News Update

FIFA

Another December to care about the FIFA Club World Cup

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The FIFA Club World Cup began on Wednesday with Al-Jazira knocking out Auckland City 1-0 in the playoff game. FIFA's unloved world championship for clubs resumes in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday with the quarterfinal round. That's when CONCACAF's representative makes their debut.

The Nations League concept spreads

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We start the soccer news with Reuters' Simon Evans reporting that CONCACAF is planning for their version of a Nations League potentially starting in the September international window. The Nations League is a UEFA concept, put in place to replace friendlies with games that count. It's a multiple league structure for national teams with promotion and relegation and playoffs for a champion.

MLS Cup

Is there an edge in the MLS Cup final?

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With the countdown on for Saturday's 2017 MLS Cup final, the two teams did the media rounds on Tuesday. There were no surprises, expected considering there's a championship on the line. Since this is a rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup final, there's not a lot of mystery left between the two teams.

MLS Cup rematch and the league’s Best XI

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Seattle advanced on Thursday, setting up the MLS Cup rematch that looked like a foregone conclusion as the MLS playoffs developed. There's no argument against the Seattle Sounders as the best team in the West. Toronto's run to host their second-consecutive MLS Cup only looked questionable on the scoreboard.

2017 mls season

Portland’s MVP

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The one thing that could make Diego Valeri's 2017 MLS story even better is if the Portland Timbers were still playing. Valeri won the 2017 MLS MVP award by setting a new standard for an MLS midfielder. As many pointed out before and after the award, Valeri also sets a standard as a person.

Caleb Porter leaves Portland

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The Portland Timbers unexpectedly landed on the list of MLS teams in search of a coach. The news broke on Thursday night that Caleb Porter is leaving the club. Porter's next stop is an open question, alongside whom the Timbers might hire to replace him. FourFourTwo's Paul Tenorio broke the news of Porter's exit.

MLS is a soccer business

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Major League Soccer isn't likely to make the future of the Columbus Crew clear on anybody's schedule but their own. What the league is willing to do is remind everyone that this is a soccer business operating in a soccer nation and not anything else. That's a single-entity business model reminder to fans that comes at a tough time.

Montreal makes a coaching decision

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The Montreal Impact became the first MLS team to fire their coach Mauro Biello and his staff following the completion of the 2017 regular season. The Impact finished 9th in the Eastern Conference, 11 points out of the final playoff spot and seven points ahead of bottom club DC United.

"Mauro spend his whole career here," Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo said in a press statement.

Pushing back against the business of Major League Soccer

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What to make of how the Columbus story is playing out? The Crew faithful started the week worrying about playoff position. They spent most of it dealing with the news that their club might be leaving at the end of next season. Making things worse, reports followed that the club processed season ticket renewals prior to any announcement of the intent to leave for Austin.

Win for Houston and Kaka says goodbye in Orlando

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Thursday's soccer news starts with MLS action. Houston came back to beat Sporting KC 2-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Jimmy Medranda put Sporting up in the 33rd minute. Tomas Martinez equalized for Houston in the 63rd with an own-goal proving the difference in the 77th.

"The game had a playoff feel," Houston midfielder Ricardo Clark said.

Champions League

The 2017-18 Champions League group stage plays out

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The soccer news starts with the final week of the Champions League group stage. We already know half of the teams that will advance to the knockout round. Filling out the rest of the bracket and who takes four of the eight group winner spots is still in play. That's good news for UEFA, with the Champions League regularly facing criticism for too many group stage games counting for too little.

Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund have Group H issues

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It's easy enough to pile on when a super club isn't winning. Real Madrid was in obvious trouble prior to losing 3-1 to Spurs in the Champions League. Their tough trip to Wembley only compounds the issues that have them struggling domestically.

"There are times in the season when you score goals from very few chances, and others when you struggle to do that," Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said.

MLS Cup Playoffs

Who joins Toronto in the 2017 MLS Cup final?

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The other half of the MLS playoff bracket is an open question for most of Thursday, with the Western Conference final second-leg scheduled for 10:30pm ET on ESPN. The Seattle Sounders are the obvious favorite with a two-goal lead and home field advantage. For the Houston Dynamo, it's another scenario where getting anything out of this game will be a surprise.

