The midpoint of the Premier League season

My Soccer Insider weekly column at the Star Tribune has been going since summer 2015 - time for one-and-a-half Premier League seasons. 2015-16 was unprecedented and unexpected, but 2016-17 has been back to normal - and at the midpoint, that’s the topic of this week’s column.

Thanks to space issues, my column ran online only this week. P.J. Fleck, this is your fault.

MLS Schedule problems are bigger than a winter break

As most of the Northern Hemisphere takes a winter break - England, take a bow, you’re about the only ones that play on - I revisited the topic of the MLS schedule. Many people have called for the league to adopt a autumn-spring calendar, to match up with most of the rest of the world. As I wrote, that’s not the real problem with the MLS schedule - it’s midweek games that are missing.

Really, I guess this could be summed up as let teams pay for charter flights -> midweek games are less of a problem -> schedule more midweek games -> cut down on the playoff rounds while you’re at it -> now you can quit playing games during summer tournaments and international breaks. But I couldn’t submit a flow chart as a column.

One man can't fix US Soccer, and it was crazy to think otherwise

Remember 2006? Remember when we all wanted Bruce Arena fired (myself included), and we were excited about how maybe Jurgen Klinsmann - so young! So successful with Germany! - could be the man to fix everything that ailed U.S. Soccer?

Well, he couldn’t. He tried. But, even if he’d been a great matchday coach, which he wasn’t, the entire system is broken in America; it’s crazy to think that one man could have done the job.

So, we’re back to Bruce Arena. We’re wiser now. We just want Arena to get U.S. Soccer to the World Cup, just like we always did. The painful change won’t be driven from the top down. Everybody’s going to have to accept some pain in this particular movement.

The Day Paul Caligiuri Saved U.S. Soccer

The Hex started this weekend - the U.S., of course, lost to Mexico last night. This week is also the 27th anniversary of the “Shot Heard Round The World” - Paul Caligiuri’s goal in a deciding World Cup qualifier, at Trinidad and Tobago, in 1989. Soccer Insider this week reminisces about that game, and that goal, that altered the course of U.S. Soccer forever.