• Local soccer journalist Brian Quarstad confirmed with MLS this week that Minnesota United FC will be allowed to bring its current players to its MLS squad, without having those players pass through the league's arcane player-allocation mechanisms. This should make joining United this year much more attractive to MLS-quality players who are looking for playing time. Four-year MLS veteran Ben Speas, an attacking midfielder who joined the team last week, is a perfect example.

• Futsal — the FIFA-approved, five-a-side version of soccer that's played on a basketball-size court — has never really had a North American league, but that appears set to change. NBA owners Mark Cuban and Mikhail Prokhorov have purchased franchises in the 16-team Professional Futsal League, which is set to begin play in 2017. It's an intriguing throwback to the days when indoor soccer was (mildly) popular in the U.S.

• Liverpool fans staged a high-profile walkout last weekend over the team raising season-ticket prices. The club itself is in a bind; TV revenue has skyrocketed, but every other club in England has reaped the same windfall, making Liverpool no richer on a relative basis.