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USL Review: Memphis to host Liga MX’s CF Pachuca this summer

Los Tuzos won Liga MX in 2016 and placed third in the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup.

A five-time winner of the Concacaf Champions League, Pachuca is one of the most successful clubs in North America. | Photo courtesy C.F. Pachuca, via USL Championship

A club from Liga MX is coming to Memphis this summer.

USL Championship expansion side Memphis 901 FC has announced that C.F. Pachuca will come to AutoZone Park on June 22 for an international friendly. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. central time.

Pachuca is one of Mexico’s most successful clubs, having won the Concacaf Champions League five times. Los Tuzos won Liga MX in 2016 and in 2017 they placed third in the FIFA Club World Cup. Last season, Pachuca finished ninth in the Liga MX table.

“This is a soccer city, and what better way to showcase that on an international stage by bringing one of the premier Liga MX teams to Downtown Memphis,” 901 FC president Craig Unger said in a statement. “This will be a great moment for the City of Memphis and will mark another historic event at AutoZone Park.”

The manager of the club is Martin Palermo, an Argentine who spent most of his playing days racking up goals for Boca Juniors. He played in 2010 World Cup and scored off a rebound from Lionel Messi, becoming the oldest Argentine to ever score in the tournament at 36 years old.

Among Pachuca’s players are Érick Aguirre, Jorge Hernández and Víctor Guzmán, all who have recent caps with the Mexican national team. One of the club’s goalkeepers, Óscar “Conejo” Pérez, represented El Tri at the 2002 and 2010 World Cups.

“Pachuca is a team with world-class talent, and this will be yet another opportunity for our guys to develop and create long-lasting memories for soccer fans in Memphis,” said 901 FC head coach Tim Mulqueen in a statement.

Pachuca is the latest Liga MX club to play a friendly against a USL Championship side. In March, North Carolina FC hosted Necaxa. In September, the Charlotte Independence will host Santos Laguna.

Tickets for the match are on sale now at memphis901fc.com/Pachuca.

In its first season of USL Championship play, Memphis is 1-6-3 so far this season, saddled in 15th place in the Eastern Conference.

Things to know

  • In a 0-0 draw against North Carolina FC on Saturday, Indy Eleven goalkeeper Evan Newton set a USL Championship record with 41 career clean sheets. Playing last season with FC Cincinnati, which has since moved on to MLS, Newton was the USL’s Golden Glove winner.
  • On the other side of the pitch in the 0-0 draw between Indy and NCFC, Alex Tambakis notched his third clean sheet of the season behind five saves.
  • The beginnings of a southern soccer rivalry have been one-sided so far. After Saturday’s 2-0 win, Nashville SC has taken victories in each of the four matches it has played against ATL UTD 2, by a combined score of 8-0. Next year, Nashville will move up to MLS, where they’ll face the big brothers of the USL Championship side, who happen to be the reigning MLS Cup champs. Nashville’s luck may not be the same in 2020. However, Nashville did win this match with ATL UTD 2 using two MLS players – Romario Williams and Anderson Asiedu – in the match.
  • Hartford Athletic got its first point of the season, snapping an eight-game losing streak to draw 1-1 with the Charlotte Independence in front of an announced home crowd of 11,346 fans.
  • The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fresno FC remain unbeaten heading into Week 10. Fresno grabbed a 4-2 win over Real Monarchs SLC on Saturday, led by a brace from Christian Chaney. The Rowdies played to a 0-0 draw with Indy Eleven last week and face Nashville SC on Wednesday.
  • An announced crowd of 15,023 attended New Mexico United’s 3-0 home victory over San Antonio FC.

Transactions

  • On Monday, Sacramento Republic FC signed Juan Barahona to contract for the rest of this season, which also has a club option for next season. Barahona is a 23-year-old defender who has 20 caps for the El Salvador national team. He comes to Sacramento after playing for a club in his native country.
  • The Pittsburgh Riverhounds signed goalkeeper Austin Pack last week to a deal lasting through the remainder of the 2019 season, which also has a club option for 2020. Pack is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and played his college ball at UNC-Charlotte. He played last season with the Portland Timbers USL affiliate, T2.

Watch this

Magnus Rasmussen delivers on the free kick.

Cameron Lindley shows off his range.

Deshorn Brown sneaks this one past the keeper.

Really impressive work here from Adam Najem.

Junior Sandoval strikes from distance on a field partially covered with confetti.

Not a goal, but certainly an interesting way to dry out a pitch.

They said it

Indy Eleven goalkeeper Evan Newton, to the Indianapolis Star: “I’d be lying to you if I said it’s not frustrating sometimes when you’re having good year after year. And not just with FC Cincinnati, but just trying to get in a good position to get back in the league and feeling like I could really compete in (MLS). But super happy to be here. We have an MLS-caliber team here.”

Nashville SC midfielder Matt LaGrassa on the team’s defense: “I think we have a good defensive side. When we are a disciplined group, we are able to keep the ball out of the net, and we did that tonight. Obviously, a lot to be proud of, but still some things to work on. Even just now I’ve been debating with the guys about certain plays. We will take a look at the film and get better.”

Las Vegas head coach Eric Wynalda: “(Cristhian ‘Tripa’ Hernandez) absolutely changed the game. Every touch was magical tonight. We love playing here, we were so lethargic in the first 50 minutes. We love playing here and we weren’t even ourselves. The fans brought us back into it.”

Pittsburgh head coach Bob Lilley on drawing with Charleston: “I think it’s a game we’re going to regret right now, but we need to move forward. It’s typically a good result in Charleston. I thought we battled well. I thought we were ready to play. I thought we executed the game plan really well.”

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