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Leagues Cup

At a noisy TQL Stadium, the second part of the 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase got underway on a stormy Cincinnati evening. Legendary Liga MX club Chivas de Guadalajara were in town, and the Orange and Blue were ready to take on a Liga MX opponent for the first time in their history.

Coming into the match on a nine-game unbeaten run, the hosts were the form team, as their play in MLS has resulted in their best-ever season, led by striker Brandon Vazquez and attacking midfielder Brenner. Meanwhile, Los Rojiblancos had lost each of their last two matches in Liga MX, but still were in seventh place in the Apertura, with the strong play of Alexis Vega looking to help Ricardo Cadena’s side into the Liguilla with just one match to play.

The match started cautiously for both sides, with no chances falling to either team to start, although Chivas’ aggressive pressing put the hosts under no small amount of pressure. Pavel Peréz was the first to test the home goalkeeper with a shot from range but Alec Kann would save comfortably (8’). The hosts would respond quickly, though with Dominique Badji just coming up short on a teasing pass from Sergio Santos (11’).

It would be Peréz, too, who would net the game’s first goal on twenty minutes after his shot deflected off of Cincinnati defender Tyler Blackett (20’). As they had some ten minutes earlier, Cincinnati would respond quickly, with Badji striking the bar from close range after a ball over the top from Yuya Kubo (22’). Despite conceding, the hosts responded well with Allan Cruz’s shot well-saved by José Rangel (32’).

After a weather delay ten minutes before the interval, the teams returned to the pitch, and FC Cincinnati again looked the stronger, but were unable to break Chivas’ resistance. José Rangel was called into action twice in first half stoppage time (45, 47’) but the score wouldn’t change before the halftime whistle blew.

In a battling start to the second half, the hosts continued to push, and soon equalized as Kubo showed a nice bit of skill on the turn to fire home from the edge of the area (53’). The hosts had the bit between their teeth and would soon lead after a brilliant strike from the D by Calvin Harris made it 2-1 (69’).

Chivas, who had made several changes, were hardly sitting back, though, and would test Alec Kann fifteen minutes from time, with a shot by Gilberto García (75’). But the hosts’ leading scorer, Brandon Vázquez would leave Chivas no chance as he slotted home just moments later, only three minutes after coming off the bench (77’). There would be no further goals, and the hosts could rejoice in a job well done, having recorded a confidence-boosting result as their season winds down.

Match Details:

FC Cincinnati 3-1 Chivas de Guadalajara

Halftime: 0-1

Goals:

FC Cincinnati: Yuya Kubo (53’), Calvin Harris (69’), Brandon Vázquez (77’)

Chivas de Guadalajara: Pavel Peréz (20’)

Bookings:

FC Cincinnati: Ian Murphy (57’)

Chivas de Guadalajara: Sebastian Martinez (44’), Gilberto Sepúlveda (67’)

Lineups:

FC Cincinnati: Alec Kann; Raymon Gaddis (Zico Bailey 61’), Geoff Cameron (Ian Murphy 46’), Tyler Blackett (Brenner 85’), John Nelson, (Kai Thomas 86’) Rónald Matarrita (Álvaro Barreal 60’); Harrison Robledo (Brandon Vázquez 73’), Yuya Kubo (Júnior Moreno 74’), Allan Cruz (Obinna Nwobodo 73’); Dominique Badji (Luciano Acosta 74’), Sergio Santos (Calvin Harris 36’)

Substitutes: Álvaro Barreal, Júnior Moreno, Ian Murphy, Brenner, Brandon Vázquez, Luciano Acosta, Zico Bailey, Kai Thomas, Obinna Nwobodo, Calvin Harris, Evan Lorio

Manager: Pat Noonan

Chivas de Guadalajara: José Rangel; Alan Mozo (Luis Puente 74’), Gilberto García, Hiram Mier, Miguel Ponce; Jesús Molina (Gilberto Sepúlveda 62’), Rubén Gonzalez (Sergio Flores 62’); Jesús Angulo (Sebastián Pérez Bouquet 62’), Pavel Peréz (Alan Torres 46’), Cristian Calderón (Carlos Cisneros 46’); Ángel Zaldívar (Sebastian Martinez 36’)

Substitutes: Carlos Cisneros, Jesús Sánchez, Diego Delgadillo, Sebastián Pérez Bouquet, Sergio Flores, Sebastian Martinez, Miguel Jiménez, Matías Cendejas, Luis Puente, Luis Olivas, Gilberto Sepúlveda

Manager: Ricardo Cadena

Geodis Stadium in Nashville was the site of the second of two 2022 Leagues Cup Showcase matches on Wednesday night. Nashville SC were welcoming another legendary Mexican side, Club América, to town, the first time that the home team would face a Liga MX side.

