Overlooked USMNT defender Shaq Moore earned a start for Tenerife, while American youth prospect Luca Koleosho made a surprise debut for Espanyol’s first team in their season-closing draw.
Valencia 2 – 0 Celta Vigo
Yunus Musah was a late substitute for Valencia on Saturday, coming into the game in the 77th minute to help them lock down a shut-out win over Celta Vigo to close their season on a high note.
Valencia forward Maximiliano Gomez opened the scoring two minutes before the half-hour mark, heading in Marcos de Sousa’s cheeky back-heel cross from short-range for the 1-0 advantage.
Keeper Juanme did fine work to preserve his team’s advantage, blocking Nolito’s tap-in with his feet while sprawled out on his back.
Mexican international Néstor Araújo then gifted Valencia another goal, when the Mexican international errantly headed an attempted cross from Gomez into his own net just before the 60-minute mark.
Musah entered for Gomez in the 77th minute as the team shifted towards a more defensive stance, and did his part to close out the game, completing all six of his passting attempts, not being dispossessed by the opposition on any of his 11 ball contacts, and winning half of his four duels.
The victory sees Valencia finish ninth place in La Liga, on 48 points in their 38 games, an overall disappointing campaign that fell well short of their European ambitions. Musah will now turn his eyes towards international play, and will travel in the coming days to Cincinnati for the USMNT camp.
Eibar 2 – 0 Tenerife
Shaq Moore returned to Tenerife’s starting lineup, putting in a 90-minute shift at right back in their 2-0 road loss at Eibar.
Less than a day after finding out that he was being left off of the most recent USMNT roster announced by Gregg Berhalter, Moore earned his first start since early-April.
The American put in an overall competent performance, even if a bit lacking in contributing to the attack. He completed 63% of his 32 pass attempts, making three clearances and winning seven of 12 duels, while only firing in one accurate cross in eight attempts and creating one chance.
Eibar’s Stoichkov opened the scoring in the 19th minute in eye-popping fashion, advancing into the left of the area amidst four defenders, finding a lane to break through the crowd onto goal, and targeting the far corner with his low shot for the lead.
Moore’s lone accurate cross of the game in the 65th minute was almost a game-changer, however Mario González could only hit his header to the center of goal for a relatively straightforward save by Ander Cantero.
The hosts eventually put the game out of reach with six minutes in regulation, as Edu Exposito lunged to redirect a deep free kick into the upper right corner.
With one game left in the regular season, Tenerife are guaranteed a spot in the promotion playoff. They next host ninth-place Cartagena as they try to jockey for position in the pairings, with the playoff kicking off in early-June.
17 year-old United States U-20 player Luca Koleosho made his surprise first-team debut for Espanyol on Sunday, coming in for the final moments of their scoreless draw at Granada. The young attacker will be an interesting player to watch next season as Espanyol tries to improve on their 14th-place finish this season.
Matt Miazga was not in uniform for Alaves’ season-closing 1-0 home loss to Cadiz. The team finished in last place on 31 points, a full eight from safety.
Sergiño Dest is still injured, and missed Barcelona’s 2-0 loss at home to Villarreal. Barcelona still finish in second place, a light-year behind Real Madrid. They immediately jet off to Australia for a money-making exhibition tour, however with Dest still recovering from injury, the American will be able to skip the nonsense.
Matthew Hoppe was on the bench for Mallorca’s 2-0 road win over Osasuna. The victory keeps them afloat in La Liga for another season, likely meaning that Hoppe will endure another 38 games of occasional action, or spend next season on loan with another team.