Inter Miami CF have signed Jamaica international defender Damion Lowe, the club announced Sunday.

The 28-year-old joins Inter Miami through to the 2023 MLS season with a re-sign option for 2024.

“Damion is a capable center back who has proven himself at the international level for Jamaica and we’re happy to welcome him at Inter Miami," chief soccer officer and sporting director Chris Henderson said in a release.

 "I’ve known Damion for a long time and I’m sure he’ll welcome this challenge to break into MLS while helping us achieve our objectives. We’re looking forward to continuing to solidify our backline with this signing," Henderson added.

Lowe was selected No. 8 overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft by Seattle Sounders FC where he made 18 appearances with the then-USL Championship affiliate Seattle Sounders FC 2 and scored one goal.

He's had a well-travelled career ever since, making stops at Minnesota United FC, IK Start in Norway, Al Ittihad in Egypt, and Tampa Bay Rowdies and Phoenix Rising both USL Championship.

Lowe has become a regular with Jamaica, earning 41 senior caps while regularly serving as captain for the Reggae Boyz.

He was named to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Best XI.

 

Lorenzo Insigne will leave Napoli at the end of the season to join Major League Soccer side Toronto FC.

The 30-year-old has spent his entire career in Naples despite regularly being linked with a move away, but will finally say goodbye to his hometown club when his contract expires in June.

Winger Insigne has signed a four-year deal, which will begin on July 1, after agreeing to move to Toronto as a designated player.

The Italy international has played 412 games for Napoli, scoring 113 goals and registering 88 assists, and was a key part of Roberto Mancini's side that won Euro 2020 last year, scoring two goals in six games 

Toronto president Bill Manning said: “This is a historic and exciting day for our club.

"Lorenzo is a world-class attacking player in the prime of his career. He was a European champion with Italy and has performed on the biggest stages during his club career with Napoli.

"Lorenzo has the talent to change games. He plays the game with joy and passion, and our fans and supporters are going to love watching him as a member of our team."

 

Insigne will become the second big-name Italian to play for Toronto, following in the footsteps of Sebastian Giovinco, who joined the Canadian side from Juventus in 2015.

The club's head coach and sporting director Bob Bradley said it was a move they had been hoping to make for "many years", stating: "We are all looking forward to having Lorenzo join us this summer.

"His ability to create chances for himself and his teammates is special. Having watched him for many years, I also know he's also a player who works for the team.

"Lorenzo is the kind of player you come to watch because there's always a chance he'll do something unforgettable."

Promising United States striker Ricardo Pepi has joined Augsburg from FC Dallas for a reported €18million ($20m) fee plus add ons.

Pepi, 18, impressed for Dallas in the 2021 season as he scored 13 times in MLS – the joint-most ever managed by a teenager in the competition.

The forward is also the youngest player to ever score in consecutive World Cup qualifiers for the USA and has previously been linked to some of Europe's top clubs, such as Borussia Dortmund and Ajax.

But Pepi has opted to move to Augsburg, who have signed the talented teenager on a five-and-a-half-year contract, while holding the option to extend for a further year.

The transfer represents a club-record deal for Dallas as Pepi dethrones Alphonso Davies' move from Vancouver Whitecaps to Bayern Munich in 2018 as the most expensive outgoing homegrown player from MLS.

Upon confirmation of the deal on Monday, Pepi said: "Moving to Europe after the conclusion of the MLS season was my dream. 

"I believe FC Augsburg and the Bundesliga will prove the perfect settings for me to gain match practice at the top level as a youngster. 

"The efforts the FCA [Augsburg] club officials put in to sign me were really impressive. As a result, I felt right away that FCA was the right club for me. 

"I can't wait to meet my new teammates and I want to integrate into the team as quickly as possible. I can hardly wait to get going!"

Augsburg sit just a point above the relegation zone in the German top flight before they restart their Bundesliga campaign with a trip to Hoffenheim on Saturday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future is unclear having become frozen out.

The Gabon striker was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy last month and dropped by the club for disciplinary reasons and has not played since.

Aubameyang's future is a hot topic as the January transfer window opens.

TOP STORY - NEWCASTLE IN FOR JANUARY AUBA MOVE

Big-spending Newcastle have got in touch with Arsenal about a loan deal for outcast striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang claims The Mirror.

