Wednesday Kickoff: Club Tijuana win Libertadores opener, Pele tells Neymar to join Barca, and more

Mexican champion Club Tijuana got their inaugural appearance in Copa Libertadores off to a dream start, posting a 1-0 victory over Colombian champions Millonarios on Tuesday night in Bogota in the group stage opener for both sides.

Richard Ruiz scored the game-winner for Tijuana, heading home a cross from U.S. National Team defender Edgar Castillo for the only score of the match. Goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo did the rest, making several key saves, including a vital stop of a bicycle kick attempt by former Seattle Sounders forward Fredy Montero.

Castillo and fellow U.S. National team player Joe Corona earned starts for Club Tijuana, which now sits in first place in their Copa Libertadores group, a group that includes reigning champion Corinthians.

Here are some more stories to get your Wednesday going:

PELE TELLS NEYMAR TO JOIN BARCELONA

Brazilian legend Pele is never shy about giving his opinion, so the three-time World Cup winner had no problem telling young Brazilian star Neymar that he should join FC Barcelona rather than taking a big-money approach from Manchester City.

Neymar has long been rumored to be heading to Barcelona after the 2014 World Cup, but Manchester City is reportedly preparing a super-sized bid for the Santos sensation, an approach Pele believes Neymar should pass on in order to play with Lionel Messi and Barca.

Pele did more than just offer advice. He also had some criticism for the 21-year-old star.

“We think that he is the best in the world, but he is more concerned about appearing in the media than playing for the team,” Pele said. ”Neymar has a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders. Right now his major concerns are fashion and his haircut.”

DEL PIERO STAYING IN AUSTRALIA

Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero has apparently enjoyed his time in Australia, choosing to activate the second year of his contract with Aussie side Sydney FC.

Del Piero has enjoyed success with Sydney FC, scoring a league-best 11 goals in his first campaign.

Del Piero had been linked to a potential move to Major League Soccer, while Brazilian clubs also expressed interest in the former Juventus standout.

QUICK KICKS

After a decade in charge, Manchester United chairman David Gill is stepping down. (REPORT)

Honduran national team defender Maynor Figueroa looks set to leave Wigan for West Ham this summer. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these developments? Think Club Tijuana can make a deep run in Copa Libertadores? Agree with Pele’s advice for Neymar? Disappointed to see Del Piero staying in Australia rather than coming to MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, Mexican Soccer, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: Club Tijuana win Libertadores opener, Pele tells Neymar to join Barca, and more

  1. Vic says:

    Since Johnson has LB locked down would definately like to see Castillo given a chance at LM. Especially against Mexico.

    • MA1 Rodriguez says:

      Castillo terrible in defending but has ability to overlap well in attack.

      • biff says:

        @MA1 Rodriguez: Castillo terrible in defending. Can you support that with facts? To the best of my recollection, Castillo in his USMNT appearances under Klinsmann has never been responsible for an opposing goal. Plus, Tijuana has one of the best defensive records in Liga MX and Castillo usually plays 90m per game and is a key part of the defense–and the offense down the left wing.

      • Vic says:

        His defending has improved dramatically in the past two years.

        • Rory says:

          Dude seriously needs to get EA sports to use a new picture of him for Fifa 14 though… that fifa 13 one makes him look like someone surgically removed most of the lower half of his face. I think I’d sue if I were him.

      • Hogatroge says:

        Well, Castillo was amazing in defense last night against Millonarios, so looks like he’s improved.

    • biff says:

      @Vic: Why would we want to start a club left back as USMNT left winger? We got Shea, Beez, Brad Davis and others to play left wing. And, speaking as a big fan of Fabian Johnson, I have to say that he has not played nearly as well in recent USMNT games as he did in earlier appearances, such as Slovenia in November 2011. I think it is time to give Castillo a start.

      I personally don’t think any player, including Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley and Tim Howard, should ever be considered as having a lock on a starting slot. They need to prove they deserve it every time they put on the shirt.

      • Vic says:

        We need more players like Castillo that have good touch and could hold possession. Although Shea and Bealey have some good attributes, I don’t think they will help with possession. I’m fine with Brad Davis but I don’t think Klinnsmann is seriously considering him as a starter.

        • biff says:

          Hey, Vic, I agree Castillo has good touch and ball skills. I think he ranks among the best on the USMNT. And I agree we need more players like that on the USMNT and I think rather than playing Castillo out-of-position he should get the start over Johnson against Costa Rica and Mexico. I can see the argument to start Castillo at left wing, but in my mind it is just more of the failed Klinsmann strategy of playing defensive midfielders as attackers and it well past time (18 months past time) to start bringing in wingers and attacking midfielders who play those positions at the club level, even if they are — gosh forbid — only lowly MLS players like those jokes Honduras had on the field who humiliated the great Timothy Chandler and others on the USMNT, not mention the $2.5 million man.

