The soccer news starts with the other elite European leagues trying to compete with the Premier League. Though few would claim parity in the Premier League, they do have more super clubs that could potentially win the title than anywhere else in European soccer. That’s a clear advantage in an era where three of the top five leagues have one dominant club.
UEFA’s coefficient now rules the Champions League, determining the four leagues taking four spots in the group stage. That’s quite the motivation for Spain, England, Italy, and Germany to keep their places at the top of the coefficient table. France gets three spots in 5th-place with their focus on pushing into the top four. Getting there requires winning and drawing games in the Champions League and Europa League. The more games they can play only helps their chances at keeping up their coefficient.
Unfortunately for Serie A, the Bundesliga, and Ligue 1, they’re relying on one club each to get points in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Serie A has Juventus, the Bundesliga has Bayern, and Ligue 1 has PSG. Past that, they lack the depth that we see from La Liga and the Premier League.
Making those Champions League places count is how to play the new coefficient game, and that’s going to be difficult with so many representatives from the top four leagues. Trying to play up a Europa League advantage isn’t lost on the bigger leagues. Spain regularly dominates that tournament over the last five seasons that count for the coefficient.
For Ligue 1 who put a team in last season’s Europa League final, it’s still going to take making those three Champions League places count. It’s not just the potential to add another by pushing into the top four in the coefficient, it’s making sure a league like Portugal’s doesn’t regroup and pass them. That’s the new tweak on the European game, and we’re just beginning to see what it means in practice.
Moving on, it was more draws from MLS rivalry week. Chicago tied Columbus 1-1 at Toyota Park. Nemanja Nikolic scored in the 67th minute with Niko Hansen equalizing in the 87th.
“So we stop the long losing streak and it’s something that we can build on top of,” Chicago coach Veljko Paunovic said. “It’s nothing that we expected or wanted today. Definitely we’re disappointed but it’s just a small step forward. At least we didn’t lose, so that’s a big difference. And if we had more games like this game, where we didn’t drop points or at least got one, it could’ve helped in some moments.”
Houston and Dallas finished 1-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Dallas took the lead through a Michael Barrios goal in the 83rd minute with Ronaldo Pena equalizing in the 88th.
“It was dreadful ending,” Dallas coach Oscar Pareja said. “After we scored the goal and we put our team ahead one point in the game, it was painful just to give away the two points. When you see our game, I thought we manage well, I thought the boys played a very correct game. It was not many options for either team.”
Atlanta United coach Tata Martinez talks to The Guardian’s Marcela Mora y Araujo about his club and MLS. The NY Times’ Scott Cacciola on what Wayne Rooney has already done at DC United. ESPN’s Q&A with Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. MLSsoccer.com’s Matthew Doyle with what we’ve already seen from rivalry week.
The Mirror’s David McDonnell with the latest in the Jose Mourinho drama at Manchester United.
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