The Magpies want to sign 32-year-old Aubameyang on loan for the remainder of the season.

Newcastle would also look to sign Aubameyang, who is away at the African Cup of Nations, on a £20million off-season permanent deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Teenage US international Ricardo Pepi is on the verge of joining Bundesliga club Augsburg claims Fabrizio Di Romano. The 18-year-old netted 13 goals for Dallas in the 2021 MLS season and is set for a medical on Sunday.

- Eddie Nketiah is being pursued by Bayer Leverkusen on a free transfer from Arsenal when his contract expires at the end of this season, reports The Sun.

- Sport reports that Brazilian giants Palmeiras are not interested in signing forward Philippe Coutinho as Barcelona try to shop him around in January.

- Axel Tuanzebe will join Napoli on loan from Manchester United until the end of the season, claims the Manchester Evening News. Tuanzebe is currently on loan at Aston Villa.

- The Sun claims that Manchester United's pursuit of Declan Rice has been boosted by West Ham's recent slide outside the Premier League top four.

2021 is dead – long live 2022.

It's a new year, and while the one changing to a two literally overnight may seem arbitrary, it gives us an excuse to look ahead and what's on the horizon.

Of course, we're now into a World Cup year – 12 months from now, we'll have newly crowned world champions and, who knows, maybe a new superstar or two will have emerged.

While there's no guarantee about a player's trajectory, Stats Perform have at least put together a list of 22 under-22 players who could be worth keeping an eye out for in 2022.

GOALKEEPERS

Etienne Green, 21, English – Saint-Etienne

Honestly, he's not included just because of the perfection of a player called Etienne Green playing for Les Verts, Saint-Etienne – though that certainly warrants a mention. Colchester-born Green has played 23 times in Ligue 1 for the club, making Leeds United's Ilan Meslier the only goalkeeper born after 2000 to play more often (53) across the top five leagues. In April he became the fourth Ligue 1 keeper since Opta records began (2006-07) to save a penalty on his debut and he's since gone on to nail down a starting spot. Having recently declared for England over France, Green could be an outside bet for Gareth Southgate's squad at Qatar 2022.

Maarten Vandevoordt, 19, Belgian – Genk

In 2019, Vandevoordt became the Champions League's youngest ever goalkeeper at 17 years and 287 days old – it proved to be a bit of a nightmare as Genk lost 4-0, with youngster at fault for two goals. It would've been enough to shatter the confidence of most young players, but Vandevoordt's since gone on to become first-choice, playing 16 league games in 2020-21 and all 21 this term.

DEFENDERS

Kaiky, 17, Brazilian – Santos

If there's any area of the pitch that one might consider to be the hardest to establish yourself in as a young player, most would say centre-back. Yet, despite not turning 18 until January 12, Kaiky has racked up an impressive number of appearances there for Santos. He played more minutes in the 2021 Brasileirao (1,334 minutes) and the Libertadores (495) than any other under-19 player and has impressed with his comfort in possession, aerial ability and demonstrable appetite for defending. He has a long way to go, but he sure has made a promising start.

Becir Omeragic, 19, Swiss – FC Zurich

Omeragic is among the most highly rated young centre-backs in Europe and was in Switzerland's Euro 2020 squad – despite still being only 19, he's already played 71 Swiss Super League games for Zurich. This season he ranks highly in numerous metrics among defenders, such as tackle attempts (29, fifth-highest), interceptions (26, seventh-highest) and possession won (105, fifth-highest), while he offers good progression on the ball, his carry progress of 1,796.6m upfield being the fourth-best among all defenders – two of those are full-backs. Expect to see him in one of Europe's biggest leagues fairly soon.

Ilya Zabarnyi, 19, Ukrainian – Dynamo Kiev

Previously linked with Chelsea, among other major clubs, Zabarnyi caught the eye at Euro 2020 with some mature displays. Despite being the joint-youngest player in the squad, Zabarnyi was one of the five players to play every minute for Ukraine, and among those to feature for at least 100 minutes, he ranked in the top three for touches (72.8) and passes (60.6) on a per-90 basis. Similarly, only four played more passes into the final third than him (4.7), and three of those were midfielders. A move to a bigger league will give us a better idea of just how good Zabarnyi is, but the promise is there.

