The CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) quarterfinals are done and dusted with four teams -- Montreal Impact, Alajuelense, Club America and Herediano -- advancing to the semifinals. Here are five observations from the week that was in the CCL.
1. Montreal extinguish ghosts of Torreon
Way back in 2009 after beating Santos Laguna 2-0 in the first leg of their CCL quarterfinal, the then-USL Montreal Impact were poised to advance to the CCL semifinals; they were losing by just a single goal, 3-2, in...
With a new collective bargaining agreement in place, Major League Soccer can look ahead to arguably the most promising season of its 20-year existence. Part of that excitement are the many emerging talents who are primed to break out this season, thrust into the spotlight because of an increased role within their team, or a fresh start with a new club.
Here is a list of 10 players who are ready to step up this season and thrive in bigger roles. Keep in mind that this is not a list for guys like Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) or Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), who have already earned acclaim as players who can consistently contribute within MLS. Instead, this list mixes a group of young players on the rise with more experienced players who are poised to have a significantly bigger presence in the 2015 campaign.
That said, here's a list of 10 players likely to break out in the 2015 MLS season, including analysis from ESPN FC's Taylor Twellman.
Mauro Diaz | Midfield | Age: 23 | Team: FC Dallas | Country: Argentina
Diaz was one of the league's most productive attackers at the start of the 2014 MLS season, scoring three goals and ranking fourth in the league in attacking-half touches before suffering a knee injury at the end of April. In his absence, Dallas went on a seven-game winless streak, with just five goals and ranking in the bottom half of the league in chances created during the Argentinian midfielder's absence.
Diaz returned in July to lead Dallas to the MLS playoffs, and in 2015 he will be counted on to lead a speedy attack that features Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez and Tesho Akindele. The midfielder's vision and creativity in the attacking half will complement the team's speed, and a healthy Diaz is likely to contend for the MLS lead in assists in 2015.
As much praise as Pachuca and its conveyor belt of youth talent has garnered recently in Mexico, the naivety shown in closing out the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) quarterfinal second leg against the Montreal Impact was its downfall on Tuesday.
At 1-0 up and sailing into the semifinals with just one minute left, 19-year-old winger Hirving Lozano had the ball in the opposition penalty area, but decided to go for a second goal instead of keeping it and winding down the clock. When the Montreal Impact...
The first legs of the CONCACAF Champions League are in the books with two teams -- Club America and Alajuelense -- all but booked for the semifinals, while the other two series are still very much up for grabs. Here are five takeaways from the week that was in the CCL.
1. Club America ruthlessly punish Saprissa
For a good stretch Saprissa were the dominant of the two sides in their Wednesday encounter with America. Playing in front of a frenzied crowd, the Costa Ricans swarmed the Mexican champions...