Thursday Kickoff: Monterrey downs Santos, Raul leaving Schalke, and more

HumbertoSauazo (Getty)

Mexican powerhouse Monterrey took a giant step toward repeating as CONCACAF Champions League title holders on Wednesday night after a second-half brace from Humberto Suazo gave the Rayados a 2-0 first-leg victory over Santos Laguna.

The match was a tightly contested one until the second half, when Suazo finally broke through with a pair of goals, including a dazzling run through the Santos defense near the end of the match to help give Monterrey a two-goal cushion heading to the second leg in Torreon next week.

The match was not without some controversy. Suazo's two goals came after a questionable challenge on Santos goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez that looked to be a clear second yellow card offense, but the referee let Suazo off and the Chilean striker punished Santos Laguna.

American striker Herculez Gomez earned the start for Santos Laguna, but saw his eight-match goal-scoring streak ended.

Here are some other stories to get your Thursday going:

RAUL LEAVING SCHALKE

Spanish legend Raul has enjoyed an outstanding two seasons with German club Schalke since joining them from long-time home Real Madrid. It appears Schalke will be the final European club after he announced he is leaving the club for opportunities outside Europe.

MLS and Qatar appear to be the most likely destinations for the 34-year-old striker, the leading goal scorer in UEFA Champions League history. He has yet to reveal where he is heading, but Major League Soccer is apparently a potential destination.

MANCHESTER CITY CLOSING IN ON LLORENTE

The club that never runs out of money or big target players to go after has identified its latest target, and we could see another big-money transfer heading Manchester City's way, with a £30 million transfer believed to be the asking price for the Athletic Bilbao striker.

In order to make room for Llorente, City is reportedly prepared to sell striker Edin Dzeko.

THOUSANDS ATTEND MOROSINI FUNERAL

The shocking death of Livorno player Piermario Morosini rocked the soccer world and thousands gathered to pay their respects at his funeral in the northern Italian city of Bergamo.

MANCHESTER UNITED IDENTIFIED AS WORLD'S MOST VALUABLE CLUB

Remember when Manchester United was said to be having some financial troubles? Well, so much for that.

According to Forbes Magazine, Manchester United saw its value rise by an astonishing 20 percent, to a whopping $2.24 billion, to keep Manchester United as the world's most valuable soccer team for the eighth straight year.

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What do you think of these developments? Impressed with Monterrey's performance? Think Santos Laguna can rally in the second leg? Where in MLS would you like to see Raul wind up?

Share your thoughts below.

 

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49 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Monterrey downs Santos, Raul leaving Schalke, and more

  1. John says:

    Man U is till in deep debt. That’s like when you play Monopoly and own Boardwalk and Park Place but they are both mortgaged.

  2. span16 says:

    Raul and DelPiero joining Thierry Henry in MLS…if this was 2004 it would be amazing! In 2012…still pretty cool. Both DelPiero and Raul are both intelligent professionals who still can resolve a game despite not being at the peak of their physical prowess.

    Morosini…RIP. To me the craziest part about this is that the Italian leagues are very stringent when it comes to monitoring players’ medical condition. Sad.

    ManU as most valuable club. Not surprising. Most valuable team in the most valuable league (world wide TV rights)

  3. biff says:

    The plot thickens: Schalke now has the money to acquire Clint Dempsey. I think better than a 50-50 chance that Clint will end up at either Shalke or maybe, a longer shot, Dortmund, which is now said to be battling FC Bayern to buy Edin Dzeko from Man City. I actually think Dempsey would be a better fit at Dortmund than Dzeko.

  4. Brendan says:

    Not quite. When a property is mortgaged in Monopoly, you can’t make any money from it.
    Manchester United is very clearly still making money.

    Thanks for playing, though.

  5. K Bone says:

    Can’t help but feel City are going to do a decent sized clean out this summer, especially if United win the title again. I could see Dzeko, Johnson, Milner, Barry, and De Jong all going, and possibly Tevez or Balotelli, especially if the players are still pissed at Balotelli. Hart and Richards may be the only Englishmen left on the team…

  6. cfig says:

    I’d be thrilled if the Dynamo can land Raul, he’s a bit past his prime but definitely carries the international recognition and would be able to put up some goals in MLS. Now if we could just find a rightsided midfielder…

  7. BSU SC says:

    Raul has proved that he still has plenty of gas in the tank. I hope he turns a blind eye to the money that they would throw at him in Qatar to come play in MLS. I could see him having a big impact on any club he joins, similar to what we saw Guillermo Barros Schelotto do in Columbus.

  8. Smackey the Frog says:

    Come to Philly Raul!!

  9. 2tone says:

    Dempsey to Schalke? I highly doubt it. Dempsey wants to stay in England particularly London. But you never know he may just head on over to the Bundesliga for a couple of years. He would definitely be a first team starter, and it looks like Schalke will be in the Champions league next year.

  10. RK says:

    You can have debt and be profitable and valuable.

  11. RK says:

    Just barely a bit past — I’ve been shocked at how great he has been for Schalke.

