Maximiliano Urruti Signs with Austin FC

Maximiliano Urruti is heading to Austin…

The 30-year-old Argentine professional footballer has signed with Austin FC.

Maximiliano Urruti “Maxi is a winner with a proven history of scoring goals and creating chances,” sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a club statement. “He’ll help us become more dynamic in the attacking third and we look forward to welcoming him and his family to Austin.”

Urruti was traded to the Houston Dynamo from the Montreal Impact in January 2021, where he ended the season with 7 goals and 4 assists in 30 appearances as the Dynamo finished bottom of the Western Conference, failing to qualify for the playoffs.

“I’m very excited for these new beginnings with Austin FC,” said Urruti. “I’m happy to wear these colors and can’t wait to celebrate with all the fans at Q2 Stadium. Vamos Verde y Negro!”

A former FC Dallas player from 2016-18, Urruti is set to become the first player to make appearances for all three Texas clubs in Major League Soccer.

He has also played for Newell’s Old Boys, Toronto FC and Portland Timbers.

Paulo Nagamura to Serve as Houston Dynamo’s Next Team Manager

Paulo Nagamura is a dynamo

The Houston Dynamo has agreed to terms with the 38-year-old Brazilian former professional footballer and coach to be the team’s next manager, according to ESPN.

Paulo Nagamura

Glenn Davis, the Dynamo’s play-by-play announcer and host of Soccer Matters on ESPN Houston, was the first to report the selection of Nagamura.

Nagamura replaces Tab Ramos, whose contract wasn’t renewed following the 2021 season. The search was conducted by new Dynamo GM Pat Onstad.

Nagamura was most recently manager of Sporting Kansas City‘s reserve side.

In four seasons as Sporting Kansas City II manager, Nagamura recorded a record of 30-61-25, as the organization focused on youth development. He also served as an assistant with the team in 2017. During his time with the team, the Brazilian coached 15 of the organization’s homegrown players, as well as 23 academy products. Included in this group is current Venezia and United States international midfielder Gianluca Busio.

As a player, Nagamura came up through the youth systems of Sao Paulo and Arsenal before signing with the LA Galaxy in 2005, where he won an MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup double.

He later went on to play for Toronto FC, Chivas USA, and Liga MX side Tigres, before finishing his career with SKC.

With SKC, Nagamura won two more U.S. Open Cup titles as well as another MLS Cup crown in 2013. Overall, he made over 270 appearances, scoring 15 goals.

Carlos Vela Remains Major League Soccer’s Highest-Paid Player

Carlos Vela is a major league money-maker…

The 32-year-old Mexican professional footballer and Los Angeles FC star remains Major League Soccer‘s highest-paid player with a guaranteed compensation of $6.3 million, according to the latest round of salary data published by the MLS Players Association.

Carlos Vela

The latest disclosure included players signed during the summer transfer window.

As such the top four wage earners remained the same, with LA Galaxy‘s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez checking in at $6m, Inter Miami CF‘s Gonzalo Higuain earning $5.79m, and Toronto FC‘s Alejandro Pozuelo taking in $4.69m.

Atlanta United FCLuiz Araujo was the only recent signing to crack the top 10, with his guaranteed compensation of $3.94m ranking him fifth. Other notable newcomers were Austin FC‘s Sebastian Driussi, whose guaranteed compensation of $2.69m ranked 15th, while the Vancouver Whitecaps‘ Ryan Gauld came in at 26th in the league with guaranteed compensation of 2.03m.

The average guaranteed compensation for the entire player pool is $418,048 — down slightly from the mark of $423,232 recorded last May, but up 1.5% from the September 2019 mark of $411,996.

The median guaranteed compensation is $200,000, down slightly from the May mark of $210,000. But thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated earlier this year, the latest mark is still up 11.4% from the September 2019 figure of $179,498.

In terms of team payroll based on guaranteed base compensation, there was some movement. The Galaxy moved up from fourth last May to take the top spot with a total guaranteed compensation of $20.32m. The top three were rounded out by Atlanta United ($20.06m) and Toronto FC ($19.27m).

Inter Miami, which had been highest back in May, fell to fourth with a total guaranteed compensation of $17.55m. LAFC was fifth at $15.88m.

The Colorado Rapids, in third place in the Western Conference, had the lowest guaranteed compensation at $9.89m. This was followed by the New York Red Bulls ($9.98m), the Philadelphia Union ($10.57m), the Vancouver Whitecaps ($10.96m) and the San Jose Earthquakes ($11.04m).

