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Monday Kickoff: Club Tijuana reaches Mexican Final, Barca midfielders dominate World XI list, and more

Club Tijuana booked their place in the Mexican League final on Sunday night by erasing a two-goal first-leg deficit and rolling past Club Leon by a 3-0 scoreline.

Duvier Riasco scored the crucial second goal for Tijuana to take control of the two-leg series, and Richard Ruiz provided an insurance goal for Club Tijuana, which will now take on Toluca in the Mexican League final after Toluca disposed of Club America in the other semifinal.

Americans Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona were in the starting lineup for Tijuana, which is on the verge of capping an improbable run from the Mexican Decond Division to a Mexican First Division championship.

Here are some other stories from the weekend to get your Monday going:


Barcelona teammates Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets have all made the 15-player short list for midfield places in the FIFPro World XI.

Three midfielders will be chosen to be a part of the World XI, and Xavi and Iniesta are expected to make the team yet again, while Juventus and Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo is a good bet to join them on the team.

Here are the midfield nominees:

Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), David Silva (Manchester City), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Xavi (Barcelona).


Inter Milan is set to take on Parma today and one player who won’t be in uniform for Inter is Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder, who is embroiled in a bitter contract dispute with the club.

Reports have emerged suggesting that Sneijder will not play for Inter until he takes a pay cut, and if he does not take a pay cut then he will be sold in the winter transfer window.

Inter has managed to close in on first-place Juventus without Sneijder, and could sell him in January to bolster the rest of the roster. Manchester United continues to be linked to a move for the 28-year-old playmaker.


Former Pachuca goalkeeper Miguel Calero is in critical condition after suffering a blood clot in the brain. (REPORT)

The English FA is set to investigate alleged anti-semitic chants sung by West Ham United fans during their loss to Tottenham. (REPORT)

Arsenal will have some extra money to spend on the transfer market after securing a
£70 million sponsorship deal with Emirates Airline. (REPORT)


What do you think of these developments? Impressed with Club Tijuana’s run this season? See Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona riding their club success to bigger roles on the U.S. national team? Which three midfielders would make your World XI ballot for 2012?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The games (Final: Toluca-Tijuana) will happen next Thursday and Sunday.
    I think Corona, Garza and Castillo would all be fine assets to the USMNT, if all together I think they would have a better undeerstanding and be more productive since they’ve been playing for half a year.. I think that’s very good for the USMNT, 3 potential US players on a same (competitive/skilled) team in a (arguably) top league. Klinsman should def follow these 3 players.. all of them, fast.

    • Pretty sure Corona and Castillo have been on most of the rosters this past year when healthy. Garza’s been in the USMNT youth system, too, but hadn’t done much until late this season.

  2. Xolos play some pretty football, and I’m really excited they made the final. Its good to see that Castillo is a key player for them, and I still feel he can bring something to the USMNT, but unfortunately he and Johnson are both in the same boat- great going forward, not as good at actually locking down the back line on the left side. Between the two, Johnson is a bit better (both offensively and defensively). If Donovan does retire, perhaps the time will come for both Johnson and Castillo to be on the pitch manning our left-side. I could see Klinsy flipping them back and forth as to which plays in the midfield and which in the back, depending on our opponent and tactical approach.

    Also, good to see that Corona has started the past couple of games. He spent most of the season coming off the bench, and it is good to see him become a regular starter precisely when the games matter most. Having said that, in my opinion he hasn’t been making much of an impact on the game. He’s young and still has room to improve, and its hard to beat being a starter on the champions (potentially) of the best league outside of Europe (arguably).

    • No way I don’t even think you can argue that the influx of talent that brazil has seen recently in their domestic league and even Argentina still is solid and I would put it up above liga mx, still a great league with great competition though

      • I haven’t seen Corona’s league play this year. Could someone compare Corona to Michael Bradley at Corona’s age and perhaps a couple other midfielders we know back when they were that age.

      • Completely different players. MB was always a box to box CM with very advanced work rate, tackling, and fundamentals. Corona is almost a half foot smaller and is a faster player. He plays a #10 role and also has the speed to play out wide which he usually does with Xolos. Corona is more of a faster version of Benny Feilhaber. Very nice vision as well as skill and composure on the ball. Corona has shown a nice nose for goal with the U20s and U23s, following up plays and looking for his shot. His keys to success will revolve around work rate, tactical discipline, backtracking, etc. as well as continuing to develop his offensive skills.

      • Drawing comparisons is always hard, because no two players have the same qualities. But if you force me to, I’d say Corona is more akin to Benny F. than Michael B. quick touches – good decision making, lacking a bit in bite. very good on runs through the middle aka Bradley being the one similarity I can think of between the two. Does not have Bradleys motor.

    • Xolos don’t really play “pretty” futbol.

      They’re very organized, absorb pressure rather well and counter attack very efficiently.

      Leon was the best team to watch this season in Mexico.

  3. How are Lampard and Gerrard on that list? Surprising to say the least. Would’ve thought Mata or Cazorla would be on there ahead of those two.

  4. How the heck is Sneijder making 200,000 pounds a week? Thats only acceptable for guys like Messi and Ronaldo. Man City/Chelsea caused this by driving up the price. Toure is excellent but makes like 140,000 pounds. He’s not worth it. Guys like Shay Given, Shaun Wright Phillips, Adam Johnson are way overpaid due to their time at Man City. A guy like Dempsey makes 60 but i bet if he joined Man City even for a season and left he could reasonably expect to continually be paid something similar. Lool at Wayne Bridge

    • I believe Messi/Ronaldo are well north of 200K/week.

      Sneijder is at like 150K/week. Not sure when his last contract re-negotiation was, but back in 2010 (Inter’s treble, Dutch in the WC Final), he was absolutely worth that and more. Problem is that through injuries, squad/manager turnover, etc. he hasn’t been that player since.

      I say we start a Sneijder to NYRB rumor. They could use him in the midfield.

  5. I think Corona is the one who will end up with a significant role for the USMNT. He is young, skillful and quick. Why no mention of Garza? He is only 21 and scored the winning goal in the first leg of the quarterfinal, not bad for someone brought on to shore up the defense late in that game when it was 0-0.


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