Tuesday’s soccer news starts with NYCFC picking up three points with a 1-0 shutout of Columbus at Red Bull Arena. Yankee Stadium is unavailable due to the compacted Major League Baseball schedule. Alexander Ring scored the game’s only goal in the 59th minute with Sean Johnson making three saves to keep the clean sheet.
Columbus retains the top spot in the East with a one-point lead over Toronto FC 16 to 15. NYCFC is 10th with 6 points. All three of those clubs have played seven games, the most in the Eastern Conference.
“I think it was a really big win for us,” Johnson said. “I think we were in a position where we needed points, and I think the focus was on us, what we needed to do. We weren’t so much worried about where Columbus was in the table, how they’d been playing. Coming in, I think it was important for us to really stick to the things that made us successful in the past. We dug deep. I think there was a real fight tonight.”
For both the Eastern and Western Conferences, the question is still what we really know about the 2020 MLS season. There haven’t been enough games to distinguish good from bad, much less the contenders. In the restart in home markets, we’ve seen LAFC and now Columbus lose to teams that most would have struggling to make the expanded playoff field. How that shakes out requires time, with MLS on a compacted schedule that may not provide enough of it.
Like the complaints directed at Major League Baseball for cutting their regular season down considerably, playoff leagues need the churn of the schedule. Without it, a relatively short hot streak can count for more than it should be worth. That’s also the growing situation for MLS, a league where day-by-day the expectations change.
Also in the MLS news, the league announced it was suspending New England coach Bruce Arena for two more games and levying a $15k fine. Arena saw red during MLS is Back for “unacceptable conduct and use of inappropriate language.” He missed the Revolution’s last game and will sit out tonight’s game at DC United and their August 29 home game against the Red Bulls.
In Norway’s Eliteserien, Romain Gall wasn’t in the squad for Stabaek’s 2-0 home loss to SK Brann. Stabaek fell behind in the 62nd and gave up a second goal four minutes into stoppage time. Stabaek is 8th in the table after 15 games.
BBC Sport reports that the UEFA Super Cup will go ahead in front of 20k fans with the game scheduled for September 24 in Budapest. The NY Times’ Rory Smith and Tariq Panja with Europe starting the 2020-21 season in a pandemic. The Ringer’s Musa Okwonga asks about Neymar and PSG’s Champions League loss.
The Athletic’s Matt Pentz uses an empty Cascadia derby to make a point about MLS and the return to play. The Guardian’s Graham Ruthven looks at
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