Although a certain Argentine #10’s free-kick was spectacular, there were actually plenty of other games in the first week of Leagues Cup that many have missed due to it being drowned out by the heavy focus on the debut of the global superstar. In fact, many across social media didn’t even know this was Leagues Cup at all, with many confusing it for MLS. I love a blind following! Anyways, Real Salt Lake dominated the Sounders, Minnesota went down to Puebla 4-0 with 10 men, Mazatlán embarrassed Austin (who hasn’t at this point?), while John Tolkin twerked on New England. Here is a recap of some of the competition’s most memorable moments in week one.
Seattle is Flooded with Salt
Group B started with a bang as Real Salt Lake offensively dominated the Seattle Sounders despite going down a man to win 3-0. After the first half ended at 0-0, Jefferson Savarino and Chicho Arango scored in the 48th and 51st minute to quickly get up 2-0. RSL defender Marcelo Silva was shown red in the 60th minute, but instead of taking advantage of this opportunity, Seattle ran dry the rest of the half, even conceding a third time in the 88th minute with a goal from Rubio Rubin. RSL face Monterrey on Wednesday, and regardless of that result, Seattle needs a win for any hope of going to the next round in their match against Monterrey on Sunday.
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) July 23, 2023
Bongo, Bebelo, and Boxall
Minnesota got rolling early against Puebla away from home to start group E as Bongokuhle Hlongwane scored in the 24th minute. Still, just six minutes later, VAR found Micheal Boxall guilty of violent conduct which resulted in him being sent off. Unlike the aforementioned Seattle, Pubela actually put up a fight, owning 69% possession of the ball and completing almost 300 more passes. Unfortunately, Minnesota had other plans… goalscoring ones, at that. Between the 51st and 65th minutes, Bongo Hlongwane scored again, while Bebe Reynoso scored a brace as well, with the latter being a beautiful free-kick. The best one I saw all tournament so far, actually. Minnesota host the Fire on Thursday the 27th for their final group-stage game.
The best Argentinian free kick of @LeaguesCup
@ me if you disagree pic.twitter.com/5aLAouG5Td
— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) July 24, 2023
Tournaments Hate Austin
Somehow, Austin always makes themselves look bad for any other games outside of MLS. Always. First, it was failing to get past Haitian side Violette A.C. in this year’s CONCACAF Champion’s League, then it was going out unconvincingly of the U.S. Open Cup by losing to the Fire, and now they’ve lost to one of the worst Liga MX sides in Mazatlán FC 1-3 to be all-but knocked out of the group. The Cãnoneros’ goalscorers were Josué Colmán, Andrés Montaño, and Eduard Bello, while Diego Fagúndez scored a penalty for the Verde. Cup competitions are just not Austin’s thing.
ES PEC TA CU LAR 🔥
— Mazatlán F.C. ⚓️ (@MazatlanFC) July 22, 2023
The Revs get Twerked On
I thought it was quite interesting when the Major League Soccer official Instagram page highlighted John Tolkin’s celebration of throwing around his lower compartment after scoring the game-winning penalty for the Red Bulls in their shootout against the New England Revolution. So interesting, actually, that here I am writing about it. In a game with basically no crowd, the Red Bulls and Revs held each other to a 0-0 draw through 90 minutes and extra time, and due to the League’s Cup’s specific rules, games remaining a draw at full-time immediately go to penalties, which I find extremely entertaining. Six of this week’s games actually went to penalties, so this definitely will not be an isolated instance. NYRB missed their initial penalty, but after DeJuan Jones and Giacomo Vrioni missed consecutive ones for New England, but up stepped John Tolkin, and the rest is history (I guess?). Makes me cringe every time I watch it.
The celebration worthy of a match-winner 🕺 pic.twitter.com/lOTjX0ltQb
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) July 23, 2023