By J Hutcherson (Aug 28, 2018) US Soccer Players - With all of the European big leagues now playing games that count and the group stage of the Champions League closing in, it's worth asking a simple question. What's worth our time this season across European soccer? Since it's almost impossible to correctly predict a Leicester City scenario, let's set aside the shocking surprises. Instead, I'm . . .
The soccer news starts with the other elite European leagues trying to compete with the Premier League. Though few would claim parity in the Premier League, they do have more super clubs that could potentially win the title than anywhere else in European soccer. That's a clear advantage in an era where three of the top five leagues have one dominant club. UEFA's coefficient now rules the . . .
La Liga begins their 2018-19 season later today and Serie A starts on Saturday, with two more of Europe's big leagues debuting. In La Liga, it's a similar story with the big three. Barcelona is defending champions with last year's 2nd-place finisher Atletico and 3rd-place Real Madrid trying to change that. As many have pointed out since Wednesday, Atletico's Super Cup win over Real Madrid seems . . .
By J Hutcherson (Aug 14, 2018) US Soccer Players - Wednesday's UEFA Super Cup doesn't officially start anything. It's not the kickoff for either of Europe's club tournaments, both well into qualifying at this point. UEFA's Champions League couldn't even get out of the way for the World Cup, playing games while that tournament was still underway in Russia. The domestic leagues in Europe stagger . . .
The 2018-19 Scottish Premier League season starts this weekend, a league that is now only occasionally identified with USMNT players. Perry Kitchen's time at Hearts was the latest example, but it's a list that includes the Alejandro Bedoya - Carlos Bocanegra - Maurice Edu era at Rangers and prior to that DaMarcus Beasley and Claudio Reyna spending time with the club. The collapse of Rangers' . . .
Thursday's soccer news starts with Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge using his latest criticism of the European transfer market to make a point about the UEFA coefficient and the Champions League. After blaming PSG and Manchester City for the rise in prices, Goal.com's Robin Bairner relays Rummenigge's opinion on the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer. He's not a fan of the move, making a . . .
The soccer news starts with an example of why the revamped UEFA Champions League might not appeal to some parts of Europe. First a reminder. Starting this season, the top four leagues in Europe put four teams each directly into the group stage. The 5th highest ranked league gets three places in the group stage, with the 6th getting two. A quick look at the coefficient table has Spain's La Liga . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jul 24, 2018) US Soccer Players - Credit Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho for getting out in front of potential issues. With his team on tour in the United States and eventually welcoming back World Cup winner and star player Paul Pogba, the expectations for this season are high. That hasn't meant good news for United in years, with the club struggling in a way that . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jul 17, 2018) US Soccer Players - When Juventus arrives in the United States later this month, they're not going to be the team anybody expected. That includes their fellow European teams on their International Champions Cup schedule as well as the MLS All-Stars they'll play in Atlanta on August 1. Nobody saw Juventus deciding to reinstate their super club status by successfully . . .
Going from 1st to 5th in the Premier League was likely to lead to changes at Chelsea. That's the polite way to say that not staging a competitive defense of their title would lead to yet another manager. In this case, head coach Antonio Conte making way for Maurizio Sarri. Chelsea made the Sarri hiring official over the weekend, once again drawing a line underneath a successful period that didn't . . .