Friday's soccer news starts with FIFA deciding it's a heck of an idea to mess with World Cup seeding. The last time they did this it was using the October FIFA Ranking to determine the seven teams joining the hosts in pot 1. This time, next month's FIFA ranking seeds all the teams that make the World Cup.
"All teams will be allocated to pots 1 to 4 based on sporting principles with each pot containing eight teams," reads FIFA's statement. "This means that the October 2017 edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be used to allocate all qualified teams to the four pots according to their ranking in descending order, with the best seven teams along with hosts Russia in pot 1. The principle of drawing the teams into the groups will remain unchanged. Hence, no teams from the same confederation, with the exception of UEFA, which could have up to two teams in the same group, will be drawn into the same group."
With the USMNT still needing to qualify along with the bulk of the field, there's not much point in deciding whether or not this is good or bad news. What it does is put to bed anybody still wanting to question the importance of the FIFA Ranking. That discussion should've already moved to altering the FIFA Ranking so it's more reflective of what's happening on the field. That's the push to stop punishing teams in the ranking for playing too many friendlies along with the weighting bias toward UEFA and CONMEBOL.
Also in the soccer news, Matt Miazga and Vitesse Arnhem coming close to pulling off a Europa League upset. At home against Lazio, Vitesse led twice but ultimately lost 3-2 in Group K.
Vitesse took the lead in the 33rd minute through Tim Matavz. Lazio equalized in the 51st. Bryan Linssen scored for Vitesse in the 57th. Lazio equalized again in the 67th and got their winner in the 75th minute. Nice beat Zulte-Waregem 5-1 in the other Group K game.
Soccer America's Paul Kennedy compares the seeding formats for the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.
Pro Soccer Talk's Daniel Karell previews the weekend games in MLS. MLSsoccer.com's Matthew Doyle explains what happened to the New England Revolution in the big picture sense. SI.com's Brian Straus updates the situation with the NASL, US Soccer, and sanctioning.
ESPN FC's Luke O'Farrell looks at Wayne Rooney's roll in Everton's 3-0 loss at Atalanta in the Europa League.
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