The soccer news starts with MLS deciding to shorten the season and revamp the playoffs for 2019. Both of these aren't surprises, with reports that the moves were under consideration as 2018 drew to its lengthy close. Blame the FIFA international breaks, but MLS was asking a lot of clubs and fans waiting out the November window. Now, MLS Cup will happen before the November international break, set for November 10, 2019.
MLS will start the 2019 regular season starts on March 2, playing 34 regular season games between then and October 6. The October international window now serves as a break between the regular and postseason. Once the playoffs begin, it's now a 14-team single-elimination format with first-round byes for the Eastern and Western conference winners. The higher seeded team has home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
In announcing the move, MLS also focused on the adaptability of the new format with the league continuing to expand. The weather is in play as well, with MLS well aware of what December finals in Toronto look like. The league also pulls in line with the calendar for the 2022 World Cup. The window for international call-ups plus the tournament is November 14 - December 18, 2022. In four years, we'll be watching the World Cup final today.
Also in the soccer news, Jose Mourinho is no longer the manager of Manchester United. The Premier League club announced the move following Sunday's 3-1 loss at Liverpool. Manchester United is in 6th-place in the Premier League, advancing to the knockout stage of the Champions League.
"Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate effect," the club statement reads. "The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future. A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager."
The Independent's Andy Brassell with the game he believes showed Manchester United's issues. The National's Andy Mitten argues that simply not winning is the problem at United. SI.com's Jonathan Wilson on United's decision to part ways with Mourinho. The Mirror's David McDonnell claims internal issues with Mourinho and the Manchester United squad.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jonathan Tannenwald reports that the Professional Soccer Referees Association may strike. The Athletic's Paul Tenorio asks who might be the next Atlanta?
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