The New England Revolution, runaway leaders for the Supporters Shield, had the 20th-highest total guaranteed compensation at $11.68m. FC Cincinnati, set to finish in last place in the league-wide table for the third year running, had the 10th-highest mark at $13.11m.

Major League Soccer’s Highest-Paid Player: LAFC’s Carlos Vela

Carlos Vela has the biggest wallet in Major League Soccer

The 32-year-old Mexican professional footballer, who captains MLS club Los Angeles FC (LAFC), is the league’s highest-paid player with a base guaranteed compensation of $6.3 million, according to salary data published by the MLS Players Association.

Carlos Vela 

Vela edged out Mexican compatriot and cross-town rival Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez of the LA Galaxy for the top spot. While Hernandez had a base salary of $6m compared to Vela’s $4.5m, the LAFC striker won out based on greater guaranteed bonuses, marketing bonuses and agent’s fees which are included in the calculations and annualized over the terms of a player’s contract, including option years.

Inter Miami CF‘s Gonzalo Higuain ($5.79m), Toronto FC‘s Alejandro Pozuelo ($4.69m), Atlanta United FC‘s Josef Martinez ($3.89m) and Toronto’s Jozy Altidore ($3.6m) rounded out the top six earners.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the salary report was the first to take place since September of 2019, with the data current as of the April 15 roster compliance date. The report is also the first since the two sides agreed on a series of Collective Bargaining Agreements with the latest revision taking place in February of this year.

The MLSPA stated that the average base salary for senior roster non-Designated Players has doubled over the last five years, and is currently $398,725. This figure doesn’t include players making the senior minimum ($81,375) or reserve minimum ($63,547) salaries.

The average guaranteed base compensation for the entire player pool is $423,232 up 2.72% from the September 2019 mark of $411,996. The median guaranteed base salary is $210,000. In a sign that the salaries of players at the bottom of the wage scale are improving, the league’s median guaranteed base compensation was $210,000, up 17% from the September 2019 mark of $179,498.

In terms of team payroll based on guaranteed base compensation, Inter Miami‘s is the highest at $17.8m followed by Toronto at $17m. The LA Galaxy ($16.8m), Atlanta United ($16.1m) and FC Cincinnati ($15.5m) completed the top five. The Vancouver Whitecaps had the lowest payroll at $8.7m followed by Austin FC ($9.1m), the Philadelphia Union ($9.3m), Houston Dynamo FC ($9.5m) and the Colorado Rapids ($10.1m).

Yeferson Soteldo Headed to Toronto FC

Yeferson Soteldo is headed to the Great White North

Santos FC, the Brazilian soccer powerhouse, has agreed to transfer the 23-year-old Venezuelan professional footballer and winger to Toronto FC, the Canadian side has revealed.

Yeferson Soteldo

Santos had previously announced the agreement with the Major League Soccer side on Saturday.

Soteldo becomes Toronto’s third Designated Player, joining defending MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo and United States forward Jozy Altidore.

Soteldo’s contract with Toronto runs through 2025.

“I am very excited to come to Toronto FC. It is one of the most important sports organizations in Canada and the United States,” said Soteldo. “It is an MLS Cup champion, has great players, and most importantly, they are always competing to win. They have amazing fans and facilities.”

Soteldo made 104 appearances for Santos, scoring 20 goals and adding 17 assists since joining the club in January 2019.

Soteldo adorned the historic No. 10 shirt, worn by Brazil legend Pele, during his time with O Peixe.

“We are very excited for Yeferson to join our club. He is a dynamic, exciting, fearless player who will immediately improve our already strong roster,” said Toronto FC president Bill Manning. “He checks the boxes of what we were looking for in a DP, an attacking player who adds a different dimension to our side, and I think our fans will be excited to see him in a TFC uniform.”

Soteldo also has one goal and three assists in 19 appearances with the Venezuela national team.

Before joining Santos, Soteldo played for Zamora in Venezuela’s top flight and with Huachipato in Chile’s Primera Division.

Alejandro Pozuelo Named Major League Soccer’s 2020 Most Valuable Player

Alejandro Pozuelo is the most-est…

The 29-year-old Spanish professional footballer, an attacking midfielder for Toronto FC, has been named Major League Soccer‘s 2020 Most Valuable Player.