Ethan Laird, 20, English – Swansea City (on loan from Manchester United)

Manchester United have rated right-back Laird highly for a while – he actually made his senior debut for them as far back as November 2019 in the Europa League. Since then, he showed great promise at Milton Keynes Dons and then followed coach Russell Martin in making the jump to the Championship with Swansea City, where he's continued to impress. Only three defenders in the division have created more chances than him in open play (23), while his five big chances created is the second-most in the Swans squad. With Aaron Wan-Bissaka seemingly unable to kick on at United, Laird's opportunity may arrive in 2022.

Alex Balde, 18, Spanish – Barcelona

Barcelona have seemingly once again become great trusters of youth – not that their situation has given them much of a choice. Balde's not yet one of those to become a regular, and you'd think he will struggle to dislodge Jordi Alba at left-back, but in his four LaLiga appearances the 18-year-old has shown real promise with his ability on the ball and pace. Given his skillset and Xavi's desire to play with classic wingers, he may find himself used further up the pitch – either way, he's definitely one to watch.

George Bello, 19, American – Atlanta United

Nigeria-born Bello may not be 20 until late January, but he's already made a strong impression in MLS, so much so that he became a regular part of the USA's senior side in 2021. Added to that, his 2,433 minutes played was the most of any MLS player to end the season as a teenager. An attack-minded left-back, Bello is excellent on the ball and possesses great pace, and he may well be on the move soon given his contract expires at the end of 2022. If anyone takes a punt, they could be rewarded handsomely.

MIDFIELDERS

Yacine Adli, 21, French – Bordeaux (on loan from Milan)

Milan fans have every reason to be excited about Adli. The kind of silky playmaker that makes almost everything look effortless, he has created more chances after a carry (11) than any other midfielder in Ligue 1 this term. He may not be a great goal threat himself, but his six assists is the second-most among the same group of players (Dimitri Payet has seven) – all of Adli's were from open play, however, which is the most the league's midfielders. Whether he can keep that up at Milan is unclear, but if he can, they'll have a real asset on their hands.

Unai Vencedor, 21, Spanish – Athletic Bilbao

Athletic are one of LaLiga's stranger teams in that they don't win, lose, score or concede very often, yet that's not stopping Vencedor from thriving. A controlling presence with satisfying calmness on the ball in centre midfield, Vencedor is mature for his age and already has significant influence over Athletic's play. Just Iker Muniain and Inaki Williams have been involved in more open-play shot-ending sequences than Vencedor (47) among Athletic players, while the former (eight) is the only one with more instances of being involved in build-up and taking the shot (five) at the end, highlighting his importance to not only keeping them on the ball but also posing an attacking threat.

Nicolo Rovella, 20, Italian – Genoa (on loan from Juventus)

Granted, Rovella's hardly a hidden gem given Juve signed him in a deal potentially worth €20m last January, but he's still not quite a household name. Nevertheless, he looks a real prospect. A deep-lying midfielder, Rovella is elegant on the ball, hard-working without it and excellent at set-pieces. For struggling Genoa this season, his 4.0 possession wins every 90 minutes in the middle third is the 15th highest among Serie A midfielders (min. 500 minutes played), as is his 1.4 successful tackles – though only four players from the same group who have attempted at least 20 boast a better success rate than him (71.4). There's talk he could be recalled by Juve in January, which highlights the impression he's making.

Caden Clark, 18, American – RB Leipzig

With goals against Atlanta United and then Toronto four days later in October 2020, Clark became the youngest player MLS history to score in each of his first two games – the second was an absolute scorcher as well. The 18-year-old agreed a move from New York Red Bulls to RB Leipzig in 2021 and he officially makes the switch in January, with no return loan planned. The technically gifted midfielder has his chance to make it in the big-time, and the Bundesliga has previously been a good next step for MLS stars.

Hannibal Mejbri, 18, Tunisian – Manchester United

Some United fans are disappointed Hannibal didn't get more opportunities under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and he's been restricted with Ralf Rangnick because of his involvement in the Arab Cup and the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations. But when he returns, there's every indication he may get more chances, or at least that's what Rangnick recently intimated. A silky and creative midfielder, but one who has a tendency to lose his head, Hannibal might be able to provide the extra injection of craft often missing from United's midfield.