MLS has an expansion final four

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There are four teams left in the MLS playoffs and we now know that there are four teams left for the next round of MLS expansion. Unlike the MLS playoffs, expansion will name two winners. At a Soccer Business Journal symposium on Wednesday morning, MLS commissioner Don Garber named Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, and Sacramento.

The beginning of the end of the Champions League group stage

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The Champions League returns later today with six points left up for grabs in the groups. Only in Group B have both teams already advanced to the knockout round. That's PSG with the best record of any team at 12 points and a +17 goal difference and Bayern Munich three points back.

Seattle knocks out Vancouver

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Seattle advanced to the Western Conference finals and it was Clint Dempsey making the difference in a 2-0 win over Vancouver. After a scoreless first-leg, Seattle returned home knowing that they needed a scoreless draw in regulation to send the series to overtime or an outright win. Dempsey took care of that in regulation.

Columbus takes advantage

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We start with Columbus taking advantage of a red card in their 4-1 win over NYCFC in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Ola Kamara put the Crew up in the 6th minute in front of 14,416 fans at MAPFRE Stadium. NYCFC's Alexander Callens saw red for violent conduct in the 52nd minute.

Columbus took full advantage with Artur scoring in the 58th and Justin Meram adding a goal in the 69th.

Toronto FC makes a semifinal statement

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From what we've already seen from the MLS Conference semifinals, just scoring is an accomplishment. To do it twice and win on the road is almost a proclamation. That was Toronto FC in Harrison, New Jersey on Monday night. 2-1 over the Red Bulls and an obvious advantage going into Sunday's deciding leg.

Vancouver and Seattle open with a scoreless draw

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Vancouver and Seattle opened their Western Conference semifinal series with a scoreless draw on Sunday night at BC Place. Will anybody compare that scoreless 90 minutes with what we saw during regulation in Atlanta last week? Sure, but not favorably.

"It was important we didn't concede today," Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said.

Chicago and San Jose’s seasons

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Wednesday's soccer news starts with the problem scenario for MLS teams in the knockout round. It's already an issue when making the playoffs ends up meaning just one extra game. Even more so when that extra game turns into a lopsided loss. Step up Chicago, 4-0 losers at home to the Red Bulls, and San Jose who lost 5-0 at Vancouver.

The MLS playoff picture

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Monday's soccer news starts with the MLS table. Major League Soccer's normally unbalanced schedule is now locked in at 33 games played across both conferences with one game left in the 2017 regular season.

In the Eastern Conference, 1st-place and 3rd-place are called for. Toronto has the top spot a dozen points ahead of 2nd-place.

Soccer Business

Barcelona doubles down on the buyout clause

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Lionel Messi will remain a member of Barcelona. In what isn't at all a surprise, his new contract contains a buyout clause. Also not surprising considering what happened to Barcelona over the summer, it's quite large. €700m euros, with Barcelona doing all it can to keep another Neymar scenario.

What happened to Serie A?

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Friday's soccer news starts with what was once a marquee game for American soccer fans, Milan vs Juventus in Serie A. The questions over Serie A's international appeal aren't new. Depending on the source, Serie A is either in a little bit of trouble or a whole lot.

Amplifying Serie A's problems is Juventus taking the biggest cut of Champions League money last season.

Precourt announces the Crew might move to Austin

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Tuesday's soccer news starts with an MLS team potentially moving to a new city. News broke last night that the Columbus Crew might leave for Austin if they can't get a new stadium deal. Yes, the MLS team with the first soccer-specific stadium has decided that they're better off somewhere in downtown Columbus or a completely different city.

English Premier League

Manchester City’s season

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Manchester City did something rare for them on Sunday, coming back from a goal down at halftime and winning away. Then again, this is the 2017-18 version of Manchester City we're talking about where "rare" would be not winning under any circumstance. Our Premier League leaders have won 12 out of 13 games and lost none.

Liga MX sets the playoff picture for the 2017 Apertura

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It's Liguilla time in Liga MX. The 2017 Apertura season came to a close over the weekend with Monterrey clinching the title with 37 points from 17 games. Tigres finished in 2nd-place with 32, losing to local rivals Monterrey on the final day of the season. Club America took 3rd-place with 30 points.

West Ham hires David Moyes

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West Ham United joined fellow London club Crystal Palace in making a coaching change early in the Premier League season. Like Palace, West Ham is in the relegation zone. Like Palace, they went with a known quantity in English soccer.