Alejandro Pozuelo

Pozuelo had nine goals and 10 assists during the coronavirus-shortened regular season, even while the Reds played part of the year in Connecticut because of travel restrictions in Canada.

“I’m very proud because this means a lot and maybe tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, when I start seeing more news, I will believe that I’ve won this award,” he said. “But I’m very proud to represent Toronto. And I know it’s easy to say that I won the award, but it’s something that takes a lot of work to get here.”

His 10 assists were tied for the league lead with Houston‘s Darwin Quintero and Seattle‘s Nicolas Lodeiro. Pozuelo had four goals and two assists during September, earning MLS Player of the Month honors.

Pozuelo is the second Toronto FC player to win the MVP award, following Sebastian Giovinco in 2015. Hailing from Sevilla, he has been with the Reds for the past two seasons. He had 12 goals and 12 assists last year. He had two goals and an assist in his MLS debut.

Pozuelo finished with 35.35% of the overall vote for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award. Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi of LAFC was runner-up and Lodeiro finished third in the poll of players, technical staffs and select members of the media.

In a conference call with reporters, Pozuelo said he feels he’ll only get better.

“I believe in myself, I know I can play good, and I try to do that,” he said. “But I feel like I played three, four, five years at a very good level and next year I’ll try to do the same.”

Toronto finished the regular season 13-5-5 and second in the Eastern Conference standings. The Reds were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by upstart Nashville. Toronto coach Greg Vanney announced last week that he’s stepping down and the Reds have started the search for a new coach.

“Vanney is a very good coach and a very good person and he helped me a lot to win this MVP. I want to say thank you to the coach,” he said. “He leaves now, and next year we’ll adapt to another coach. But I want to say thank you because with him I won this trophy.”

LAFC’s Diego Rossi Scores Two Goals Against Seattle Sounders to Extend Goal Lead in ‘MLS is Back Tournament’

Diego Rossi has extended his lead…

The 22-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer scored his competition-leading sixth and seventh goals of the MLS is Back Tournament, as he led his Los Angeles FC team to a 4-1 win overthe Seattle Sounders on Monday night in the round of 16 near Orlando.

Diego Rossi

Latif Blessing added a goal before halftime for LAFC, which avenged a 3-1 loss to Seattle in last year’s Western Conference final. 

Los Angeles’ Brian Rodriguez added his second goal of the tournament to seal the team’s meeting with Orlando City in a quarterfinal on Friday. 

Forward Bradley Wright-Phillips left the game at halftime for Los Angeles due to an apparent injury.

Will Bruin scored his first goal in more than 15 months for the Sounders, who were perhaps fortunate not to lose by more on a night they were outshot 25-11 overall and 8-4 in efforts on target.

With reigning MLS MVP Carlos Vela opting out of the tournament for LAFC, Rossi has picked up the slack to move two goals in front of Toronto FC‘s Ayo Akinola in the tournament Golden Boot race, with TFC already eliminated.

Rossi put LAFC in front from the penalty spot in the 14th minute. Rossi won the opportunity by inducing Xavier Arreaga into a clumsy challenge, and he finished past Stefan Frei‘s dive with a shot inside the right post.

In the 82nd minute, Rossi capitalized on another error from Arreaga error to score a second goal before Rodriguez added his insurance tally in the 89th minute.

https://twitter.com/MLS/status/1287974017895366656?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1287974017895366656%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fsports.mynorthwest.com%2F1117526%2Fsounders-fall-4-1-lafc-rossi-pair-goals%2F%3F

Victor Rodriguez Named MVP After Seattle Sounders’ MLS Cup Championship Win

Victor Rodriguez is the man of the pitch…

The 30-year-old Spanish professional footballer and Seattle Sounders midfielder has been awarded the MLS Cup MVP trophy, after scoring the second goal in the Sounders’ championship victory over Toronto FC on Sunday.

Victor Rodriguez

Seattle came out on top 3-1 in front of 69,274 fans at a sold-out CenturyLink Field, making it the largest sporting event in the history of the stadium and the largest soccer crowd in the history of Washington State. 

Despite Toronto dominating possession in the first half, Seattle broke the deadlock after a cross-shot from right-back Kelvin Leerdamdeflected in off the unfortunate Justin Morrow.