  12. Robert Daniels says:

    Not going to happen, we’ve already seen world class talent turn down philly becaue it’s, well philly.

  13. Tim says:

    Raul is a legend. What a run in Spain and in Germany! It will continue in the United States, afterall legends are legends! If I could kindly mention Raul, http://www.PhiladelphiaUnion.com and of course we’ll get the right real estate agents to make sure you get a beautiful home. The best cheesesteak in Philadelphia is Tony Luke’s which is here http://www.tonylukes.com and if you need a great slice of pizza I’d heartily recommend Lorenzo and Sons http://www.lorenzoandsons.com, the first pie is on me! See you in July.

  14. huhe888 says:

    1. Raul does NOT sell tickets anymore. About the only MLS club that would be stupid enough to sign Raul is Toronto.

    2. Dempsey wants to “play Champions League football”. That is code speak for “I want to cash in.” No way will he leave England for Germany or Italy or Spain. No way. English-speaking soccer TV consumers in the U.S. now watch EPL and the “clasico” twins. They don’t watch Bundesliga or Serie A in significant numbers.

  15. RLW2020 says:

    i like where this is going. both Dzecko and Demps would be great in Western Germany. Id buy a Dortmont jersey with Dempsey’s name on it a second too!

  16. RK says:

    Only Beckham “sells” tickets.

  17. marco says:

    Mexico player development aficionados take note, the top strikers in this championship game were from EU and Chile.

  18. BSU SC says:

    What in the world are you talking about?

    1. Raul has always been a healthy player and has proved during this season with Schalke that he’s still a world class talent. Any MLS team would be very lucky to have him.

    2. It’s unlikely that Dempsey will leave England, but you never know. If a Champions League club from another major European league is willing to cut the check then anything is possible.

    And as for “they don’t watch Bundesliga or Serie A”…you might want to reconsider that comment. In the US the EPL has the highest ratings of all European league broadcast, but there are plenty of Italian and German fans who are watching. Either way, I don’t know how you connect that to Deuce choosing not to go abroad.

  19. marco says:

    Schalke is a step up but not a giant leap forward in quality.

  20. RLW2020 says:

    true, about most US soccer viewers but the EPL teams in the champions league next year will most likely be: ManU, ManCity, Arsenal, Spurs and an outside chance for Newcastle or Chelsea. I don’t see Demps switching to any of those side except maybe Arsenal.

    Or he could move to Dortmund, Schalke, Juventus or PSG and play in the champions league no problem.

  21. Jya says:

    I am not sure it matters what USA english speaking consumers watch Schalke could still pay Dempsey a lot of money and playing in the Champions league isn’t code for wanting money its code for I want to play at the highest level.

  22. KC says:

    The two top strikers in this game were Suazo and DeNigris. Hercules was nowhere to be found

  23. JG13 says:

    Who cares if he sells tickets; the guy can still ball. His work rate is still very high, so adding a player of his caliber will add wins (and THAT sells tickets).

    The only downside that I can think of pursuing Raul is that he reportedly wants a 3 year deal and Schalke only offered 2.

  24. Footballer says:

    Really? Dempsey a better player that Dzeko? Based on what? Dzeko led Bundesliga in scoring when did Dempsey lead any league in scoring? Please take off the blinders it is affecting your sense of reasoning. Plus Raul is going to the Middle East where they can afford to pay him at least $200,000 per week.

  25. Footballer says:

    How much would Houston pay Raul? Raul is not coming to MLS to make some peanuts. He still feels he can play so there is no way he is taking anything less than 100k per week. The Dynamo, just like Columbus do not pay huge salaries for players. So don’t expect “Raul Madrid” in Houston as a player, maybe a visitor.

  26. Footballer says:

    And it a club in the middle east offers you 200k per week like they did with Asamoah Gyan? You would turn that down? Ask Samuel Eto how that big pay check at Anzhi feels. Stop deluding yourself, he would stay in Europe or go to the Mid East before MLS. MLS will not open the bank so don’t expect a player to come here for the scenery; he has bills and a lifestyle to maintain.

  27. Footballer says:

    Because you don’t watch Bundesliga does not mean foreigners who follow the game more than Americans don’t. At the end of the day, the quality of league in Germany is at the same level at Spain and if Dempsey gets paid more money to go there, guess what you’re going to deal with it.

  28. biff says:

    I don’t know, huhe888. What are you basing this on? As I said a few days ago, several Germany-raised Americans now on the USMNT are already playing in the Bundesliga — Chandler, Johnson, Jones, Williams, Terence Boyd, not to mention Dolo and Gyau and several others. Already USMNT fans are closely following these Bundesliga guys each weekend. And if Dempsey goes interest in the Bundesliga is going to skyrocket. If Dempsey is playing for a powerhouse like Schalke or Dortmund those games will be broadcast every week and they will be watched and that will pave the way for other American players to follow. I would not be surprised in the near future to see more young Americans choosing to begin their careers in the Second Bundesliga, where they can make a lot more money and develop faster than in MLS.

