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Country flag Serie A Review
CR Flamengo CR Flamengo
Flamengo lifted the trophy for the second year in a row, as confirmation of their superior squad. However, this one was completely different from last season, as there was the feeling that this wasn’t a completely deserved title. Jorge Jesus successor Domenech was never able to live up the high demands, and ended up sacked after two shameful defeats to São Paulo and Atlético MG (1-4 and 0-4) in round 20. Despite unconvincing, Fla was only 5 points away from leadership at this point. Rogério Ceni arrived after two impressive spells at Fortaleza. He brought his attacking 4-4-2/4-2-4 which seemed to be fitting well the team (Gabigol could pair up with Bruno Henrique, while Arrascaeta and Everton would be wide playmakers in a midfield bossed by the energetic and unstoppable Gerson). Ceni had an immediate impact with 4 consecutive wins, but soon Flamengo went into another poor moment, collecting 3 defeats in the second half of January. Flamengo was not much better now than when Domenech left, despite São Paulo’s vertiginous drop in that period. Ceni had brough joy to Fla’s attack, but the team was still conceding aplenty, especially after Diego Alves picked a serious injury. Ceni had then a league-winning decision. He moved Arão to the back, forming a surprisingly very competent duo with Rodrigo Caio. Under this new format, Fla went on a great run from round 33 to 36. In round 37, they were visited by the then leaders Inter, and only a win would do it for Flamengo. Visitors went ahead, but Gabigol and co. managed to comeback on the score and Flamengo was leading the table for the first time in the season. Fla almost blew everything in a poor defeat in last round, but Mengão were fortunate enough their opponents Internacional were also incompetent in that round, failing to win their home game.
SC Internacional
Last round agony for Colorados. They had everything to get the title in 2020-21, but they missed it and they’re the ones to blame. Colorados started well the season, collecting very few upsets during the first few rounds. However, Coudet’s inexplicable departure after the completion of first half season and a few severe injuries raised serious doubts about the team’s ability to get back on their feet and bring the title race home. The experienced Abel Braga was appointed, and it seemed a very poor choice, as Braga was coming from unsuccessful projects and had been proved to be outdated, particularly when at Flamengo. Without Guerrero, Boschilia, Saravia and Moledo due to severe knee injuries, and only having Dourado on the second part of the season, Inter had to find new references on the squad. Edenilson and Patric recovered their best football, but it was Galhardo’s fantastic form from August to November that led Inter into the top of the table. Eventually, even Galhardo picked an important injury too (calf); it was then the 19-years old Yuri Alberto to step in and grant goals for Colorado to keep the title race alive until the end. Inter showed lack of experience in crucial moments, having picked some incredible defeats in the final part of the season, notably a home 1-2 upset to the struggling Sport Recife 4 rounds before the end. In the second to last round, Inter lost to Flamengo in a controversial match, having lost leadership to Cariocas. But there was still hope. The last round saw Flamengo losing to São Paulo, but Colorado wasn’t able to get out from the 0-0 score in home match against Corinthians and the title was gone. A simple goal in that last round would have been enough for Inter to be celebrating at this moment.
Country flag MLS Review
Philadelphia Union Philadelphia Union
Philadelphia Union had a mixed end to a historical campaign that saw them lift their first major trophy as an MLS franchise, winning the Supporters' Shield but were unable to make it beyond the first round in the playoffs. After a mixed start to the regular season, Philadelphia hit their stride in the MLS is Back tournament where they picked up seven points in the group stage before making it to the semifinals where they lost to eventual winners Portland Timbers. Philadelphia carried their form over to the regular league season where they slowly consolidated their place at the top of the Eastern Conference standings backed by an excellent home record, ending the truncated campaign by lifting the Supporters' Shield after some confusion on whether the trophy will be awarded this season. Santos enjoyed a breakout campaign for Philadelphia, ending the season as the top scorer with 11 goals, but it was Aaronson's performances that were key to their surge up the table and the midfielder capped off a memorable campaign by securing a move to Europe. While their playoffs campaign was a disaster, coach Jim Curtin will nevertheless be proud of how the season went and will be looking forward to building on it next season, though they will need to bring in replacement for the departing Aaronson.
Toronto FC
Not a succesful season for the Canadians who saw their team being eliminated by the newcomers Nashville too early in the playoff stage despite they had a pretty good regular season. Toronto finished second overall in the MLS standings for the regular season despite they played their home games in East Hartford due to Canadian COVID-19 quarantine rules. That was a major disadvantage for the team and finally they didn't achieve to balance it. Pozuelo was extraordinary for one more year and he was awarded the MLS MVP honour. Akinola had a great season as well, while Altidore faced injury problems for some time and couldn't help on the same way he was doing the previous seasons. Toronto tried to play a ball possession style of play but they exited too early in the playoffs. In any case it was a very strange season due to the pandemic and for sure it wasn't easy for Toronto to play all their home matches away from their home. Of course Toronto has to focus now on the Canadian Championship where they will face Forge and the winner will get a ticket to CONCACAF Champions League, an important target as well for them.



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