By J Hutcherson (Sep 21, 2021) US Soccer Players - In the original era of the Chicago Fire playing at Soldier Field, getting from the press box to the locker room was almost a form of time travel. Exit the modern press box, take the elevator down to the main concourse. Walk across to what looks like a random door that opens into the space underneath the bleachers. Step along the two-by-fours laid . . .
By J Hutcherson (Sep 14, 2021) US Soccer Players - The quickest and obvious way to look at the 2021-22 Champions League is that it's PSG's to lose. Their triple-forward lineup of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Lionel Messi should make life difficult for every team they play. Sure, if it really was that easy Real Madrid in the Galacticos era would've won more trophies, but PSG right now may be the . . .
By J Hutcherson (Sep 7, 2021) US Soccer Players - The USMNT is in a different situation than at any point during the summer tournaments. They face what seems like a game that requires a result, but that won't be clear until much later in the World Cup qualifying cycle. Right now, the pressure is on for not beating El Salvador and Canada, but the undefeated streak remains intact. It's an . . .
By J Hutcherson (Aug 31, 2021) US Soccer Players - We're at the point of the 2021 Major League Soccer season where it should be easier to separate the top clubs from the rest. Going into round 23 of the schedule, New England has a 14-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference table. It's Orlando City and Nashville tied on points behind them, both on 35 points and with Orlando holding the . . .
By J Hutcherson (Aug 24, 2021) US Soccer Players - We're already well into an era of change across world soccer. From the Nations League concept started in Europe and embraced by Concacaf to World Cup expansion to FIFA's delayed Club World Cup revamp. UEFA alone has now added a third European club competition with yet another Champions League revamp looming. Last month, CAF made a new African . . .
By J Hutcherson (Aug 17, 2021) US Soccer Players - Major League Soccer has a long tradition of unbalancing the schedule. Figuring out the table takes more than assuming all teams playing the same number of games at any given time. For long stretches of the season in this league, it's points plus games played up and down the conference tables. Even that may not be enough information. With MLS . . .
By J Hutcherson (Aug 10, 2021) US Soccer Players - In a European game that has seen super clubs going all the way back to Real Madrid's player recruitment in the 1960s, one team stockpiling talent isn't new. Pick an era, and some club somewhere was attempting to field a world all-star eleven. It's as simple of a concept as it gets, providing a team has the ability to spend within the rules. That's . . .
By J Hutcherson (Aug 5, 2021) US Soccer Players - The Championship is an interesting dilemma for players. Its reputation as a grind of a league is well earned both for the median level of play and for the 46 regular season games. Two automatic promotion spots and four playoff places changes the scope of the league for one simple reason that we're reminded of as every season winds down. There's a . . .
By J Hutcherson (Aug 3, 2021) US Soccer Players - If there's a takeaway in this era of Nations Leagues and compacted schedules, it's that whatever just happened only counts for so long. The Concacaf Nations League ended a little over a month before the Gold Cup began. Now it's World Cup qualifying set to start on September 2. What's already clear is that success in this region is even more of a . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jul 27, 2021) US Soccer Players - It's easy to look back at the second half of last season as the plight of the super clubs. Even before the unfortunate attempt at a breakaway version of the Champions League, some of Europe's biggest and brightest were openly predicting tough economic times ahead. The idea that business would simply continue as usual post-pandemic butted up . . .