If you're a certain type of American soccer fan, the USMNT winning Group C only to have to open against Mexico is good news. Get the big home game out of the way early, avoiding the later drama that comes when we all know the points are crucial. Even CONCACAF's choice to make the group winners play their final Hex game on the road makes some competitive sense. The point of this, after all, is to advance the most competitive teams to the 2018 World Cup.
Right now, that list starts with Mexico. It's not unabashed homerism to slot the USMNT in right behind them. The FIFA rankings might disagree, with Costa Rica in between 14th-place Mexico and 26th-place USA. That's match day two for the USMNT, playing at Costa Rica on November 15. Again, if you want the tough games out of the way early, the Hexagonal schedule obliges. Mexico away is on match day 6, just before Mexico leaves for the Confederations Cup. Costa Rica at home is next September. After closing the door on the Mexico and Costa Rica games, the USMNT still has three games to go and nine points to play for. As the convoluted scheduling that tends to happen in this region goes, it could be a lot worse.
Also in soccer calendar news, MLS announced the playoff schedule. The 2016 MLS Cup is set for December 10, with the game on Fox at 8pm ET. This is the first network broadcast of the final since 2008. The MLS postseason begins on October 26 with the knockout round games.
FourFourTwo's Paul Tenorio's look at last night's result for the USMNT. MLSsoccer.com's Will Brown talks to USMNT forward Jozy Altidore. SI.com's Grant Wahl was impressed with Christian Pulisic in his first USMNT start. Writing for the NY Times, Brian Sciaretta looks at where Americans are playing soccer in Europe.
ESPN FC's Miguel Delaney looks at the meetings between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola over the years. The Manchester Evening News' Stuart Brennan relays Andres Iniesta's belief that Guardiola will do for City what he did for Barcelona. World Soccer Talk's Matt Jones is impressed with how Ronald Koeman is operating as Everton manager. Bundesliga Fanatic's Max Regenhuber wonders if anybody else is growing tired of the Champions League.
Andrew Warshaw for Inside World Football on next week's UEFA presidential election. BBC Sport has England's Football Association supporting Dutch association president Micahel van Praag. Reuters reports that Spanish association president Angel Maria Villar is out of the race.
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