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Around the Leagues: Big Moves as International Deadline Approaches

By Emile Guzman, 08/31/21, 4:15PM PDT

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Exciting results, huge transfers mark a busy week

Last week, the summer transfer window brought one of 2021’s biggest moves, while a great meeting between the best of North America’s top two leagues delivered highlights and storylines sure to be talked about for some time. NWSL action continued, delivering a week of tight matches across the top flight of Women’s soccer. 

United Soccer League

A few clubs in USL put together some stunning results over the weekend. After a very tough start to the season, Oakland Roots has emerged victorious in three straight matches – including two against Tacoma and first-place Phoenix. The Bay Area side has won four of six and tallied 12 scores since a stretch through June and July that saw them find the net just twice.

The Atlantic Division dogfight between Tampa, Pittsburgh, and Miami has continued. Each of the clubs has won two straight matches, and they’ll all have a chance to extend their streaks to three this week when they take on clubs looking to get back into the postseason picture. Following last week, Tampa and Pittsburgh remained tied at the top with 40 points, while Miami is close behind at 37.

Major League Soccer

The United States’ top flight had a brief break last week as All-Star festivities took place from Los Angeles. This season’s main event pitted the MLS All-Stars against their counterparts from Mexico’s Liga MX in a match that did not disappoint. After falling behind 1-0 20 minutes in, the MLS squad rallied back to pull even before taking down their opponents 3-2 in an eventful penalty shootout that saw two misses and three kicks saved by excellent goalkeeping.

Regular season play resumed on Friday, starting with an exciting come from behind victory for Columbus over FC Cincinnati. The Crew would bag two scores in the final ten minutes to take the contest over their Midwest rivals, with both scores coming within 60 seconds of each other off the foot of Miguel Berry, marking the striker’s second career brace.

A 3-3 draw in between LAFC and LA Galaxy headlined Saturday’s action. The cross-town rivals traded punches all afternoon, combining for 35 shots and 16 opportunities on target in the season’s second El Trafico.

LAFC is making big news in the transfer market with a sale of MLS Best XI striker Diego Rossi to Turkish club Fenerbahçe, while in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Union’s Jack de Vries has been loaned to Serie A side Venezia. 

The homegrown midfielder becomes Venezia’s third MLS signing of the summer window, after Tanner Tessmann (FC Dallas) and Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City) joined earlier. NYFCFC has also loaned Alexandru Mitrita to PAOK FC in Greece on Deadline Day.

NWSL

It was a week of close matchups in NWSL play, as all but one fixture was decided by more than one score. 

Orlando Pride took a 1-0 victory over Gotham FC, allowing the club to keep pace with OL Reign, who has continued to climb in the standings after a slow start to the season. An eventful second half between Houston and Racing Louisville FC resulted in a 1-0 win for Houston. The final 45 minutes saw the fixture’s only score, a 68th minute effort from Nichelle Patrice Prince, as well as five cautions handed out to members of both squads 

OL Reign upset first place Portland in a battle of Northwest foes. A brace for Megan Rapinoe in her second straight match– third if you include the bronze medal match for the USWNT- put the Washington club in sole possession of third place on the league table. They remain just three points back of second and seven points back of first. 

Premier League

Week three of the 2021-22 Premier League season brought news of easily the second-biggest player transfer of 2020. After three seasons with Juventus in Italy’s Serie A, Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United, where he featured for six seasons between 2003 and 2009. Ronaldo’s acquisition brings even more attacking potency to the Red Devils, who already boast two players with three scores through three weeks and the league’s leading assist man in Paul Pogba.

On the other side of town, two straight wins for Manchester City have undone a tough season-opening loss. The club’s 5-0 blowout of Arsenal made them one of just two squads in the league with 10 scores through the season’s first three weeks. Arsenal, on the other hand, finds themselves last in the league table after a disastrous start to the season, which has also seen them drop matches with Brentford and a depleted Chelsea squad.  

After Tottenham’s 1-0 victory over Watford, the London club now stands as the only squad with wins in each of its first three matches. Watford has struggled since opening the season with a win, but has an advantageous matchup with Wolves, who has yet to claim a point this season.

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