WINGERS

Kayky, 18, Brazilian – Manchester City

There's every chance Kayky and Angelo could be challenging each other for a spot in the senior Brazil team one day. Now at Manchester City after joining from Fluminense in a deal apparently worth an initial £8.4million, Kayky's development is going to be fascinating to watch. With Flu, the talented winger became the club's youngest player and goalscorer in the Libertadores before making the switch to England in pre-season. He was on the bench for the Boxing Day win over Leicester City, and with COVID-19 cases proving an issue across the Premier League, there's every chance we may see a bit more of Kayky in the near future.

Angelo Gabriel, 17, Brazilian – Santos

Every year it seems there's a new Brazilian teenager causing a stir and subsequently being linked with a big move to Europe – the latest is Angelo Gabriel. The newest 'new Neymar', Angelo is actually a left-footed right winger but the similarities in style of play are at least comparable in that he's a good dribbler, skilful and likes to cut inside off the flank. Angelo's made the jump up to the first team a little earlier than Neymar, though – he only turned 17 in December but already has 51 first-team appearances to his name. In April, he became the Copa Libertadores' youngest-ever scorer (16 years, 105 days old) and was also the only under-17 player to feature in the 2021 Brasileirao.

Alan Velasco, 19, Argentinian – Independiente

Showing quality in Argentina's domestic league isn't always a guarantee of future greatness, but doing well as a tricky youngster does speak to a certain degree of bravery and resilience given the brutal reputation of the top flight. Velasco is among the league's most-promising young players, a skilful, quick and dangerous left winger. His 62 chances created this season is the fifth most in the division, while no player can better his 198 dribbles completed. Could he be a wildcard choice for Argentina at the World Cup? Don't rule it out.

Rayan Cherki, 18, French – Lyon

It feels like 2022 could be a massive year for Cherki. The versatile attacker is still nowhere near being a regular at Lyon, despite many feeling Peter Bosz's appointment might prove a boost to the teenager – after all, he played an important role in developing Kai Havertz and Florian Wirtz. Yet, the raw ability is undoubtedly there for Cherki – whether he'll be able to harness that properly at Lyon remains to be seen, with suggestions growing that he might seek a move away in the next year.

FORWARDS

Yuri Alberto, 20, Brazilian – Internacional

Yuri Alberto looks likely to be 'one who got away' for Santos. He left for Internacional in 2020 after initially showing promise at Vila Belmiro and has been a shrewd acquisition, scoring 22 times in 56 Brasileirao appearances, the most of any player currently 24 or younger. His 12 in the 2021 season was only bettered by four players and he scored more hat-tricks than anyone else (three) during the calendar year – one of those being netted in the late-finishing 2020 campaign.

Mohamed-Ali Cho, 17, French – Angers

A dynamic, exciting forward who is most comfortable out wide at the moment, Cho may only be 17 but he already has 39 Ligue 1 appearances under his belt. Where France seem to have lost out to England with Green, Les Bleus look to be winning the battle for Cho, who spent five years at Everton until 2020. Now a France Under-21 international, Cho is the youngest player to have scored in Ligue 1 this season having netted against Rennes back in August when he was aged 17 years and 222 days.

Ricardo Pepi, 18, American – FC Dallas

Yes, another American. While Clark may not make it into the United States' World Cup squad, Pepi almost certainly will. A very well-rounded striker who is tall, agile and hard-working, Pepi has also – perhaps most importantly – proven an able finisher, with his 13 MLS goals in the 2021 season being the joint-most ever managed by a teenager in the competition. Similarly, he's also the youngest player to ever score in consecutive World Cup qualifiers for the USA. He has a long-term contract at Dallas, but no one would be surprised to see him leave for Europe in 2022, with Germany a likely destination. Expect him to fetch the largest ever fee for an American leaving MLS.

Matias Arezo, 19, Uruguayan – River Plate (URU)

Uruguay has produced some truly great strikers down the years. After more of a barren spell in that regard since Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez came through, there is once again a cause for optimism with Darwin Nunez, Agustin Alvarez and, arguably chief among them, Arezo. He scored 13 times in 35 Uruguayan Primera appearances last term – he surpassed that haul with 15 from six fewer appearances in 2021. For comparison's sake, Suarez got 10 in 27 in his first full season in the division with Nacional, while Cavani recorded nine in 25 appearances for Danubio before moving to Europe. A well-built striker, he's definitely one to watch ahead of the World Cup – assuming Uruguay get there.

