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The former River Plate star ‘conquering’ Major League Soccer

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For a team to rise from near the bottom of the table to contenders at the top in just a year, it needs a special performer to step up. For Austin FC this season, that has been Sebastian Driussi.

The Argentine midfielder has, at times, carried his team on his back, proving a goalscoring machine and a creative linchpin with 22 goals and five primary assists in 34 regular-season appearances.

That’s even a marked improvement from the five goals and eight assists in 17 games last year, when Driussi only joined halfway through the season. But then, given his pedigree, we shouldn’t have expected any less.

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After all, Driussi is a player who hails from the same River Plate youth system that has produced legends of the game such as Pablo Aimar, Javier Mascherano, Gonzalo Higuain, and Hernan Crespo.

Driussi flourished in his homeland and in the 2016/17 season, netted 20 goals in 36 appearances across all competitions – enough to earn him a long-awaited move to Europea with Russian giants Zenit Saint Petersburg.

Though he scored 19 goals across his first two seasons, Driussi’s time in Russia was somewhat less successful and slowly but surely, he fell down the pecking order. The path to Major League Soccer was opening up before him and when he did arrive Stateside, Driussi was stronger for his European experiences.

“That is part of the reason why he is in the moment that he is sporting-wise,” fellow Argentine and Portland Timbers icon Diego Valeri said of Driussi earlier this year. “He is mature, he has a lot of experiences, he’s very competitive – all of that collaborates into his performance, but certainly there is a lot of value in what he has already conquered.”

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In his first full season with the club, Driussi’s 22 goals have guided Austin FC all the way up to second in the Western Conference. Only the Philadelphia Union (72) and LAFC (66) have scored more than the Verde and Black (65) and although he may not win the award, Driussi is rightly at the front of the MVP conversation.

“He’s a very tactical player, with a lot of power,” said veteran NYCFC playmaker and compatriot Maxi Moralez. “He’s not a big No. 9 but rather knows how to manage his speed in very small spaces, but you can clearly see the quality that he has in front of goal. Is he the MVP? For me, yes. There are still a few games to go, but what he is doing is superb.”

Driussi himself will likely be paying very little attention to individual awards, though losing the Golden Boot race to Hany Mukhtar to just a single goal may hurt.

Instead, the focus will be on Austin FC’s MLS Cup Playoffs debut.

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Whatever happens from here, this season has been a success. However, a victory over Real Salt Lake in the first round will make a stunning 2022 season that much sweeter for Texas’ up-and-comers.

And should that happen, you can bet Sebastian Driussi will be at the heart of it.

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.

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Monterrey signs midfielder Jordi Cortizo from Puebla

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Rayados de Monterrey have signed midfielder Jordi Cortizo from Club Puebla, ahead of the 2023 Liga MX Clausura. 

He joins the Guadalajara team on a four-season contract, according to Diego Armando Medina of TUDN.

“I have been delighted since the opportunity to come here was given, I always knew that I had to make a leap to these big leagues with one of the biggest clubs in Mexico,” Cortizo said of his transfer. 

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Cortizo kicked off his professional career with Queretaro in 2017, recording four goals in 76 appearances over the course of three years before seeing stints with Tijuana and Puebla. He managed well in Liga MX, but it wasn’t until the 2022 Apertura that he became a standout. 

The offensive midfielder recorded five goals in 20 overall matches to inspire Puebla to eighth on the table and the Liguilla quarterfinals. 

Overall, Cortizo has 12 goals in 149 Liga MX appearances. 

“They are going to see a player who always tries, that will never fail, who will go for the ball, will try to play, propose offensive play, go forward and who will always give himself up for the club. It is my dream to be champion of the Liga MX, there is no better option today than to be sitting here and with this squad to achieve it,” he said.

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Cortizo stands as the first signing under new Monterrey president Jose Antonio Noriega, who replaced Duilio Davino  following the team’s elimination from the 2022 Apertura. Upon his arrival, Noriega insisted he needed to evaluate the team’s needs before making drastic changes. 

But the arrival of Jordi Cortizo will now set off the several moves already planned. 

The 2023 Liga MX Clausura kicks off on January 6.



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Club America sign defender Israel Reyes from Puebla

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Club America has finally signed defender Israel Reyes from Club Puebla.

He stands as the team’s first reinforcement ahead of the 2023 Liga MX Clausura, joining on a four-year contract.  The Mexico City team reportedly paid $4.5M for Reyes, after he established himself as one of the most promising defenders in the Mexican league.

Reyes kicked off his professional career with Atlas in 2019, before quickly securing a loan deal to Puebla. After 19 games with the Franja, the team exercised his purchase option to make Reyes a staple of the backline. 

But it wasn’t until the 2022 Apertura that he became a standout in the Mexican league. The 22-year-old managed three goals in 17 games of the 2022 Apertura, inspiring Puebla to eighth place in the regular season and the Liguilla quarterfinals. 

Overall, he recorded six goals in 76 appearances with Puebla before joining Club America.

Internationally, the player holds one cap with the Mexican national team. He made his debut on December 8, 2021, coming on as a substitute in the 68th minute of a friendly against Chile.

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England vs Senegal: Confirmed lineups

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England vs Senegal: Confirmed lineups

On Sunday, England and Senegal, their opponents in the last-16 of the World Cup, square off at Al Bayt Stadium in a battle for a spot in the quarterfinals.

The Three Lions take on the Lions of Teranga, who advanced to the knockout stages thanks to a crucial intervention from their captain, in a first-ever meeting after Gareth Southgate’s team defeated Wales to win Group B.

Line-up

England XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson, Bellingham; Saka, Foden, Kane.  

Senegal XI: E. Mendy; Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, Jakobs; Ciss, N. Mendy; Diatta, Ndiaye, Sarr; Dia. 

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