• The USA suffered a setback this week when Monterrey midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez, who was born and raised in California and had played for the USA’s youth national teams, announced that he is planning to switch countries and play for the Mexico senior team. Gonzalez made the Liga MX Best XI last fall as a teenager with one of Mexico’s biggest clubs.
• In a first for soccer in Saudi Arabia, a match Friday in Jiddah between local teams Al-Ahli and Al-Batin marked the first time that women were allowed to attend a game at a public stadium. It’s a long overdue step in the government’s efforts to ease gender restrictions.
• The North America Soccer League is near folding and won’t be able to play its normal spring season, but its sense of chutzpah remains undiminished. The league claimed that the failure to start next season on time was a planned switch to a fall-to-spring calendar, to align with the traditional soccer season in the rest of the world. NASL clubs weren’t fooled. Indy joined the USL instead, and Jacksonville announced it was in the market for a new league. That leaves the NASL with three established teams and two potential expansion sides.