David Moyes takes the job with West Ham in 18th place on nine points.

Playing for the league, not the cup

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Wednesday's soccer news starts with an old point in the modern era of club soccer. Some trophies count more than others. This is a common sense response to having to play in multiple competitions. Even the big clubs with big squads need to prioritize, and they're going to do it exactly like you'd expect.

PSG keeps rolling in the Champions League

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Thursday's soccer news has the increasingly unavoidable conclusion that PSG is onto something. Buy one of the world's best players from one of the world's best clubs, spend on complimentary talent, and show the world you're serious. It's a louder version of the same model that has the Premier League clubs in contention in the Champions League.

US Soccer

The USMNT’s draw

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The USMNT didn't lose in Portugal on Tuesday, drawing 1-1 in a game that asked plenty of questions from a transitional roster. For the most part, interim coach Dave Sarachan and the players had answers. CJ Sapong showed he could convert a strong MLS season into quality play at international level.

Game day for Portugal vs USMNT

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The USMNT is in action later today at Portugal (3:45pm ET - FS1). The pressure on this transitional group of USMNT players may be as much internal as external. All involved know the stakes as the program pushes forward after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Interim coach Dave Sarachan has made it clear that he understands his situation, looking at this window as an opportunity to put some space between the qualifying campaign and what happens next.

The USMNT in Portugal

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The new look version of the USMNT currently training in Lisbon has plenty of time before playing Portugal on November 14. That's a luxury for a group that needs to get to know each other quickly.

"So each day we'll be out training, trying to build up a little bit more in terms of the team aspect of things," USMNT interim coach Dave Sarachan said in a video US Soccer provided to the media.

The knockout round at the U-17 World Cup

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Friday's soccer news starts with the USMNT finishing in 3rd-place in Group A at the U-17 World Cup and drawing Paraguay in the Round of 16. That game is set for Monday in New Dehli. A point for the USMNT against Colombia would have won Group A, but there's an argument that depending on how Group D finishes this is a good matchup.

The day after the Hexagonal

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Wednesday's soccer news starts with the responses to the USMNT missing out on the 2018 World Cup. The USMNT lost their final game in the Hexagonal 2-1 at Trinidad & Tobago, giving Panama and Honduras the gap in the table that both needed to advance. Panama advanced directly with Honduras now playing Australia over two legs to see if a fourth CONCACAF team can qualify for Russia 2018.

Game day for Trinidad & Tobago vs USMNT

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It's time to say goodbye to the 2017 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying cycle one way or the other. Sure, one team will end up in 4th-place and have to play Australia in a November playoff, but for everybody else tonight is it. No more wondering if the old "win at home, draw on the road" script is flipped.

Return to normal for the USMNT

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We start the soccer news with the quick takeaway from the USMNT's 4-0 shutout of Panama on Friday. This is how it's supposed to go at home in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. The visiting team tries something that doesn't work and is unable to make the adjustments necessary to salvage a point. Only making things worse is when the home team turns the game into a major statement.

Game day for USMNT vs Panama

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Friday's soccer news starts with the obvious. The USMNT plays Panama tonight in Orlando in another game with three crucial World Cup qualifying points on the line. Plenty of people with plenty of opinions have already let us know about the potential pitfalls and scenarios should those three points not end up with the USMNT.

Playing up the opponent in CONCACAF

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The USMNT is a day away from the next game that counts in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. It's the next must-win scenario in a schedule full of them. Obviously, all of those must-win games didn't turn into three points.

Given the stakes, there's a tendency to build up the state of CONCACAF. Is this region more difficult than most outside observers might expect?

The Rest

Italy’s issue

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Italy plays Sweden in Milan later today trailing 1-0 in their World Cup qualifying playoff. Italy is the latest team facing an uphill scenario for this summer's tournament. For some, think Argentina, it worked out. For others, think the USMNT, it didn't. For fans of the tournament, and there are plenty all over the world, Italy belongs in every World Cup.

Austin making plans for the Crew

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Friday's soccer news starts with the Austin, Texas city council passing a resolution to help find a city-owned site for a relocated Columbus Crew. The Austin American-Statesman's Kevin Lyttle has the details. Key to what Austin is doing is not committing city money to building a stadium and not limiting the potential relocated club to only the Crew.