Julian Alvarez, 21, Argentinian – River Plate

A sensational last couple of months in 2021 elevated Alvarez to a new level, one which has seen him mentioned regularly in transfer gossip columns – United are apparently especially keen. The striker, now an Argentina international, scored a total of 24 club goals across 2021, while also setting up a further 12 in the league, showing both his ability to finish chances and create them. A move abroad seems highly probable – where that takes him and how he does will be intriguing to watch, particularly ahead of the World Cup.

Leeds United winger Raphinha is drawing plenty of attention.

The Brazilian debuted for his country in October and has scored two goals in five caps.

Raphinha joined Leeds from Rennes on a four-year deal in 2020.

And, having seen his career hit new heights since that move, he does not appear to be desperate for another switch.

TOP STORY - RAPHINHA NOT PUSHING FOR LEEDS EXIT

Brazil international Raphinha will not push for a January move away from Leeds United according to the Mirror.

Raphinha has been linked with moves to both Liverpool and Bayern Munich during the January transfer window.

The 25-year-old's agent has spoken about his ambition, but he is content at Leeds who are battling relegation.

 

ROUND-UP

Inter are angling to sign Germany international Matthias Ginter as a free agent in the middle of next year claims Fabrizio Romano. Ginter confirmed on Tuesday he would leave Borussia Monchengladbach when his contract expires at the end of this season.

- Gerard Moreno reports that Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta has reached an in-principle agreement to join Barcelona in the close-season.

Sevilla are considering a bid to sign Barcelona defender Mika Marmol, according to Diario Sport.

Everton want to land Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on loan in January, says The Telegraph.

- Sky Sport Italia claims MLS club Toronto are in advanced talks with Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne and Torino striker Andrea Belotti.

Sean Johnson was the hero as New York City FC claimed their maiden title with a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Portland Timbers following a 1-1 draw after extra time in the MLS Cup final.

Portland were favourites heading into Saturday, given they had won five of the previous six meetings with the Pigeons and boasted home advantage at Providence Park, but fell behind to Valentin Castellanos' first-half header.

Felipe Mora dramatically levelled things up in the final minute of stoppage time, but neither side could find an extra-time winner, meaning penalties were required to split the two sides.

Johnson then produced two fine stops against Alfredo Morales and Diego Valeri in the shootout, while Alexander Callens converted the decisive spot-kick to secure the first title in New York's history.

Castellanos squeezed a header underneath Steve Clark from Moralez's free-kick to open the scoring four minutes before half-time, the forward becoming the first player since Jozy Altidore and Nicolas Lodeiro in 2016 to score in three straight postseason appearances.

Sebastian Blanco drilled just wide from long range in response on the stroke of half-time, though Portland looked timid despite having tasted victory in their last four matches against Ronny Deila's side by an aggregate score of 8-1.

Clark tipped Moralez's free-kick onto the crossbar after the interval, before an equaliser eventually arrived for Giovanni Savarese's men in the final moments when Jaroslaw Niezgoda's strike deflected to Mora, who finished into the bottom-right corner to send the final to extra-time and subsequently penalties.

Johnson and Clark traded penalty stops against Mora and Morales before Callens powered down the middle to secure victory after Valeri was denied by the New York goalkeeper.

New York City FC will play Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup after coming from behind to beat Philadelphia Union 2-1 in the Eastern Conference final on Sunday.

An Alexander Callens own goal was cancelled out by Maxi Moralez, and a late Talles Magno winner sent NYCFC to their first ever appearance in the championship game, which will take place in Portland on Saturday.

Ronny Deila's New York side were missing star player Valentin Castellanos through suspension and struggled to impose themselves on the game until they were forced to do so when falling behind.

A nervy contest burst into life just after the hour mark as Philadelphia took a 63rd-minute lead. Daniel Gazdag whipped a searching ball into the box and New York City defender Callens diverted it into his own net as he tried to stop striker Kacper Przybylko from getting on the end of it.

NYCFC replied swiftly as Moralez fired in an equaliser just two minutes later. Maxime Chanot hit a shot from range that was saved by Matt Freese, but the ball eventually fell to Moralez, who made no mistake.

Nathan Harriel should have put Philadelphia back in front with four minutes remaining but sent his free header just over the bar, and the Union were made to regret it as NYCFC won it in the 89th minute.