Despite the introduction of Toronto striker Jozy Altidore off the bench, Seattle doubled their lead with 14 minutes remaining thanks to a fine strike from the edge of the box from Sounders substitute Rodriguez. And the result was put beyond doubt in the 90th minute, whenRaul Ruidiaz out-muscled Chris Mavinga and finished delightfully past Toronto keeper Quentin Westberg

Altidore’s goal soon after was a mere consolation for the visitors.

César Stops Two Penalty Shootout Kicks to Help Brazil Defeat Chile

World Cup 2014

Júlio César is being heralded as Brazil’s saving grace…

The 34-year-old Brazilian footballer, the national team’s goalkeeper, emerged as Brazil’s hero on Saturday after Brazil squeaked past Chile 3-2 in a penalty shootout to advance to the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals.

Julio Cesarorld

After the teams played to a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time at Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, César – a goalkeeper for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Toronto FC – stopped penalty kicks by Mauricio Pinilla and Alexis Sanchez. The match then ended when Gonzalo Jara’s blast clanked off the post.

Brazil’s shootout goals came from David Luiz, Marcelo and finally Neymar, who calmly fired a strike into the left part of the goal after first trying to gauge where Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo would be moving.

The match was played on even terms until the 18th minute, when David Luiz scored from just a few feet away from the goal line after Thiago Silva headed the ball his way following a corner kick.

It initially appeared that the ball had gone in the net off Jara’s foot.

Chile got the equalizer in the 32nd minute when Eduardo Vargas took advantage of a Brazilian defensive blunder and centered the ball to Alexis Sanchez, who fired a perfectly placed strike past a diving César.

Brazil then had a couple of chances before halftime, but a header by Neymar was deflected away by Jara and then a blast off the foot of Fred sailed over the crossbar.

In the 54th minute, Hulk appeared to score the go-ahead goal when he received a cross and fired a shot past Bravo. But English referee Howard Webb waived it off and gave the forward a yellow card, ruling that he had lowered the ball with his arm.

Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari then sent on Jo and Ramires to replace Fred and Fernandinho, respectively, but they were unable to provide the creative spark needed to break down Chile’s resistance.

Bravo’s heroics also were key to keeping the match tied, as he stopped a header from Neymar and a powerful strike from Hulk before the end of the second half.

In extra time, Brazil dominated ball possession but had no answer for Chile’s all-out defensive tactics.

La Roja also proved dangerous with the few chances it had, with Pinilla blasting a shot off the crossbar shortly before the end of extra time.

With the win, the Brazilians, who are seeking their sixth World Cup title, advance to a quarterfinal match on July 4 against Colombia, which defeated Uruguay 2-0.

Bocanegra Signs with MLS’ Chivas USA

It didn’t take long for Carlos Bocanegra to land his next contract…

Following the news of his departure from the Scottish Premier League’s Rangers, the 34-year-old half-Mexican American soccer star has officially signed with Major League Soccer’s Chivas USA team.

Carlos Bocanegra

Bocanegra – who spent last season with Spain’s Racing Santander, where he was on loan from the Rangers – will join the team in Philadelphia to prepare for its upcoming July 12 match against the Union.

The U.S. national team captain becomes eligible to play for Chivas USA on July 9, when the international transfer window opens.

”It feels really good to be coming back home,” said Bocanegra. ”I’ve been following MLS a lot more closely this year, and I got my start here in the league, so I’m excited to [be] seeing personally how much the league has grown.”

Chivas USA traded a first-round draft pick in 2014 and an international roster spot to Toronto FC, which owned the first shot at acquiring Bocanegra.

He’s played 116 games for the United States, including World Cups in 2006 and 2010. He began his professional career with the Chicago Fire and was 2000 MLS Rookie of the Year.

In January 2004, Bocanegra moved to Europe, joining English Premier League team Fulham, where he spent four years. He then went to France, playing for Rennes and Saint Etienne before joining Rangers.

Despite being sidelined for a month with a left hamstring injury suffered while on national team duty last November, Bocanegra became a solid defender for Racing, starting in all 23 games played for the Spanish team. The Rangers did not renew his contract when the loan ended, freeing Bocanegra to return to MLS.

Chivas USA currently has the league’s worst defense, allowing 31 goals while going 3-10-3, last in the Western Conference.

”I’m very excited to join the club,” said Bocanegra. ”I know it’s going to be a big challenge because the club hasn’t been getting the greatest results on the field, but it’s something I’m looking forward to.”