FC Dallas Star Ricardo Pepi Completes $20 Million Move to FC Augsburg

It’s official… Ricardo Pepi is headed to Alemania

The 18-year-old Mexican American professional soccer player, a forward for FC Dallas and the United States international team, has completed a move to Bundesliga side FC Augsburg.

Ricardo Pepi ESPN previously reported that Pepi was set to move to Augsburg in a deal worth $20 million plus add-ons, the most for a homegrown player in Major League Soccer (MLS) history.

Sources said Dallas will also receive a 10% sell-on percentage for any future moves.

“Moving to Europe after the conclusion of the MLS season was my dream,” Pepi said in a statement Monday. “I believe FC Augsburg and the Bundesliga will prove the perfect settings for me to gain match practice at the top level as a youngster.

“The efforts the FCA club officials put in to sign me were really impressive. As a result, I felt right away that FCA was the right club for me. I can’t wait to meet my new teammates and I want to integrate into the team as quickly as possible. I can hardly wait to get going!”

Pepi enjoyed a remarkable year in 2021 that resulted in his first call-up to the U.S. national team in September. He recorded a goal and two assists in his international debut against Honduras and now has three goals in seven appearances for his country.

Pepi scored 13 goals in 31 league appearances this season for Dallas.

FC Augsburg are embroiled in a relegation battle in Germany’s top flight, sitting in 15th place on 18 points after 17 games.

“We are delighted that Ricardo has decided to join Augsburg despite interest from a number of top clubs around the world,” Augsburg executive Stefan Reuter said.

“We were able to provide him with a clear sporting plan for his future development that convinced him to come here. We are certain that he will continue to improve here in Augsburg and that we’ll have a lot of fun together over the coming years.”

Chris Armas In Talks to Join Coaching Staff at Manchester United

Chris Armas could be headed across the pond…

The 49-year-old Puerto Rican former United States international midfielder and two-time Major League Soccer (MLS) head coach could be headed to Manchester United.

Chris ArmasArmas would reportedly become part of Ralf Rangnick‘s staff, according to ESPN.

A work permit would be needed for Armas, whose last job was head coach of Toronto FC. He previously led the New York Red Bulls to a Supporters’ Shield win in 2019.

Sources have told ESPN that Rangnick, who was appointed head of Red Bull‘s global football projects in 2019, is being allowed to appoint a “small number” of his own coaching staff to work alongside Mike Phelan and Kieran McKenna, both of whom were part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s backroom team.

Another of Solskjaer’s assistants, Michael Carrick, left the club after taking charge of the team for three games before Rangnick’s appointment as interim coach until the end of the season.

Rangnick was asked about the possibility of bringing in his own staff at his official unveiling ahead of the win over Crystal Palace and said any appointments may take time to arrange.

“I’m more than happy to work with the current coaching staff because I need their experience, I need their expertise regarding the current squad,” he said.

“I will obviously try to find one, two, maybe three people who can join us in one or two weeks, but due to the Brexit regulations it’s not too easy.

“Many of my former colleagues, no matter if it’s video analysts or assistant coaches, are in long-term contracts with big clubs, so they are not available right now, and we have to be a bit smart and clever and find the right people.

“I hope that we can get them in here in the next one or two weeks.”

Armas played in MLS for LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire, with whom he won a championship in 1998, and was capped 66 times by the USMNT. He ended his playing career in 2007.

Colombia’s Daniel Elahi Galan Upsets John Isner in Davis Cup Play

Daniel Elahi Galan is celebrating a massive upset…

The 25-year-old Colombian tennis player, ranked No. 111 in the world, defeated American John Isner 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) on Sunday in Davis Cup Finals play.

Daniel Elahi Galan While the Colombian team missed out on advancing to the quarterfinals, Galan and his compatriots can take pride in knowing they eliminated the record 32-time champion Americans from the competition after Americans Reilly Opelka and Jack Sock retired from the decisive doubles match while trailing 3-0 in the opening set against the accomplished Colombian pair of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

U.S. captain Mardy Fish hinted at a lack of passion within his team after the record 32-time champion Americans were eliminated from the Davis Cup Finals with a lopsided loss to host Italy and the humbling defeat by Colombia on Sunday.

“You can see the passion for Davis Cup, playing for their country,” Fish said of Colombia. “It’s infectious for them … These guys are giving fist pumps every other point. It’s impressive, and it’s something that I hope, as a captain, to strive for and get our players to do.”

Italy won the group, Colombia placed second and the U.S. finished last in Group E.

