By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Apr 26, 2018) US Soccer Players - Last week, we looked at the growing conference imbalance in MLS. Due to population centers and ownership wealth, the Eastern Conference is quickly dwarfing the quality level of its more even-keeled Western neighbors. The Mississippi River has always been a convenient way to break the country up geographically. However, in a league . . .
By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Apr 19, 2018) US Soccer Players - After years of relatively balanced conferences in MLS, the past 16 months have seen the East stand head and shoulders above its Western counterpart. Nearly every list of Supporters' Shield or MLS Cup projections focuses on teams in the East, with few true contenders across the Mississippi. In my latest Power Rankings, the top five . . .
By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Apr 12, 2018) US Soccer Players - For the second straight round, an MLS side advanced in the Concacaf Champions League by virtue of a strong goalkeeping performance. After Luis Robles’ quarterfinal heroics, Toronto FC was able to stymy a Club America side in large part thanks to Alex Bono’s commanding 90 minutes between the posts. In particular, a one-handed reflex . . .
By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Apr 5, 2018) US Soccer Players - One month in, and the MLS season is just as unpredictable as any other. Teams are still figuring out their identities in the early goings of the 2018 campaign, leading to many an upset through five weeks. As always, it’s good to clarify the role of power rankings. While one can look at the table and see whose results have been . . .
By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Mar 29, 2018) US Soccer Players - Four weeks into the 2018 MLS season, and we’ve already had our first cause for debate about international window etiquette. MLS sides once again had the option to prioritize double-game weeks over playing during the international break. That makes a difference in this league. Even losing a few starters can be the difference between . . .
By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Mar 22, 2018) US Soccer Players - Three weeks in and the 2018 MLS campaign looks to be starting off in rare form. Two teams have advanced to the Concacaf Champions League semifinals. One of those, last year’s MLS Cup champion, has stumbled to a winless start in the league. All the while, players are overperforming, underperforming, or not performing at all. With . . .
By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Mar 15, 2018) US Soccer Players - As a freshly-minted 22-year-old, Major League Soccer is understandably still figuring out its place in this big world. No league in professional sports has seen so much of a transitionary period in the past 5-10 years as MLS. In 2008, the Houston Dynamo failed to win a historic MLS Cup three-peat, falling short in the first round . . .
By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Mar 8, 2018) US Soccer Players - Facing off against a Liga MX side in the Concacaf Champions League is never an easy ask for MLS teams. Doing so in Mexico is even more intimidating. So, with his New York Red Bulls lining up on Club Tijuana’s home turf, it seemed as if Luis Robles was going to need a total headstand to help keep his team in the running. And boy, did . . .
By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Mar 1, 2018) US Soccer Players - Another March, another new MLS campaign. We've all read about the new players, new coaches, bounceback candidates, and impending busts. Now the players get their chance to make us look bad. In the first week of each month, I’ll try to make sense of where the teams stand in a tiered power ranking. From contenders to pretenders, . . .
By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Feb 22, 2018) US Soccer Players - It was going to take something special to keep FC Cincinnati’s incomparable momentum moving forward. In 2016, the USL side kicked off in front of record-obliterating crowds at Nippert Stadium. In 2017, they shocked MLS side Chicago Fire in the US Open Cup and forced New York Red Bulls into extra time in the tournament’s semifinal. . . .