Thursday's soccer news starts with the beginning of the Nations League era in Europe. UEFA's attempt to make more games count begins today and with it pressure to change the friendly system all over the world. It's no small project, with the league system a new idea in soccer.
In other words, UEFA is going all out to establish their Nations League from the initial game. This isn't a half measure that may or may not work. It starts life as the best answer to the meaningless friendly and uncompetitive qualifiers problem.
The meaningless friendly problem used to be worse in the era of no limits to substitutes. Even in the six-subs era there's still a clear distinction between games that count and those that don't. Still, that doesn't directly lead to replacing them with yet another tournament.
UEFA will point to the matchups of major nations that rarely happens in games that count, but what they're doing is making that common. It's the super league problem on the club side. The assumption is that fans all over the world want to see the biggest teams playing each other on a regular schedule, but we don't really know if that will work.
Viewer fatigue is a real thing. One of the supposed strengths of international soccer is waiting on those games that really count. The Nations League concept provides for more, but it also stresses the market. It could work wonderfully. It could also lead to the kind of questions that no organizers are interested in addressing.
Moving to the soccer scores, week 28 began in MLS with New England shutting out NYCFC 1-0 on the road. Brian Wright scored in the 71st minute with Brad Knighton making his first start in 2018 and recording five saves for the clean sheet.
"It's a really big point in our season," Knighton said. For us to come here, they haven't lost all season. For us to get three points and get out of here is something special for this group and hopefully something we can build on moving forward."
In Copa MX, Rubio Rubin subbed out in the 67th minute for Tijuana's 1-0 loss at Toluca. The game's only goal came in the 27th minute.
US Soccer updated the roster for the September friendlies with Sebastian Lletget leaving the squad with an injury. US Soccer plans to stay with the 24 players in camp.
MLSsoccer.com's Dylan Butler looks at the goalkeepers in USMNT camp. The Washington Post's Steven Goff focuses on USMNT goalkeeper Zach Steffen. The Athletic's Archie Rhind-Tutt interviews USMNT player Weston McKennie. Pro Soccer Talk's Nicolas Mendola previews the USMNT vs Brazil friendly. Midfield Press's Chris Kivlehan interviews NISA president Bob Watkins about the National Independent Soccer Association's bid for sanctioning as a third division.
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