Meanwhile, Russia with second-ranked Daniil Medvedev beat Spain 2-1 in a result that eliminated the defending champion and allowed Serbia with top-ranked Novak Djokovic to advance as the second-best runner-up.

Russia, which is being called RTF (Russian Tennis Federation) for the event amid an ongoing doping suspension in international sport, will face Sweden, the best runner-up, in the quarterfinals.

The other quarterfinals: Italy vs. Croatia, Britain vs. Germany, and Serbia vs. Kazakhstan.

Played in three cities, each matchup on indoor hard courts is a best-of-three series featuring two singles and one doubles match. The six group winners plus the two second-place teams with the best records based on sets and games advanced to the quarterfinals.

The semifinals and final will be played in Madrid.

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.

Jesus Ferreira Leads United States U-23 National Team to Critical Win Over Costa Rica

Jesus Ferreira is leading the American futbol pack…

The 20-year-old Colombian soccer player led the United States U-23 national team to a critical victory in its bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, helping them defeat Costa Rica 1-0 in its opening match of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in Guadalajara.

Jesus Ferreira

Ferreira, an attacker for FC Dallas, scored the game’s only goal in the 35th minute, and the U.S. defense made it stand up, with keeper David Ochoa making a total of eight saves in a Man-of-the-Match performance.

With Mexico and the Dominican Republic also in Group A, the victory puts the U.S. in excellent position to be one of the two teams to advance and progress to the winner-take-all semifinal.

The U.S. struggled to maintain possession as the game went on amid difficult conditions at Estadio Jalisco that included game-time temperatures approaching 90 degrees as well as altitude of over 5,000 feet. Given that the Major League Soccer season has yet to start while the Costa Rican league is in the middle of its own, the fact that Los Ticos had the better of play wasn’t that surprising.

But the U.S. made the plays that mattered, and rode the saves of Ochoa to claim all three points.

“It wasn’t great,” said U.S. manager Jason Kreis about his team’s attempts to take care of the ball. “It was an important result for us but I would say that we would have hoped to have gotten that result in a little bit of a better fashion.

“I think we would have hoped that we could have been better on the ball and make better decisions and maintain the tempo of the game better. But unfortunately, part of guys not playing matches is that it’s not just about fitness, it’s also about their touch on the ball.

“And so I felt that the majority of what Costa Rica did to hurt us was in transition, when we gave the ball away very cheaply.”

Both teams showed nerves in the early going. Ferreira robbed Costa Rica defender Fernan Faerron in the second minute, advanced on goal unimpeded, but could only hit the post with the shot.

Ochoa was then twice called on to deliver two big saves, smothering Adrian Martinez‘s shot in the seventh minute, and then another close-range Martinez effort 10 minutes later following a giveaway from U.S. defender Mauricio Pineda.

Intent on getting an equalizer, Costa Rica started the second half with the greater level of intensity. The U.S. didn’t help itself with some giveaways deep in its own half, but Ochoa was on hand again, diving to his right to deny Randall Leal‘s effort in the 48th minute and then saving from Luis Diaz three minutes later.

Giovanni Reyna Scores First International Goal as U.S. Beats Panama in Friendly Match

It’s a special first for Giovanni Reyna

The 18-year-old half-Argentine American soccer player scored his first international goal as the United States beat Panama 6-2 in a friendly on Monday in Wiener Neustadt, Austria.

Giovanni Reyna

But Reyna wasn’t the only player to do so…

20-year-old Chilean & Mexican American soccer player Sebastian Soto and Nicholas Gioacchini also scored their maiden international goals during the match.

 

The second-youngest U.S. team ever fielded — with an average age of 22 years, 154 days — started brightly but found itself trailing inside of 10 minutes when Jose Fajardo‘s glancing header from an Alejandro Yearwood cross beat Zack Steffen and gave Panama the early lead.

The Americans got back on level terms 10 minutes later, when Reyna scored from a free kick at the top of the penalty area after Yunus Musah was brought down following a nice run at the Panama defense.

The goal was the first in Reyna’s U.S. career, just days after his 18th birthday and a reported new deal with German club Borussia Dortmund.

Gioacchini then fired the U.S. in front with his first international goal, pouncing on a rebound from Ulysses Llanez‘s shot after some sloppy play out of the back from Panama.

Firmly on the front foot, the U.S. made it 3-1 in the 26th minute, with Gioacchini — who plays at Ligue 2 side Caen — netting his second with a close-range header following some neat buildup play in the penalty area.