          Someone yesterday suggested on SBI playing Castillo at left back and Parkhurst at right back and then Fabian at left wing and Chandler at right wing. Why? Just makes no sense to me to have four fullbacks (or three fullbacks) on the field plus a million defensive midfielders. We need wingers who not only can hold the ball and pass, but also can go one-on-one and pose a danger to score goals. Fabian has done that a very few times in the past, but he has never that good at scoring and now has played LB at the club level for over a year. And Chandler is not half as good as Johnson on the ball and I think would be really no better than Danny Williams was at right wing.

        • biff says:

          Hey, Vic, I agree Castillo has good touch and ball skills. I think he ranks among the best on the USMNT. And I agree we need more players like that on the USMNT and I think rather than playing Castillo out-of-position he should get the start over Johnson against Costa Rica and Mexico. I can see the argument to start Castillo at left wing, but in my mind it is just more of the failed Klinsmann strategy of playing defensive midfielders as attackers and it well past time (18 months past time) to start bringing in wingers and attacking midfielders who play those positions at the club level, even if they are — gosh forbid — only lowly MLS players like those jokes Honduras had on the field who humiliated the great Timothy Chandler and others on the USMNT, not mention the $2.5 million man.

          Someone yesterday suggested on SBI playing Castillo at left back and Parkhurst at right back and then Fabian at left wing and Chandler at right wing. Why? Just makes no sense to me to have four fullbacks (or three fullbacks) on the field plus a million defensive midfielders. We need wingers who not only can hold the ball and pass, but also can go one-on-one and pose a danger to score goals. Fabian has done that a very few times in the past, but he has never that good at scoring and now has played LB at the club level for over a year. And Chandler is not half as good as Johnson on the ball and I think would be really no better than Danny Williams was at right wing.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        shea hasn’t played in a while, and i don’t think davis is good enough for the hex.

        i don’t have a problem with beasley starting per se, but why not start both fabian and castillo? you could have them nominally as fabian (LB) and castillo (LM), but practically, they would just take turns making runs up the left side. think it could work pretty well, since they both are decent 2-way players.

      • Hogatroge says:

        Castillo played a good bit of LM for Tijuana last week.

        Being a contrarian gets tiresome, no?

    • Beto says:

      Id say the both johnson and castillo are similar in that their best positions are LM, LW, and then LB. i would hope that shea, gatt, donovan, bedoya, someone takes the winger role but those two should also be considered.

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

        What evidence do you have that either player is better in midfield than defense(a few minutes for the national team?)? Both play left back for their clubs (even though I doubt you or almost anyone here has seen much of either players’ club play). Many claim because Castillo isn’t the best defender that he would be better at left mid when that probably just isn’t true. Overlapping from left back well and actually being able to play left mid are very different. The runs are different, the positioning is different, the responsibilities are different.

        • Francois says:

          I’ve seen both players extensively in club play. To be honest, I would love to see Castillo at LB and Fabian on the wing. Fabian is the best attacker and most technically gifted player that we have, and Edgar has grown in leaps and bounds in the past year and a half.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Castillo has played LM for Tijuana.

  2. biff says:

    Call me silly if you want, but this is yet more evidence that Edgar Castillo should be seriously considered to start against Costa Rica. Castillo and Corona are cooking in Liga MX and now winning a tough game against a good team on the road, in Bogota no less. This is exactly the kind of winning spirit and Latin flavor we need in the USMNT against Costa Rica and, especially, in the Pit in Mexico City. Isn’t it time not only to bring in some bona fide club attackers and start only two defensive midfielders, but also to shake things up a bit and quit starting people who in the past might have produced a few times and/or were top of the depth charts but in recent games have failed to show up? And there are three or four players I would put into that category who, at the very least, should not be starting but instead be on the bench as subs, and maybe one or two of those need some time off from USMNT duty.

    • TomG says:

      Klinsi likes Mexican-American talent in theory, but in practice he hasn’t shown that he knows how to implement them on the field. Castillo and Torres have not looked particularly good in USMNT kits. The only one to replicate his form from Liga MX is Herc and I’d argue that Herc is not a typical high skill Liga MX player, but rather a classic work rate guy. I wonder if JK’s system is designed for work rate, off the ball types rather than the more technical, on the ball style epitomized by many Latin American soccer pros.

    • Amru says:

      I think it would be interesting to see castillo at LB and move fabian up to LW.

