The soccer news starts with Sunday's Decision Day in MLS, with the regular season coming to a close. For all of the playoff teams, what happens next has to wait. The decision to reset the playoffs and the schedule means there's now the international window to contend with. Whatever momentum a team might have to close out the regular season, the next game won't happen until October 19 or 20. For the two regular season conference champions, that wait will last until October 23 or 24.
One of the ongoing complaints about the September international window from European clubs is that it stalls the new season so soon after it starts. Whatever work they've done and momentum building up crashes into that early September pause in the action. That was the rationale for getting rid of the August single date, and now the pressure moves to letting the European leagues get their games in.
MLS chose to setup their new version of the playoffs to start after the October break with MLS Cup now before the November window. Until now, both windows interrupted the playoffs. MLS pushing to have at least one game that counts in December meant waiting. Now, it's a pressure-filled single elimination setup played out over a few weeks. That's all about momentum and managing situations. It also requires the clubs involved to pull off what amounts to a restart following the regular season. That will ultimately be the story of the first year for the latest version of the MLS playoffs.
In the Europa League, Romain Gall wasn't in the squad for Malmo's 1-1 home draw with Copenhagen in Group B. Matt Polster wasn't in the squad for Rangers 2-1 loss at Young Boys in Group C. Alfredo Morales scored for Rangers in the 44th. Young boys equalized in the 50th and scored three minutes into stoppage time.
Timmy Chandler was on the bench for Eintracht's 1-0 win at Vitoria in Group F. Evan N'Dicka scored in the 36th minute with Frederik Ronnow keeping the clean sheet. John Brooks missed Wolfsburg's 1-1 draw at St Etienne in Group I. Trailing from the 13th minute, William equalized in the 15th.
Fabian Johnson wasn't in the squad for Gladbach's 1-1 draw at Basaksehir. Trailing from the 55th minute, Patrick Hermann equalized a minute into stoppage time. Tyler Boyd was on the bench for Besiktas's 1-0 home loss to Wolverhampton in Group K. Wolves scored three minutes into stoppage time.
The Guardian's Paul Wilson has Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being realistic about his club in Europe. AFP with unpredictability in La Liga. Inside World Football's Samindra Kunti explains Brazil's new domestic schedule.
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