This is embarrassing for U.S. Soccer, especially in light of the huge gulf in success between the two teams. The women are World Cup champions. The men flopped and failed to even qualify for the last World Cup. It’s also hard to argue that the women’s team is any less famous than the men’s team, given that players such as Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe are practically household names, while the men’s team has Christian Pulisic, Michael Bradley and a rotating cast of young hopefuls.

I honestly cannot think of an opposing side to this debate. I can’t think of a reason U.S. Soccer hasn’t already decided to make equal pay its default policy, other than “it costs money, and we’ve gotten away with it for years.” Dear U.S. Soccer: Just fix it.

Short takes

• U.S. hopes for the CONCACAF Champions League now rest entirely on Sporting Kansas City, which scored three late goals Thursday to achieve a comeback victory against Independiente (Panama). Of the four MLS teams, only Kansas City reached the semifinals, where it will face Mexico’s hottest team, Monterrey. Defeating Monterrey would take an excellent performance.

 

• The FIFA Club World Cup has to be the least necessary tournament on an international calendar that’s already packed with unnecessary tournaments. The meaningless eight-team event matches up the continental club champions, plus a host team. The best thing FIFA could do would be to let the tournament die, but FIFA always does the most annoying possible thing. The Associated Press reported that FIFA wants the 2021 tournament to include a shocking 24 teams from around the world. Here’s hoping clubs simply refuse.

 

WATCH GUIDE

Cincinnati vs. Portland, 4 p.m. Sunday, FS1. Expansion teams such as FC Cincinnati are supposed to be, at best, lovable losers — happy-go-lucky squads with fans who are just pleased to be in the big time. Two of the past three MLS additions, though, have been competitive from Day 1, and Cincinnati would prefer to follow the lead of LAFC and Atlanta United. Two road games have brought Cincy just one point. Could its first home game produce a first victory?