    • Hogatroge says:

      You’re not crazy. Castillo looked great both offensively and defensively last night. He cleaned up so many plays his teammates flubbed. Every other word from the commentators’ mouths was “Castillo.”

      Corona, however, had a mediocre outing.

  3. 2324 says:

    MLS needs more Latin players. MLS also needs to be invited to the Champions League tournament of South America

    • Silversurfer says:

      Why do we need more Latin players? Is there a quota system? Do you consider Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, and French players to be Latin also? Maybe MLS just needs better players period. Isn’t that what we really want

    • Gnarls says:

      If Latino players add to the quality of the league, then I agree. And if we’re talking about Hispanic-Americans, then I definitely agree. But if you’re talking about more Latinos from Central and South America coming to MLS just for the sake of having more Latinos in the league, then what’s the point?

      The US is a nation of 315 million; white, Hispanic, Asian, Black, purple, green, plaid, polka dot, and so on. I’d much rather see more QUALITY Americans playing in MLS who could potentially play for the Nats – regardless of ethnic origin.

  4. 2324 says:

    Pele said. ”Neymar has a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders. Right now his major concerns are fashion and his haircut.”

    Pele just drove on him lol. Does Pele really have nothing better to do all day than comment on Brazil’s current top footballers. did he not save all his money from decades ago

    • fifawitz1313 says:

      Actually, if I remember right from the book “How Soccer Explains the World” Pele was pretty badly mis-handled/ had the wrong people influencing his financial decisions during his playing time and got involved in some sketchy deals that fell through. I don’t think he ended up with a lot of money by the end of his career.

  5. Gord Downie says:

    @ Azteca

    ——————-Altidore————————–
    Gomez——-J.F. Torres———-Dempsey
    ———–Bradley———Jones—————–
    Castillo——————————–Chandler
    ————Orozco———Cameron————
    ——————-Howard————————–

    • Bobb says:

      LOL there is no way Fabian Johnson is not in the 11 if healthy.
      Or that Orozco Fiscal starts over Bocanegra/Gonzalez.
      And Torres has proven time after time that he can’t cut it at the international level…

      • Nate Dollars says:

        “And Torres has proven time after time that he can’t cut it at the international level” when not in his natural position.

        your point still stands re: the above lineup, because torres is NOT an attacking (or even box-to-box) mid.

  6. elpasotx says:

    In reality, Edgar Castillo played his young soccer career in El Paso Texas and Las Cruces New Mexico. Edgar is from Las Cruces New Mexico but played in El Paso a big time of his young years and I actually played against him (not lying) and he played foward and center mid like a number 10. In high school he played foward and scored a sh*t lot of goals but thats high school and then at the national level for the U.S. when he got recruited he also played foward I believe. Then in Mexico, the coach who debuted him in Santos Laguna de Torreon made him a left side offensive winger ( like left mid, not defense) Then as time went on when he hit rock bottom in Mexico, they made him a defender when in reality he has the speed and creativity like Mexicos Guardado, French Ribery and that new winger for Barcelona. Castillo was never a defender and thats why he is not good at it and he is a true offensive player. Once he comes to MLS, he will show his true colors because he will feel more free to be his own, not like in Mexico. By the way, he played for Las Cruces Strikers and El Paso Chivas.

    • Kevin says:

      Do you have any idea what his younger brother Noel is doing these days? I know he went to play w/ Santos, too, but probably never made it past their reserve side and I haven’t heard anything since.

      • elpasotx says:

        No, Noel was a more of a defender I l think and I don’t wanna be rude or anything but they were two different players. But in reality Castillo is an offensive player with speed and a creative touch, ever since he became a defender I think he lost his creativity more. He should invest in a soccer team for El Paso and Las Cruces, maybe an NASL team in El Paso. By the way, many people do not know that El Paso is a powerhouse soccer city in Texas and combining Las Cruces and Juarez, Chihuahua it only gets more soccer crazy. Funny part our city is going to make a triple A soccer stadium DOWNTOWN instead of a soccer stadium and even the ownership group has ties to soccer but they decide to go for baseball.

        • Rory says:

          Sounds like Marvell Wynne, who was a forward moved to defender also. .. and probably a dozen other guys that play at a high level for MLS clubs.

    • biff says:

      That is a very interesting comment, elpasotx. Thanks.

      • elpasotx says:

        Just putting out there, many soccer players from the Las Cruces and El Paso area go try out for Mexican soccer academies like America and many others due to the fact university powerhouse soccer programs do not come to El Paso or Las Cruces to recruit (sucks for them) . Our local University UTEP does not have soccer for men but yes for women and that is super crazy, because if UTEP had a mens soccer program like University of New Mexico the Lobos, El Paso would have a powerhouse soccer program. For example, our high schools have ex-professional soccer players coaching the high school soccer programs, many youth soccer teams in El Paso have ex-professional soccer players as coaches as well. Only if NASL knew of the hidden gem of El Paso.