Panama came out of halftime trailing by two goals and looked dangerous in the opening 15 minutes of the second period, but were unable to find another goal.

Gioacchini had a chance to make it a hat trick on the night, but he missed from the penalty spot after Panama’s Oscar Linton was whistled for hand ball in the area.

Panama clawed one back before the 80-minute mark in a bizarre sequence that saw Fajardo break free in the U.S. area with only Steffen to beat, and he sliced a left-footed volley into the net to make it 3-2.

Substitutes Soto and Richie Ledezma put the game away soon after the Panama goal, with the former meeting the latter’s cross in the box and heading home for his first tally in the U.S. senior side.

Sebastian Lletget made it 5-2 before full-time with a header of his own before Soto headed in his second from Ledezma to reach the final scoreline.

Efren Navarro Helps Send Mexico to the Olympic Baseball Tournament for First Time at the 2020 Tokyo Games

Efren Navarro has helped his country make Olympichistory…

The 33-year-oldMexican-American professional baseball first baseman and left fielder hit a broken-bat single against Caleb Thielbar on Sunday to drive in the winning run in the 10thinning and give Mexico a 3-2 win over the United States at the Tokyo Dome, allowing Mexico to qualify for the Olympic baseball tournament for the first time.

Efren Navarro

Prior to Navarro’s single,,Matt Clark hit a tying home run off former St. Louis Cardinals pitcherBrandon Dicksonleading off the bottom of the ninth inning.

Mexico joined host Japan, South Korea and Israel in the six-nation field for next summer’s 2020 Tokyo Games and earned the bronze medal in the Premier12 tournament, which served as qualifying. 

The United States will play next spring in the Americas tournament, which determines one of the two remaining Olympic berths.

Jo Adell, the 10th overall pick by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2017 amateur draft, homered in the first against Tampa‘s Arturo ReyesMilwaukee‘s Cody Ponce, the U.S. starter, allowed three hits in five scoreless innings with six strikeouts and a walk.

Clark, who played 16 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2014, tied it in the sixth with a bases-loaded, two-out single off Kansas City Royals prospect Daniel Tillo. Clark had missed part of the tournament with an Achilles tendon injury and limped at times. The Boston Red Sox‘s Bobby Dalbec ended a 0-for-10 slide with an RBI single in the seventh off Jesus Riosfor a 2-1 lead.

Under tournament rules, extra innings start with runners on first and second.

Dalbec sacrificed leading off the 10th and the Atlanta BravesDrew Walters was intentionally walked. Winner Carlos Bustamante struck out Philadelphia‘s Alec Bohm, then retired Tampa Bay’s Jake Cronenworthon a flyout.

Jon Jonessacrificed on a 1-2 pitch leading off the bottom half against Dickson, who pitched for the Cardinals in 2011 and ’12. Esteban Quiroz was intentionally walked and U.S. manager Scott Brosiusbrought in Thielbar, a left-hander who finished the season in Atlanta’s minor league system and became a free agent, to face the left-handed-hitting Navarro, whose last major league experience was four games for the Chicago Cubs in 2018. Navarro singled to center.

The Mexicans are managed by Juan Castro. He’ll be an infield coach next season for Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi, who was to manage the U.S. team but quit to take the Phillies job.

Mexico had beaten the U.S. 8-2 in the group stage on November 3 at Guadalajara, Mexico. The U.S. got in position to play for a berth only because South Korea defeated Mexico 7-3 and Taiwan defeated Australia 5-1 in the super round.

Japan beat South Korea 5-3 later Sunday for the Premier12 gold medal.

Ferrer Leads Spain into the Davis Cup Semifinals

He’s one of the most improved players on the ATP Tour… And, now tennis star David Ferrer has secured defending champion Spain a place in the Davis Cup semifinals.

The 30-year-old Spanish tenista beat Austria‘s Jurgen Melzer 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 in Sunday’s reverse singles to give his team an insuperable 3-1 lead.

David Ferrer

Despite his unsteady serve and gusting winds, Ferrer—the fifth-ranked player in the world—had little trouble remaining perfect in 14 matches on home clay en route to recording Spain’s first win over Austria in 33 years.

Ferrer broke Melzer in the last game of an even first set and didn’t let up to claim Spain’s 23rd straight home win, moving it into second place all-time for consecutive wins behind Italy’s record of 28.

Meantime, Spain’s Nicolas Almagro beat Alexander Peya to complete a 4-1 victory for the Spanish.

The five-time Davis Cup champions will face the United States in the semifinals.