Gudmundur Thorarinsson stole the ball from Olivier Mbaizo before putting it on a plate for substitute Magno to score the winner.

Portland Timbers will host the MLS Cup final for the first time in their history after conquering Real Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday.

Felipe Mora and Santiago Moreno were both on target as 2015 MLS champions the Timbers advanced to the showpiece for the third time.

The Timbers will face either New York City or Philadelphia Union in the December 11 final.

Portland made the perfect start to the Western Conference decider when Mora was on hand to fire his deflected shot past David Ochoa after five minutes.

RSL – who were looking to become the first team in MLS history to reach the final without playing a home play-off fixture – had a golden chance to equalise just past the half-hour mark but Damir Kreilach's header was somehow saved by Steve Clark.

The Timbers sealed the victory in the 61st minute – Moreno's long-range effort ricocheting off the post and back off Ochoa at Providence Park – as Portland extended their winning streak to six matches, just their second such run after 2018.

New York City have eliminated record-breaking Supporters' Shield winners New England 5-3 on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw in the MLS Cup Conference semi-final victory on Tuesday.

Bruce Arena's Revs had equalised twice, including Tajon Buchanan's 118th-minute leveller, to send the game to a shootout but City goalkeeper Sean Johnson was the hero, denying Adam Buksa's tame effort.

Alexander Callens powered in the decisive penalty to clinch City's maiden Conference finals appearance, ending New England's hopes of a first-ever MLS Cup after setting a single-season record for most points with 73 in 2021.

City will take on Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday, although they will be without top scorer Valentin Castellanos who was sent off after scoring in extra-time.

The visitors went ahead in the third minute with Santiago Rodriguez capping off a fine team move by sweeping home Tayvon Gray's cross.

The Revs levelled in the ninth minute as Polish striker Buksa headed in from Carles Gil's free-kick.

New England's Thomas McNamara headed over the bar in the second half, while Maxi Moralez's cannoned a header into the post for City.

Castellanos blew a great chance late in regulation time, before putting City ahead in extra time by emphatically powering home Gudmundur Thorarinsson's cross.

The Argentinean forward was sent off minutes later for a second bookable offence with a late tackle and the Revs capitalised with Buchanan volleying in Ema Boateng's 118th minute ball.

Buksa almost decided the contest before the shootout, bursting forward but his left-foot shot was pushed over by Johnson.

In the shootout, Johnson denied Buksa again with a low left-hand save and City converted all five of their spotkicks to secure their progress.

Real Salt Lake continued their giant-slaying run with another upset, this time stunning Sporting Kansas City 2-1 at the death to reach the Western Conference final in the MLS Cup play-offs.

After eliminating Seattle Sounders on penalties in the opening round, RSL were at it again on Sunday as they produced a second-half comeback to end Sporting KC's season in dramatic fashion.

Sporting KC appeared on track thanks to Johnny Russell's 24th-minute penalty before the seventh-seeded RSL – who were making their 10th Conference semi-final appearance, only Seattle have managed more (12) since 2008 – made their move.

After almost falling 2-0 behind when Gadi Kinda's free-kick was headed off the post, RSL substitute Anderson Julio equalised 18 minutes from the end.

Bobby Wood completed the comeback in the first minute of stoppage time, finishing past Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia.

RSL will next face Portland Timbers for a spot in the MLS Cup decider.

Elsewhere, Nashville missed all four of their penalties as Philadelphia Union prevailed 2-0 in the shoot-out to book a spot in the Eastern Conference final for the first time in the club's history.

Penalties were needed after Hany Mukhtar's opener was cancelled out by Union star Daniel Gazdag in Philadelphia.

But it was a painful shoot-out for Nashville, who were unable to find the back of the net as Andre Blake made two saves to help the Union through.

Next up for the Union is a date against either New England Revolution or New York City.

Nani has confirmed he is leaving Orlando City after three years with the Florida side.

The former Manchester United forward joined Orlando in 2019, having left Serie A club Lazio.

Nani led the club to their first postseason appearances, while Orlando also reached the final of the MLS Is Back Tournament in 2020.

The 35-year-old scored 12 goals in his first season with the Lions, a further nine in 2020 and 10 this season as Orlando lost in the first round of the playoffs, going down 3-1 to Nashville SC.

He explained it was not his decision to leave, but rather Orlando choosing not to extend his contract.