    • Beto says:

      Interesting, i think most pros play as CM or CF in high school simply bc they are the best players around. I knowGooch, Demerit and Spector were all attackers for that reason, thats the point of professional coaches; to take the best soccer player and find a professional role for them.
      Castillo would be a great winger in MLS but right now soccer is the one and only job you can make more money working in Mexico than the US. Until they raise the cap, make a US DP rule… I think he is in a fine place right now at LB with TJ and if fabian johnson doesnt improve on his poor US form after the Honduras game Edgar might slip into the US XI

      • elpasotx says:

        He feels home at Tijuana due to the border and believe it or not, his first language was English and not Spanish. He spoke more English and the Las Cruces and El Paso high schools have a lot of competition in soccer in high school due to soccer being the number one sport in Las Cruces and El Paso, but mainly El Paso because El Paso is a bigger city with a lot of soccer heads,and the competition in soccer in El Paso and Las Cruces as well in very high. El Paso has bigger soccer city leagues than Las Cruces and believe it or not, the high school students that play soccer are also involved in city league, making El Paso a hot bed, which Texas ignores. Ask anybody from Austin, Houston, Dallas, Fort worh, San Antonio. Does El Paso have the best soccer fans and players? and the answer is mainly yes. How come El Paso high schools don’t win state championships ? Because the state never gives El Paso high schools home playoff games for obvious reasons and because El Paso High schools are made to travel due to the fact El Paso is to far west. To me thats bullcrap and El Paso high schools always get the bad end.

  7. Josh D says:

    What happened to the old school Q&A?

  8. PBJOHN says:

    As a Xolos season ticket holder it’s been great watching Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona improve at such a dramatic pace. They both have a big future with USMNT, and I could see them both contributing in Brazil 2014. They are a huge part of Tijuana’s success.

    • biff says:

      @PBJOHN: Does Castillo ever played left wing for the Xolos? If so, how recently? Do you think Castillo could play well for the USMNT as left winger with Fabian Johnson behind him?

      Where does Corona normally play for Tijuana? Would you see him more as a central midfielder for the USMNT or more as a winger? Left or right?

      And why is Greg Garza no longer making the roster?

      • PBJOHN says:

        The only thing Fabian Johnson has on Edgar Castillo is physicality. Castillo has a very slight build, but runs like a deer. I’m sure he could play midfield, but we are stacked at that position and his defensive abilities have improved dramatically in the last two years.
        Joe Corona plays up front right behind the strikers and has a great knack for positioning, possession and passing. Not bad talents to have. Also a great work rate and always brings great effort and attitude. Very smart kid.
        Greg Garza has been hurt. He did play last night in a friendly vs LA Galaxy at Home Depot Center. His first time back on the field since he was hurt.

      • whoop-whoop says:

        Watched the US v. Honduras match and was exasperated by our lack of skill and patience… zero ambition in breaking down an organized packed in D. Certainly there was no wing play at all and still… painfully, no one bossing the midfield. There are missing pieces for sure.

        Same week I tune into TJ v. Club America. Club America up 2-0, and playing with only 10 after a send-off, is well bunkered in. Xolos with Corona at CM is mounting a furious assault. They are owning the ball, with quick movement and passing. America’s keeper is absolutely standing on his head in goal and the crossbar and posts doing a fine job as well! They get one back… 2-1 and the onslaught becomes even more desperate and energetic…. but fall short.

        The proximity of the 2 games, I couldn’t help but notice TJ had exactly what our Nats were missing and I was pining for watching them! Annnd… Joe Corona who is in our system was an itegral part of it! Look… he’s young and not a superhero, nor THE answer. But… he’s composed, confident, imaginative w/ deft touches and I think could be part of the answer. I saw him put 3-4 lofted balls over the CBs in threatening places. Clever touch passes in tight spaces. I turned off the TV and couldn’t help but think Corona has “it”. Has an ingredient our Nats are missing. Sometimes all a bland, lifeless stew needs is a few little tweaks, a few pinches of spice to be transformed.

  9. bryan says:

    didn’t castillo have the assist on the goal?

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Yes, it says that clear as day in the second graph of the story. Did you just miss it?

      • bryan says:

        yup, i’m just an idiot! i wish that comment stayed in moderation………lol

        • Ives Galarcep says:

          Haha. No worries man. Maybe I could have written it better, used the word assist for those folks reading it early in the morning. LOL