The conclusion of the 2018-19 Champions League group stage wasn't much of a surprise. The usual suspects all advanced, with another opportunity to see if a combination of the draw and results allows the Spanish giants to dominate the knockout phase. That once again includes Atletico Madrid, back from their Europa League winning season and once again navigating a Champions League group. The only . . .
By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Dec 12, 2018) US Soccer Players - On his first official day as the LA Galaxy’s general manager, Dennis te Kloese was already making things happen. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to stay on for 2019 as a roster shakeup appears imminent, Caleb Porter is on the brink of becoming the next Galaxy coach all the while revealing the vision for the future. If this is a glimpse of . . .
By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Dec 7, 2018) US Soccer Players - The 2018 MLS Cup final provided the latest backdrop for a pressing discussion about the future of topflight soccer in the USA and Canada. That discussion and the debate it engenders is a function of the success of Atlanta United and the ambition of the club’s owner, Arthur Blank. The massive crowd that filled Mercedes-Benz Stadium . . .
The soccer news starts with USMNT players in the Champions League. Weston McKennie was on the bench for Schalke's 1-0 home shutout of Lokomotiv Moscow in Group D. Alessandro Schopf scored a minute into stoppage time with Ralf Fahrmann making one save to keep the clean sheet. Schalke advances to the knockout round in 2nd-place, five points behind group winners Porto. “We were dominant over the 90 . . .
Whether or not FIFA goes ahead with an expanded World Cup in 2022, we already know it will happen for 2026. 48 teams, resetting what we know about the tournament. For Concacaf, the early issue is number of qualifying spots and how World Cup qualifying will work in the era of expansion. It's worth the reminder that Concacaf would've already changed World Cup qualifying had they gotten four . . .
By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Dec 10, 2018) US Soccer Players – It was a season of records for Atlanta United. The newly-crowned MLS champions, in just their second year of existence, emerged as a truly unstoppable train. That's thanks in large part to the scoring pace of Josef Martinez. The league’s MVP this season, Martinez easily surpassed the MLS regular-season scoring record 31 goals in 34 . . .
The soccer news starts with the MLS champions Atlanta United and runners-up Portland Timbers. For the technical staffs on both teams, there wasn't a lot of time for either of them to celebrate or wonder what they might've done differently. By Sunday, they were announcing the players they're keeping for the 2019 MLS season. The league moves on, with Sunday a half-day trade window where moves . . .
By J Hutcherson (Dec 8, 2018) US Soccer Players - We’re well into the era of Atlanta United making anything they touch look like it belongs to a different league. Their fans going with an MLS 3.0 tifo shortly before the start of the game was equal parts mission statement as creativity. Atlanta lifted the 2018 MLS Cup after beating Portland 2-0 on Saturday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Josef . . .
By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Dec 7, 2018) US Soccer Players - There’s no rule that says a championship game must have a favorite and underdog. It’s quite possible that two teams can arrive at a final equally matched, on paper or in reality. That takes away the need for the tried-and-true narrative that one team is the obvious choice to win while the other is fighting an uphill battle. It . . .
By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Dec 7, 2018) US Soccer Players - Neither his former team nor his new one is directly involved in Saturday’s MLS Cup final. Still, Gregg Berhalter’s name was on the lips of many here in the lead-up to the big game between Atlanta United and the Portland Timbers. With the long-awaited confirmation and introduction of the USMNT’s new coaching hire finally arriving . . .