In a statement posted to his official social media channels, Nani said: "All good things must come to an end. After three amazing seasons, full of great moments, new friendships and sporting success, I am leaving Orlando City.

"Orlando is a city I can call home, with great people and fantastic supporters, but my contract has ended and there was a decision by the club not to extend it.

"It was an honour captaining the club for its first ever playoff appearances and reaching the final of the MLS Is Back Tournament.

"I shall never forget how the fans and community supported me and my family ever since the moment we arrived in Florida. You will have in me a friend and a fan for the future. I wish you all the best."

Portland Timbers are through to the MLS Western Conference final after a dramatic 1-0 win over Colorado Rapids.

Larrys Mabiala struck in the final seconds of regulation time as the visitors broke the hosts' hearts at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

The Timbers will play either Sporting Kansas City or Real Salt Lake in the Western showpiece after inflicting a first home defeat in 17 on the Rapids – and eighth defeat in nine play-off games.

Although, Giovanni Savarese's side ended the contest with 10 men as Dairon Asprilla was dismissed after appearing to strike Braian Galvan in the face.

The Rapids were unbeaten in their last five meetings with the Timbers and carried the greater first-half threat with nine attempts, three of which were on target.

Steve Clark twice came to the visitors' rescue. First, he made a smart save to keep out Mark-Anthony Kaye following a fine individual run, before denying the in-form Dominique Badji’s header from point-blank range.

The Timbers' struggles continued when a distraught Sebastian Blanco – the scorer of five goals in three games – was forced off injured within seven minutes of the restart.

Nevertheless, they worked their way into the contest and went close to breaking the deadlock when Jose Van Rankin's goalbound shot was cleared off the line by Danny Wilson.

And the 2015 MLS Cup winners snatched a dramatic victory with seconds of regulation time remaining, as Mabiala reacted quickest to volley home after a corner ricocheted kindly into his path.

Although, they were made to see out the dying moments with 10 men, when Asprilla was given his marching orders for violent conduct.

Toronto FC have appointed Bob Bradley as head coach and sporting director.

The former United States coach left his role as Los Angeles FC boss last week and has not had long to wait for his next challenge.

Toronto announced on Tuesday that Javier Perez would not be staying on as head coach and they have wasted no time in replacing him.

Perez departed after the club finished second-bottom of the Eastern Conference, with only six wins from 34 matches.

Toronto FC president Bill Manning said: "We are excited for Bob to get to work. We are entering an extremely important off-season and know we have a team that needs a significant makeover.

"Bob has experience putting teams together and in getting them to perform at a high level. He understands the expectations and standards of TFC and is ready to take on this challenge."

A spell in Canada will see Bradley, whose son Michael is captain of Toronto, work in a sixth country.

The three-time MLS Coach of the Year spent four years in charge of LAFC, leading them to top spot in the Western Conference in their second season following their introduction to the competition in 2018.

Bradley helped LAFC reach the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League final, where they were beaten 2-1 by Mexican side Tigres UANL.

Real Salt Lake produced a major upset to knock out Seattle Sounders on penalties and secure their spot in the MLS Cup Western Conference semi-finals.

The Sounders, who led the Western Conference for long periods of the season and let top spot slip on the final day, went down 6-5 on penalties after a goalless draw where RSL did not have a shot on goal across 120 minutes on Tuesday.

RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa was the hero, denying Kelyn Rowe with the first spotkick in sudden death, before Justen Glad's effort went in off the post to clinch their progress to a Western Conference semi-final against Sporting Kansas City.

Seattle appeared on their way to victory in the shootout when Stefan Frei saved from the second kick from Pablo Ruiz but it was re-taken, and converted, due to the goalkeeper coming off his line prematurely.

The Sounders had come closest to scoring during regulation time, with Raul Ruidiaz's second-half effort hitting the crossbar.

Hany Mukhtar's double earned second-year franchise Nashville a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Orlando City in their MLS Cup first round clash.

US international Daryl Dike had headed Orlando into a 14th-minute lead, but Nashville equalised seven minutes later via Mukhtar's deflected strike from just outside the box.

Mukhtar put Nashville ahead in the 74th minute after a spectacular run into the box before unleashing a low left-foot shot which beat Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Jhonder Cadiz added another deep into stoppage time to seal Nashville's passage into the Eastern Conference semi-finals where they will face Philadelphia Union.

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