Friday, November 17, 2017

Hooligan's Daily: CONCACAF announces its new Nations League

Yesterday's Scores
None.

Headlines
CONCACAF confirmed they will begin a new Nations League competition next September that will feature all 41 of its member associations. No details on the format of the competition came out, save for the fact it would be divided up into three tiers with promotion and relegation between them. Nore news should come out in February on how the event will work.

I like the concept of a Nations League for one reason, and one reason alone: it reduces the amount of meaningless international friendlies. I hate these things. As you noticed, I never include them on my score runs on here, even when they include the USMNT. Most of the time, these games serve no purpose other than perhaps making money. They provide false conclusions about a team's quality. The only ones that make sense are those played in the run-up to a major tournament. In this case, they serve as warm-up matches for the real show ahead. So, while this may mean the USA and Mexico face fewer intercontinental opponents overall, it will result in more meaningful games that are more interesting to watch.

Caleb Porter and the Portland Timbers are reportedly parting ways. Porter ran the Timbers for five years, winning an MLS Cup and making the playoffs three times. This year, he led the squad to the top spot in the West before losing in the conference semis to Houston. The unexpected move was apparently his decision. No word on where he's going next, but he is already being shouted as a name for the USMNT job.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia was named the league's goalkeeper of the year. He beat out Andre Blake (who would have been my choice) and Stefan Frei for the honor. Melia did have ten clean sheets while backstopping the best defense in MLS, so it isn't like he is some slouch who didn't deserve the award or anything.

As long expected, North Carolina FC confirmed its jump from the NASL to the USL for next season. They join the ever growing league in the same way Ottawa Fury and Tampa Bay Rowdies did last year. They come to a more stable outfit with more regional matches. They will play several teams within their area of the country, including newcomers Nashville SC and Atlanta United's USL outfit, along with established foes like Charlotte Independence, Charleston Battery, and Richmond Kickers.

If my count is correct, that means the USL stands at a whopping 35 teams for next year. However, Rochester Rhinos are apparently close to closing up shop due to declining attendance and financial trouble, so that number could drop again before long.

After that, however, teams in Austin, Birmingham, and Memphis are climbing on board for 2019, when the league may also explore splitting into a third conference. So, the USL's growth cannot be stopped, it seems.

Today's Matches
Bundesliga
VfB Stuttgart v. Borussia Dortmund- 2:30pm- FS2

La Liga
Girona v. Real Sociedad- 3pm

Ligue 1
Lille v. St. Etienne- 1pm
SC Amiens v. AS Monaco- 2:45pm- beIN

Liga MX
Puebla v. Lobos BUAP- 8pm- Univision Deportes
Atlas v. Pachuca- 10pm- Univision Deportes

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