    And I totally disagree with you line: ***Dempsey wants to “play Champions League football”. That is code speak for “I want to cash in.”***

    I’m not saying Clint does not want to make big money, but I think it means simply what he says: He wants to play Champions League football. Just like baseball players want to be in the playoffs or basketball players in the Sweet 16. For the thrill of it.

  29. biff says:

    yeah, dortmund would be awesome, playing in Germany’s biggest stadium and with Terence Boyd when the kid finally earns his starting spot

  30. biff says:

    Well, I didn’t compare the skills of Dempsey and Dzeko. I said: “Dempsey would be a better fit at Dortmund than Dzeko.” Dempsey would be loved by the team and by the fans.

  31. huhe888 says:

    Bundesliga matches on GOLTV and ESPN3.com/ESPN Deportes average less than 60000 U.S. viewers each match.

    Serie A matches on FOX Soccer and FOX Deportes average less than 60000 U.S. viewers each match.

    Source: Nielsen Television Index

    ==

    Dempsey will kill his endorsement income if he were to jump to the Bundesliga or Serie A.

    English-speaking soccer consumers in the U.S. only watch the big Premier League clubs, Barcelona, and Real Madrid in significant numbers (i.e. 200,000 or more viewers each match) to matter.

    ==

    You people think like soccer fans, not media executives. That’s your problem.

  32. patrick says:

    some of the english guys will stick around just to be counted as english nationals, but your point is still valid.

  33. bryan says:

    i’ve been pulling for Raul to MLS since his last days in Madrid. i think he is exactly the type of player DC United need.

  34. Rob says:

    don’t think so….check your facts. Also, do you mean EU = Europe or EU = Estados Unidos? Cuz EU should be EE.UU. for Estados Unidos.

  35. BenH says:

    Marco, what’s your point? Real Madrid’s top scorer is Portuguese and Barcelona’s is Argentinian. Does that say anything about Spanish players? No. Welcome to world football.

    What you should take note of us Monterrey beating a team that beat Toronto/Seattle by about 5 goals each game…

  36. Air Jordanz says:

    I’m pretty sure Raul’s ruled out MLS already, per a Spanish-language article I read the other day but don’t have the link to.

    Apparently, he specifically has already turned down interest from Seattle.

  37. Kyle J says:

    Good Shyt…

    shuttemup…….LOL

  38. Jya says:

    No that is actually your problem only media executives should think like media executives. USA Soccer players in Europe don’t generally make to big of a splash endorsement wise in the USA whether they play in the EPL or not so they shouldn’t base where they play on endorsements. How much more money is Tim Howard making over J Jones in the USA because he plays in the EPL?

  39. bryan says:

    from what i am reading, he is certainly leaning towards Qatar. but i think an MLS team should push real hard for him. i really wish DCU would, but that’s not gonna happen.

  40. BSU SC says:

    Explain how he will kill his endorsement income? What is his current income? How would transfering to another league have an impact on that?

    Your problem is that you make general statements without providing any proof. When Beckham left England his endorsement deals did not end there, they actually increased. Your arguments simply do not hold water. Looking up a few numbers on google does not make you a media executive so stop pretending like you know what you’re talking about.

  41. marco says:

    Two top strikers in Mexico Primera are from Ecuador and Uruguay I believe.

  42. marco says:

    I believe Suazo tops CCL scorers with 7 and Gomez is tied for 2nd with 6. Both are promoted in the top 5 for Golden Boot by CONCACAF.

  43. marco says:

    My point is the top leagues are international, not domestic, and you have agreed.

  44. marco says:

    Taking note of someone beating Toronto is a sad endorsement, promoted by Alexis the Great.

  45. Footballer says:

    And Dzeko won’t be loved? Based on what makes Dempsey a better fit at Dortmund? Dortmund is loaded in midfield where would Klopp (if he was interested) who slot him? He ain’t benching Kagawa, Gotze, Perisic or Bender (Kehl is captain and defensive mid so he aint getting that spot).
    The Polish duo or Jakub Blaszczykowski or Robert Lewandowski have been grand for Dortmund so where is this dude slotting into? We need to just stop mentioning teams and do some research and watch the teams. I’ve watched Bundesliga football for over 22 years please stop naming clubs just for the sake of it so we can have educated conversations and Dortmund would buy Dzeko before Dempsey (only if Dzeko is willing to take a paycut).

  46. marco says:

    Having a better USA development program is correct for the National team but is not the correct model for the MLS to improve. They need to jump over that dinosaur and look to the EPL where Arsenal has played an all 11 of internationals on a few occasions.

  47. DJ777 says:

    Clint is probably not going to Germany.

    numbers are numbers huhe888 has a valid point. might not be what we wanna hear but the point is valid

  48. cfig says:

    Hard to say but they’ve recently signed on some pretty lucrative stadium sponsorships and have talked about wanting to bring a Beckham/Henry caliber player in as a DP. The Dynamo haven’t paid big dollars for a DP yet but that doesn’t mean they won’t do it.

  49. Marquis says:

    Suazo is amazing