What a week! I don’t know about you, but I’m running on empty. But now it’s Friday and the body knows it. Let’s get the Links going!
All the Houston clubs are now in the off-season and we are waiting to hear about roster moves. Yesterday the Dash announced the return of Canadian gold medalists Allysha Chapman and Sophie Schmidt for next season. Great news! Chappy was definitely missed at the end of the season.
Make sure you check out the latest episodes of the Dynamo Theory Podcast, available everywhere you get you podcasts.
Major League Soccer
LAFC’s striker Cristian Arango, sitting on the LA Galaxy’s goalmouth, pounced on Denis Bouanga’s corner-kick volley that goalkeeper Jonathan Bond could only parry into the Colombian No. 9’s path. But Arango reacted instinctively, firing his 93rd-minute shot just below the crossbar. That sealed an El Trafico for the ages, a rivalry that always seems to deliver on the biggest stages and with the entire league watching. The 3-2 victory belonged to the Black & Gold, and so did a spot in the Western Conference Final on Oct. 30.
Andre Blake set the beat that Subaru Park sang to. Literally, in fact. After the Philadelphia Union’s 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati in the Eastern Conference Semifinals Thursday, Blake manned the big ol’ bass drum at midfield. The orchestrator for the raucous crowd to cap the night with a few more cheers. Blake set the beat during the game, too. Fresh off winning his third MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award this week, becoming the first in league history to do so, the shotstopper was the star of the show with five saves, including a few finger tip deflections to preserve his clean sheet.
Rather than having a predetermined location, the right to host MLS Cup 2022 on Nov. 5 is dictated by where teams finished in the Supporters’ Shield standings. LAFC, winners of a second Supporters’ Shield title in four years, own hosting priority as long as they remain in the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs. FC Dallas, now the lowest remaining seed after others got eliminated, is the only club that can’t host MLS Cup, provided they’re still in the running.
Around the world
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspur. Ronaldo was seen leaving the bench before the end of the 2-0 win over Spurs on Wednesday and later left the stadium before Ten Hag and the United squad had returned to the dressing room.
Barcelona’s teenage midfielder Gavi was named the 2022 Golden Boy award winner on Friday, just days after claiming the Kopa Trophy as Europe’s best young player. The honour, presented by Italian newspaper Tuttosport, is given to the best player aged 21 and under that is based in Europe.
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez launched a staunch defence of Gerard Pique after the defender was whistled by supporters during his side’s 3-0 win over Villarreal on Thursday. Pique, 35, replaced Jules Kounde in the 78th minute of the LaLiga match at Camp Nou to the sound of jeers from his own fans.
The Super League project is “very much alive” according to Bernd Reichart, the new CEO of A22 Sports Management, the company promoting the revamped plan. The breakaway competition, which included 12 elite European clubs, was launched in April 2021 but collapsed 48 hours later after English Premier League clubs pulled out due to a widespread public backlash and political opposition.
Have a great weekend, Houston!