By J Hutcherson (Feb 23, 2021) US Soccer Players - For a league like MLS so dedicated to a specific idea of parity, it's interesting how often the conferences refuse to cooperate. It's close to an annual tradition that one conference outdoes the other. Back in 2017, the best team in the Western Conference would've finished in 6th-place in the East. Though four Western Conference teams would've . . .
By J Hutcherson (Feb 16, 2021) US Soccer Players - The 2020-21 Premier League season is asking a lot of questions without a lot of answers. Whether or not the newly discovered parity in England's topflight is something that will last once things return to normal is probably at the top of that list. The Manchester clubs at the top of the table are part of that story, but it's more about Leicester . . .
By J Hutcherson (Feb 9, 2021) US Soccer Players - Let's go ahead and insert all of the appropriate caveats. The 2020 Club World Cup is happening a month late and in a different year. Oceania's representative opted out due to pandemic restrictions. South America didn't get its champion until January 30. After lifting the Copa Libertadores, Palmeiras played a league game on February 2 before going . . .
By J Hutcherson (Feb 2, 2021) US Soccer Players - Let's all feign surprise that reports of FC Barcelona facing significant financial issues ended up with reports of how much they're paying Lionel Messi. It's an easy way to understand what's fueling the latest round of super league speculation. It cost a significant amount of money to have a chance of maintaining elite status in European soccer, . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jan 26, 2021) US Soccer Players - Frank Lampard is no longer the manager of 9th-place Chelsea, with their position in the league table all the justification needed for the move. There's an agreed-upon elite in the Premier League, and Chelsea is part of it. As fun as it is to watch English pundits load up a hypothetical super league with multiple Premier League clubs, Chelsea's . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jan 19, 2021) US Soccer Players - MLS teams occasionally hire coaches with no direct experience with the league. That creates an easy opportunity for the most obvious of caveats. How will they adjust? Squad building, travel, the weather, and whatever else ends up on a list of differences. All of them can derail a coach new to how topflight soccer works in North America. DC . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jan 12, 2021) US Soccer Players - England's Football Association unveiled Time for Change, its new strategic plan, and there's no need to tag it with spoilers. They'd very much like to do all the things the bigger associations and federations around the world stress as priorities. That includes winning. Under the heading, WIN A MAJOR TOURNAMENT, the FA points to how success on . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jan 5, 2021) US Soccer Players - Depending on your loyalties, it might be easy to forget how much money, transfers, and managers it took to turn Chelsea into one of the best clubs in the Premier League. Improving from 11th in 1995-96 to 6th in 1996-97, the club has finished no lower. That includes winning the Premier League five times. The expectation of top-six is fundamental to . . .
By J Hutcherson (Dec 15, 2020) US Soccer Players - It's probably not even worth asking whether it was Concacaf or FIFA that first decided their club competitions must continue. At least publicly, Concacaf went first by announcing in early November that the Champions League would conclude in December. A month later, FIFA announced that the 2020 Club World Cup would also be going ahead in January . . .
By J Hutcherson (Dec 1, 2020) US Soccer Players - Toronto FC can now add a coaching change to its disrupted 2020 season. The 2019 MLS Cup finalists played out the remainder of the 2020 season in Connecticut due to border restrictions. That ended with a playoff loss to Nashville on November 24. Now, the club is looking for a new coach. Greg Vanney didn't leave courtesy of that MLS cliche of a . . .