Minnesota United Is Going to MLS in 2017

We learned last night, via a big fancy announcement at a (rainy) CHS Field in St. Paul, that Minnesota United FC will begin play in MLS in 2017. We sort of already knew that; it’s been widely assumed that the move would happen next year, to give Atlanta an expansion partner and keep an even number of teams in the league. The big announcement was probably that United would still be called United after all, not Minnesota FC or Minnesota SC or something like that, as everyone thought until about Thursday this week.

My Star Tribune column was about what MLS looks like, from a roster perspective. Much attention is given to salary caps in the NHL and NBA and NFL, and to the roster and waiver rules in baseball; MLS has all of that and more.

Soccer Insider Summer Update

August 13 - My Premier League preview is betting on Liverpool and Chelsea, two teams that don’t have to play anywhere but England this year.

August 6 - The USWNT headed to the Olympics as the heavy, unbeatable favorites - but it’s hard to climb to the top of the mountain again. (This looked a little prescient the next week, when they lost to Sweden in the quarterfinals.)

July 30 - Chelsea and AC Milan played a friendly at U.S. Bank Stadium this week, and as part of the promotion, I got a chance to talk to Chelsea keeper Asmir Begovic, who grew up in Edmonton. (I suspect his North American-accented English is why they had him do interviews.) Really nice guy!

July 23 - There’s more than one way to approach the tactical side of the game - as Minnesota United coaches Manny Lagos (former) and Carl Craig (current) have demonstrated.

July 16 - Christian Ramirez missed a penalty the previous week, so I talked to him about the mental side of the game. He basically brushed it off, so filled with confidence was he. Naturally, in that night’s game he took a penalty in the first ten minutes - and scored. (I covered that game for the Star Tribune, too!)

July 9 - With the transfer market in full swing, I felt duty-bound to try to explain this to Star Tribune readers.

July 2 - On the Great Baseball Road Trip, I heard people complaining about how soccer was so boring. It occurred to me that soccer’s made such great strides that I had no reason to argue with him.

Soccer Insider - No easy answers for USA

Like a lot of people, I was genuinely thrilled when the USA made it to the semifinals of the Copa America. They haven’t exactly made it that far a lot - twice at the Confederations Cup and that’s about it, not counting the Gold Cup. This is the closest thing the USA gets to a non-World Cup major tournament, and so the excitement about making it that far was a real thing.

Then the USA played Argentina, and got absolutely dominated. That was about the end of the excitement, and instead, the same questions got thrown around. Depending on who you ask, the USA needs a better coach, or a better youth development system, or a better domestic league, to fix everything that ails America.

It’s not that easy. There are no easy answers. Over at Soccer Insider, I gave some examples of countries that have it all - and still can’t win it all.

A long-overdue blog update


First of all: Northern Pitch, once the home for Minnesota soccer coverage, is now FiftyFive.One. It’s a bit of an odd name - 55.1 is the average yearly temperature in St. Paul - but it’s a new start for all of us who write about soccer in Minnesota.

Second, now that we’ve gone all Acast, our Sportive site just points to our site at acast. We do that podcast every week. You should have no trouble finding us.

Soccer Insider

Now, some links to my Soccer Insider columns at the Star Tribune:

February 6 - As the European seasons heated up, I recapped them for the Star Tribune readers.

February 13 - Minneapolis City SC, which launched this week, is explicitly trying to become the old Minnesota Thunder, as the new version - Minnesota United - heads toward MLS.

February 20 - Minnesota United went out to the Simple Invitational in Portland, and I talked to Carl Craig ahead of the trip.

February 27 - There’s just too much complaining about schedules these days. Do you see Barcelona complaining about schedules? No, you don’t. They just keep winning.

March 5: MLS Preview time!

March 12 - On the fall of Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager that’s disappointed fans for a decade.

March 19 - MLS’s stupid salary structure is the main thing that’s holding the league back.

March 26 - A look at the eight Minnesotans that have reached the highest levels of soccer. Basically, “Here’s the #oneofus people to know.”

April 2 - Minnesota United Preview: The Loons, revamped in the offseason, will be failures if they don’t make the playoffs.

April 9 - MLS has survived for 20 years, which is good. But it’s so, so broken, which is bad.

April 16 - NWSL Preview: Seattle is looking strong for a third straight regular season title.

April 23 - I attempted to explain why the top teams in Spain continue to dominate European competition. The best explanation: their reserve players are playing in the second and third and fourth division, not fooling around in obscure reserve leagues.

April 30 - Leicester City was about to win the Premier League, and I tried to explain just why this was a miracle.

May 7 - This is my column from my visit to England. Arsenal 1, Norwich City 0. The entire day, trip, two weeks, and so on was an absolute dream come true.

May 21 - Here’s my attempt at ranking the world’s domestic leagues - and understanding where MLS fits.

May 28 - The Copa America is expanding to North America, becoming a true pan-American competition. More of this would be a good thing.

June 4 - As the Copa America kicks off, it’s worth remembering that the USA isn’t a world powerhouse, and we shouldn’t expect greatness.

June 11 - Euro 2016 Preview: The expanded Euros are going to make the first round kinda boring.

June 18 - With the USA reaching the Copa America semifinals, the men’s national team has a chance to exceed every previous performance.

Eric Miller, MLS vs Klinsmann, and more

Here’s two more weeks’ worth of posts.

Star Tribune - Soccer Insider

  • January 23: MLS insiders can’t stop talking about Jürgen Klinsmann, and the reason is revealing.
  • January 30: I talked to Minnesota native, and Montreal and US U-23 fullback, Eric Miller, who is in USMNT camp for the first time - but still looking forward to March.

Northern Pitch

The Sportive

120 Days of Things

So, I went awhile without an update. And made a technology change to the blog, about which more anon. That said, this has always been, as much as anything, a record of things I’ve written, so allow me a long list of posts:

Star Tribune Soccer Insider

Northern Pitch

The Sportive

I won’t actually list all of these out, but just link you to the podcast page. Suffice it to say that we’ve been keeping up with what’s going on.

Bringing this site back to life is going to be fun.

Late August and Early September

Here’s quite a lot of links to things I wrote or did over the past three weeks:

I just can’t get enough

Here’s everything I worked on this week:

  • August 19: We got recognized at Legends while recording this week’s podcast, with special guest Liz Welle, and also got stared at by half of the patrons.
  • August 21: Got some good feedback on my extended weekend soccer schedule at Northern Pitch. If nothing else, I wrote late at night and then laughed at myself twice while re-reading it the next morning.
  • **August 22: **Soccer Insider covers Gopher soccer, which kicked off their regular season last night with a 3-0 win. They need more goals, and are leaning on the depth of some new freshman to get them. Plus: Chelsea’s early panic, USWNT beatdowns vs. the NWSL, Miguel Ibarra, and a (much shorter) weekend watch guide.

Bereft Fox

It took one game to fall in love with the Bundesliga, and specifically with the nuttiness of Bayer Leverkeusen. With five minutes left in a game they’d eventually win 2-1, most teams would think defensively. Not Leverkeusen, who had eight players in the opposition penalty area, trying to score a third, and allowing Hoffenheim a chance going the other way. That’s the kind of hell-for-leather, poorly-thought-out strategy that we appreciate!

Here are links to an awful lot of things I’ve written or said over the past couple of weeks.