The September international window ended with games that count in Europe and a lot of friendlies everywhere else. It's probably worth the reminder that there used to be a single-game international window in August before FIFA redid the schedule a few years ago. A late starting league like the Bundesliga got in all of two league games before the September break. The Premier League has played four. Serie A and La Liga are three games into the season.
At least the international players had games on the schedule. The rest of the players spent the break waiting for games. That disruption is real, pulling players out of a rhythm that they'd just established with their clubs. Now, the challenge is getting that back as quickly as possible.
Christian Pulisic didn't join the USMNT camp for the September break with an injury issue. His club is back in action on Friday with Borussia Dortmund hosting Eintracht. Dortmund has a 4-1 home win over RB Leipzig and a scoreless draw at Hannover to start the season, with the focus about to shift to the Champions League.
The group stage begins next week with Dortmund at Ethan Horvath's Club Brugge on Tuesday. That's a game that favors Dortmund, but navigating the Champions League hasn't been easy. They're doing it under yet another new coach while trying to make sure the Bundesliga doesn't get away from them. It's a challenging schedule not made any easier by the international break to start September.
In MLS, DC United came back to beat Minnesota 2-1 at Audi Field. Angelo Rodriguez put Minnesota up in the 47th minute with Ulises Segura equalizing in the 65th. Darren Mattocks subbed on in the 58th minute scored DC's winner in the 69th. Both teams took 16 shots with DC putting 7 on goal to Minnesota's 4.
“We were sloppy in the first half and lost our concentration," DC forward Wayne Rooney said. "We spoke about it at halftime, but fair play to the players, we hung in there and got the victory. It was an important game, a good win in the end, but there’s a lot to improve on.”
The NY Times' Rory Smith with examples of coaching specialization in soccer. Inside World Football's Andrew Warshaw with reports that FIFA is considering reforming the player loan system. FourFourTwo's Richard Jolly asks about another potential issue for Manchester United. The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson on Spurs' goals allowed problem. World Soccer's Brian Glanville takes issue with England's formation.
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Logo courtesy of Borussia Dortmund