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Leagues Cup

With the conclusion of the 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase less than a month away, it’s time to take another look back at the weekend’s results! There were plenty of good results on tap for the eight participants, and not a little bit of spice when LAFC met Austin FC in a battle of the top two sides in MLS’ Western Conference. Here’s how our teams did over the last week:

Club América were (again) the week’s top performer, winning a pair of matches to move within two points of top spot in Liga MX. Last Tuesday, they ground out a 1-0 win away to Querétaro thanks to Emilio Lara, while Friday saw them travel to Mazatlán. Against the Cañoneros, it was another three points as in-form Henry Martín found the net again in a 3-1 win over the ten man hosts. Saturday will see América host Tigres at the Azteca as the Águilas look to keep up the pressure on top-ranked Monterrey.

It was a six point week for Chivas as well, as they hosted leaders Monterrey on Tuesday, getting a late win thanks to Santi Ormeño’s goal in the eightieth minute. Saturday saw them host a struggling Pumas side, winning handily, 3-1. Now seventh in the table, Los Rojiblancos are well-positioned for a spot in the Liguilla, having won each of their last three matches. Next up is a trip to Toluca on Sunday, who sit six points and once place above them in the table.

While América and Chivas had a strong week, Atlas, who will also take part in the Campeones Cup in September, were not so lucky. On Thursday, they had a man sent off as they lost 3-1 away to Pachuca, while Sunday saw them lose to León, 4-2, as goals from Julio Furch and Julián Quinoñes weren’t enough to over come a strong display from the hosts. Next up for the Guadalajara side is a visit from Pumas, a match that could have big implications in the battle to avoid the drop.

Real Salt Lake were among several Leagues Cup Showcase sides taking part in key clashes as the season starts to wind down, with playoff position being the goal. FC Dallas have been one of the conference’s strongest sides this season, and a trip to face a team who were third entering the weekend was no easy proposition. But despite conceding the opener after just seven minutes, RSL rebounded well to snatch a one-all draw. Next up is a visit from third-place Minnesota and then a daunting trip to top side LAFC as Pablo Mastroeni’s side hopes to seal a playoff spot.

In another match with big playoff implications, Nashville SC hosted Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday — a win for the visitors would have seen them move ahead of Nashville, but an early goal from Randall Leal was followed by a brace from Jack Maher as the Canadian side had a man sent off early in the second half. Now in fifth place, Nashville host Colorado and then Austin this week and will look to push the sides ahead of them for a chance at a home playoff game.

LA Galaxy got an important win away to New England Revolution last night, with Chicharito and Daniel Aguirre finding the net in the first fifteen minutes. The hosts would pull one back late on, but Greg Vanney’s side held on for a 2-1 win which sees them move back into the playoff positions. Next up for the Galaxy is a trip to Toronto Wednesday before returning home take on Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.

FC Cincinnati took part in what was arguably the week’s most exciting match, drawing two-all with Columbus Crew to extend their unbeaten run to six matches. In the “Hell is Real” derby, the hosts had taken the lead through top scorer Brandon Vázquez, only to be pegged back twice, the second equalizer cruelly coming in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Just a point behind their rivals in the playoff race with seven matches left, the Orange and Blue will head to Charlotte this weekend with three points firmly in their sights.

Finally, while they are still top of the Western Conference table, LAFC suffered a second straight defeat on Friday, losing 4-1 away to Austin FC. Despite this setback, the team are still six points clear, and will have plenty of opportunities to clinch top spot, starting Wednesday as they head to Houston to take on the Dynamo. Steve Cherundolo’s side will then close out the MLS weekend on Sunday evening as they host a hungry Real Salt Lake side who will be eager to improve their playoff seeding.