as a 16-year-old for Loudoun United, the Washington-based club’s reserve team, in 2019.

The Virginia-born player returned to D.C. in 2020 and went on to make 41 appearances across all competitions, scoring three goals and setting up two more.

“Kevin’s rapid rise from our academy to a first-team starter is a testament to his desire, talent, and commitment,” D.C. president of soccer operations Dave Kasper said in a statement.

 

Paredes has two goals in five appearances for the United States under-16 team. He attended senior national team camp last month but injured his left ankle and left before the exhibition against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

https://twitter.com/VfLWolfsburg_EN/status/1487117451871596549

Portland Timbers Transfer MLS Legend Diego Valeri to Argentina’s Lanús

Diego Valeri is heading home…

The 35-year-old Argentine professional footballer and Portland Timbers midfielder  is heading home to Argentina.

Diego Valeri

The Portland Timbers have announced an agreement with Lanus for the transfer of the 35-year-old Argentine professional footballer and former Major League Soccer (MLS) MVP.

Lanus plays in Argentina’s top division.

A nine-year veteran of the Timbers, Valeri scored 100 goals and 104 assists in 306 matches across all competitions.

He’s the team regular season leader for both goals (86) and assists (91). Valeri is just the third player in MLS history to reach 80 goals and 80 assists in regular-season play. He was named the MLS Cup‘s Most Valuable Player in 2015 when the Timbers defeated the Columbus Crew for the league championship.

In 2017, he was honored as the league MVP after scoring 21 goals with 11 assists. He was a five-time MLS All-Star and in 2020 was named one of the league’s 25 greatest players.

“I do not believe there has been a more impactful Designated Player signing in the history of MLS than Diego Valeri,” Timbers owner Merritt Paulson said in a statement. “He changed what clubs looked for in a DP — not a brand to put fans in the seats and sell sponsorships, but a rising European level talent who chose to make America his home and legacy.”

Valeri also became a beloved member of the Portland community, known for painting playrooms for foster children and jumping into pickup futsal games. Valeri and his family were ardent supporters of the Portland Thorns, the National Women’s Soccer League team. Valeri is a product of the Lanus academy, which he joined at age 9. He went on to play 158 matches with the senior team from 2003-13.

In addition to the transfer, the Timbers and Lanus agreed to a testimonial match in Portland next year, during which Valeri will play a half for each team. Details were not yet announced.

Upon his retirement, Valeri will become an ambassador for the Timbers.

Carlos Ferreira ThisClose to Deal with Houston Dynamo

Things are turning out dynamo-ite for Carlos Ferreira

The Houston Dynamo are closing in on a deal for the 22-year-old Paraguayan football player, a Paraguay youth international and Libertad player, according to ESPN.

Carlos FerreiraESPN sources claim Ferreira is expected to fly to Houston in the next few days to finalize the deal, with the agreed transfer fee around $6 million.

If the deal is completed, Ferreira will join a Houston side in need of attacking help, with Dynamo’s 36 goals in 2021 tied for the second-worst mark in Major League Soccer.

Ferreira began his professional career in his native Paraguay with Olimpia in 2016. He subsequently was loaned to Paraguayan second tier side Independiente FBC, where he scored 13 goals in 19 matches in 2018.

Later that year he moved to Liga MX side Morelia — now Mazatlan — where he went on to score 16 goals in 52 league and cup appearances.

In 2020, Ferreira was loaned to Libertad in his home country, where he has scored 34 goals in 78 league and cup appearances.

At international level, Ferreira has represented Paraguay at under-17, under-20 and under-23 level, but has yet to make an appearance with the senior team.