Four MLS teams advance to open Leagues Cup round of 32 – U.S. National Soccer Players

Thursday’s soccer news starts with the Leagues Cup round of 32 and Inter Miami advancing 3-1 over Orlando City at home. In a delayed start due to weather, Lionel Messi put Inter Miami up in the 7th with Orlando’s Cesar Araujo equalizing in the 17th. Josef Martinez converted a Miami penalty in the 51st and Messi scored again in the 72nd minute.

“I think we’re doing well, above all else winning, which is a good place to start. We’re getting better at circulating the ball with each passing game, and more clinical at the top end of the pitch,” Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said. “If we solidify the defensive end a bit – I see growth in this aspect – and we can guarantee clean sheets, we’ll have great chances for the players from midfield forward to score goals every match.”

FC Dallas beat Mazatlan 2-1 at Toyota Stadium, taking the lead from a 48th minute Alan Velasco penalty. Mazatlan’s Andres Montano equalized in the 57th. Eugene Ansah put Dallas up for good in the 75th minute.

“I hope the Leagues Cup tournament helps us get back on track in MLS play,” FC Dallas coach Nico Estevez said. “Prior to the Leagues Cup, we hit a phase of injuries, where we lost our style of play and Leagues Cup has helped us recover it and helped us get our players back into game rhythm. Our play style has evolved positively throughout the tournament. We are very happy to get to the Round of 16 after three different games against three different teams.”

Pachuca and Houston drew 0-0 at Shell Energy Stadium with the Dynamo advancing 5-3 on penalties. Pachuca failed to convert in the 4th round of penalties while Houston went five for five.

“The stats say it was an even game against arguably one of the best Mexican teams in their league, who won it last year,” Houston coach Ben Olsen said. “If we struggled a little bit, maybe it’s because of the quality that Pachuca brings. I don’t care how many players they put that are new. They’re all high quality, and then they brought in quality. The stats show it was a pretty even game against a high-level team.”

LAFC shutout Juarez 7-0 at home, going up from a 31st minute Ryan Hollingshead goal. Carlos Vela doubled the lead in the 33rd. Juarez’s Amaury Escoto pulled a goal back in the 47th. Denis Bouanga scored for LA in the 52nd and Vela added a goal in the 61st. Bouanga scored in the 66th and converted a 78th minute penalty, with Nathan Ordaz finishing off the LAFC scoring in the 90th.

“Ten shots, 7 goals, that’s pretty effective,” LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo said. “Effectiveness, defending our own box and finishing plays in the opponent’s box is something we’re working on and talking about and it’s nice to see that come together tonight.”

Moving to USMNT players abroad, on Tuesday Johnny Cardoso’s Internacional lost 2-1 at River Plate in the first-leg of their Copa Libertadores round of 16 series. Enner Valencia put Internacional up a minute into first-half stoppage time with River Plate equalizing in the 65th and going ahead in the 79th. Cardoso saw yellow in the 69th minute. The series concludes on August 8.

On Wednesday, Mark McKenzie’s KRC Genk exited the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League in the second qualifying round after drawing 2-2 at home with Servette, 3-3 on aggregate, and losing 4-1 on penalties. Playing a man up from the 5th minute, Genk took the lead in the 28th from a Mike Tresor penalty with Servette equalizing in the 36th. Tolu Arokodare returned the Genk lead in the 51st and Servette equalized in the 63rd. Moving to penalties, KRC Genk failed to convert in the 1st and 3rd rounds with Servette going four for four. KRC Genk drops to the main path of Europa League third round qualifying where they play Olympiacos on August 10 and 17.


Johan Cruyff Shield on GolTV: Feyenoord vs PSV at 2pm. Leagues Cup on FS1: Chicago vs Club America at 8pm and Monterrey vs Portland at 10pm ET.

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Photo by Inter Miami

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