• Last week, the NASL filed a lawsuit against USA Soccer, accusing the American soccer governing body of conspiring with MLS to raise the standards for a league to be sanctioned as “Division 1.” The NASL, desperate to attract sponsors and other money to the league, takes the position that being pegged as “Division 2” is all that’s holding it back from competing with MLS for fans, TV viewers, new teams, and potential corporate sponsors.

 

• The transfer deadline in England came and went with only a handful of big-name moves — especially at Arsenal, which ended the summer as the only team in Europe’s top leagues not to sign someone other than a goalkeeper for its first team. The Gunners, whose two wins this year have come courtesy of opposing teams scoring own goals, didn’t get the striker they so badly needed. Two days later they announced that Danny Welbeck, their second forward option, would miss most of the year because of a knee injury. Seemingly every year, manager Arsene Wenger refuses to spend money, while his title rivals spend hundreds of millions of dollars on reinforcements. It’s a big part of the reason that one of Europe’s 10 richest teams hasn’t been in serious contention for a title in a decade.

 

• The Bundesliga is crying out for a team to give Bayern Munich a run, which is why Borussia Dortmund’s flying start to the year is so heartening. BVB, as Dortmund is called, has scored 11 goals in three wins under new manager Thomas Tuchel — a return to the high-flying, high-scoring ways that made them the darlings of Europe. VfL Wolfsburg began the year as perhaps Bayern’s best competition, but it just sold Kevin De Bruyne, last year’s Bundesliga player of the year — perhaps not a good sign for its own chances. It might be up to Dortmund this year to keep Bayern from clinching the league by mid-February, but the early signs are good.