While Hassani Dotson's season with Minnesota United FC came to an end in devastating fashion, our alums over in Spain and Italy approached the midway point with a handful of matches, with Joel Rydstrand helping his squad move up into first place. Read more below!
HASSANI DOTSON – MINNESOTA UNITED FC (MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER)
Dotson and Minnesota United suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Seattle in the dying seconds of the Western Conference Final last Monday, December 7th. Dotson was called upon to replace Romain Métanire at right back, who left the pitch with an injury in the 40th minute. Playing out of his usual holding midfield position, Dotson still recorded 12 pressures, completed 14 passes, and blocked four balls.
In just his second MLS season, Hassani finished eighth on the team in total playing time, as well as first in defensive pressures (375 total) and tied for second in total blocks (with 38, Métanire had 39). His pressure rate is especially impressive considering that 375 mark dwarfs all others—the next closest teammate is Robin Lod with 290.
Dotson’s contract option has been picked up by Minnesota United for the 2021 season, so we look forward to continue seeing him grow with another year of MLS experience!
ÁLEX PANTOJA – CD GUADALAJARA (SPANISH TERCERA DIVISIÓN)
Depor have had a busy last 10 days, with three league matches all ending in a score of 1-0. On Sunday, Dec. 6th, Guadalajara fell to league leaders UB Conquense on the road due to an error from their goalkeeper (Spanish speakers can view Pantoja's post-game interview here), then turned around to beat CD Azuqueca in their local derbi two days later at home, before losing to CD Torrijos this past Sunday, again on the road.
Pantoja has become a fixture for his club in the midfield, starting all three matches. He was subbed off after 74 minutes in the first game, at the half in the second to keep fresh legs on the pitch, and in the 64th minute against Torrijos. He’s also been acting as one of the team’s captains.
The club will now enjoy some time off during a long winter break and even have a bye in the league’s first week back, so won’t play again until January 17 when they host CD Marchamalo.
XIMO MIRALLES – CD NUMANCIA (SPANISH SEGUNDA B DIVISION)
On Saturday, Dec. 5, CD Numancia conceded a last-minute goal for the second week in a row, this time in a 1-0 loss to Burgos CF. Miralles played the full match in goal and was left hung out to dry on the game-winner, as he was unable to stop a 1-on-1 breakaway.
Miralles and Numancia bounced back the following weekend with a 1-0 win of their own over U.P. Langreo. Ximo was only called on to make two relatively simple saves as he recorded his fourth clean sheet of the season. The club goes into the holiday break in fifth place, but only two points off the league lead.
On Wednesday, the club from Soria won its First Round Copa del Rey match over Lorca Deportiva by the score of 4-1. Numancia manager Manix Mandiola opted to give his usual reserve goalkeeper, Roberto Jara, his first action of the season, meaning that Miralles watched on from the bench. The draw for the next round will take place tomorrow (Friday), and Numancia could find themselves matched up with a club from Primera.
Numancia will return to action on January 6th as they host a Second Round Copa del Rey match.
JOEL RYDSTRAND – CD SAN ROQUE DE LEPE (SPANISH TERCERA DIVISIÓN)
Rydstrand and San Roque de Lepe are on fire, having won three straight matches, the last two by a score of 1-0 to jump to the top of the table! First, on Dec. 6th, the black-and-yellow squad defeated last-placed Coria CF on the road before returning home the following week to take down CD Utrera. As has become the norm, Joel played the full 90 minutes in the midfield in each match. San Roque will have one more game this weekend before getting some rest over the winter break.
Up Next: Sunday 12/20 at CD Pozoblanco
FRANCESCO TIOZZO – USD ADRIESE 1906 (ITALIAN SERIE D)
USD Adriese, playing for the first time in three weeks, earned a much-needed 2-0 victory over bottom-dwellers Chions. Tiozzo started off on the substitute’s bench but came on in the 79th minute with his side up by two goals to help bolster the back line and see out the win. Adriese has two upcoming matches this week before a short recess for the holiday break.
Next Up: Sunday 12/20 vs Ambrosiana; Wednesday 12/23 at Delta Porto Tolle