The soccer news starts with MLS not content to try and copy an old idea in professional soccer. Teams play each other home and away, and that's the extent of the season. Instead, MLS is going with a new system in 2020 that will see some teams not play each other at all.
In a league with 26 teams and 34 games, MLS is favoring its conferences. Inter Miami officially joined the Eastern Conference with Nashville FC an unlikely member of the West. MLS teams will now play the rest of their conference home and away with the remaining 10 games against clubs from the other conference. Since 13 teams are in each conference, that means each team won't play three teams at all.
With MLS moving merrily along with expanding the league and collecting the fee that comes with that, the home and away ideal might as well go away now. The league's decision to stick with 34 games might seem a little odd considering that a 20 team traditional league plays 38 games, but that ignores the playoffs. It also ignores cramming in the Leagues Cup set for expansion this summer. Add in the Concacaf Champions League, the US Open Cup/Canadian Championship, and the foreign clubs on summer tours, and there are plenty of dates on the schedule that will have coaches all over MLS considering their depth and USL call-ups.
MLS as a competition has so far brushed aside the obvious questions raised in the expansion era. They're still valid, of course. Is it really possible for a 26 soon-to-be 29 team league to improve on quality with the existing salary and player movement restrictions? Does a topflight soccer league where all of its clubs don't play each other at least once during the regular season make sense? Is this still a league of top-heavy squads with a newfound enthusiasm for selling its emerging talent? And so on.
Again, none of this is new. It's certainly worth considering as MLS presses on towards its ever-expanding vision of what topflight soccer should look like in North America.
The Washington Post's Steven Goff looks at the changes to the MLS calendar. The Charlotte Business Journal's Erik Spanberg reports that MLS may make an expansion decision on Thursday with Charlotte the likely choice. The Miami Herald's Michelle Kaufman with Luis Robles joining Inter Miami. The Guardian's Graham Ruthven tries to figure out what Atlanta United is doing on Aberdeen's board. ESPN's Jeff Carlisle highlights the USMNT players that pushed into the lineup in 2019.
Stats Bomb's Thore Haugstad goes in-depth with Christian Pulisic's performances with Chelsea this season. NBC Sports' Daniel Karell charts the problems at Arsenal under former manager Unai Emery. The Guardian's Jonathan Liew points to communication as an issue at Arsenal. The Ringer's Michael Baumann with the situation at Arsenal now under interim manager Freddy Ljungberg.
The Telegraph's Mike McGrath reports on Zlatan Ibrahimovic signing with AC Milan. The Athletic's Raphael Honigstein with what Jurgen Klinsmann needs to get a result at Hertha BSC. Inside World Football's Osasu Obayiuwana interviews former CAF finance director Mohamed El Sherei.
Dream big, and accomplish even bigger.#ForColumbus— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) December 3, 2019
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