Club América came into the match as one of the world’s hottest teams — they had won nine Liga MX matches in a row, and sit top of the table with one game to play before the start of the Liguilla. Nashville were also in strong form, with Hany Mukhtar leading the way as Gary Smith’s side are battling hard for playoff position as the MLS regular season winds down.

The hosts started the match the brighter and were almost rewarded in the second minute, but Óscar Jiménez would tip over a shot from close range by Teal Bunbury (2’). At the other end, Fede Viñas would test Elliot Panicco, but his shot was lacking in power. The fans at Geodis Stadium wouldn’t have to wait long for an opener, though, as Josh Bauer would find the net at a corner, firing home a powerful header (6’).

Hardly satisfied, Nashville would then find the net a second time inside the match’s first fifteen minute, with Luke Haakenson tapping in at the back post from Jacob Shaffelburg’s low cross (14’). Shaffelburg was involved again ten minutes later, but after a nice bit of skill, the winger would spray his shot wide of the back post (24’).

América would respond, though, as Viñas’ shot from the edge of the area was just wide (25’) before Salvador Reyes was on the end after some quick pressing from the visitors forced a save from Panicco (29’). That pressure would eventually as Jürgen Damm found the net for the visitors (38’) with an acrobatic finish to make it 2-1. Nashville responded quickly and even thought they had a goal before Aké Loba was flagged offside, before Óscar Jimenez made a sharp save to deny the Ivorian (41’) before the half.

The second half had barely started when Roger Martínez gave the hosts a warning with his shot from close range fizzing over the bar (47’). Another chance to level the match would fall to Miguel Layún, and the veteran defender hardly needed to be asked twice, finding the top corner with a brilliant finish. Teal Bunbury nearly gave the lead back to the hosts a few minutes later, but his header looped over the bar (55’).

The match continued at a feverish pace, with both teams making plenty of changes, and Richard Sánchez would again test Panicco with a dipping shot (66’). The two sides traded blows in an end-to-end contest, and it looked like the game was heading to penalties before Jack Maher popped up with a dramatic late header to give Nashville SC the lead. (89’)

It looked like the hosts had sealed a win, but a late, late equalizer by Roman Martínez sent the match to penalties (90 + 5’). After a pair of saves to start, a miss from Martínez in the fourth round gave Nashville the chance to get the win, and a cool finish into the bottom corner from Tah Anunga would give the MLS side the win at the end of a thrilling match.

Match Details:

Nashville SC 3-3 Club América

Halftime: Nashville SC 2-1 Club América

Goals:

Nashville SC: Josh Bauer (6’), Luke Haakenson (14’) Jack Maher (89’)

Club América: Jürgen Damm (38’), Miguel Layún (51’), Roman Martínez (90 + 5’)

Bookings:

Nashville SC: Luke Haakenson (17’)

Club América: Miguel Layún (43’)

Lineups:

Nashville SC: Elliot Panicco; Josh Bauer, Eric Miller, Dave Romney (Jack Maher 46’), Daniel Lovitz (Taylor Washington 46’); Brian Anunga, Sean Davis (Randall Leal 46’), Luke Haakenson, Jacob Shaffelburg (Handwalla Bwana 46’) (Irakoze Donasiyano 78’); Aké Loba (Ethan Zubak 46’), Teal Bunbury (Ahmed Longmire 78’)

Substitutes: Randall Leal, Taylor Washington, Handwalla Bwana, Bryan Meredith, Will Meyer, Jack Maher, Ethan Zubak, Ahmed Longmire, Irakoze Donasiyano

Manager: Gary Smith

Club América: Óscar Martínez (Fernando Tapia 70’); Miguel Layún, Miguel Vázquez (Emilio Lara 63’), Jürgen Damm (Alejandro Zendejas 64’), Salvador Reyes (Mauricio Reyes 57’); Jonathan dos Santos (Álvaro Fidalgo 69’), Sebastían Martínez (Richard Sánchez 64’); Federico Viñas, Jorge Gómez, Brian Rodríguez (Jonathan Rodríguez 64’); Roger Martínez (Román Martínez 57’)

Substitutes: Jonathan Rodríguez, Leonardo Palestina, Alejandro Zendejas, Iker Moreno, Fernando Tapia, Juan Blanco, Román Martínez, Álvaro Fidalgo, Adrian Fernandez, Mauricio Reyes, Richard Sánchez, Emilio Lara

Manager: Fernando Ortiz