The French powerhouse club Paris Saint-Germain (24 wins, 5 draws, 1 loss) deserves a special shoutout for the amazing things that they were able to accomplish on Sunday: by virtue of their 9-0 destruction of poor Troyes, they picked up their fourth straight Ligue 1 title. They clinched the crown earlier than any other team in league history (with eight matches remaining) and superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four goals (!) in the landmark victory. Ligue 1 is far from the top league in Europe but this is still a great team that has reached the Champions League quarterfinals for the fourth season in a row as well.
Barcelona is the Golden State of Soccer
The way that the Golden State Warriors (59-6) have rightfully caught the attention of even casual NBA fans in this magical season, I think that the same is true of Barcelona (24 wins, 3 draws, 2 losses) when it comes to club soccer. Lionel Messi (22 goals, 10 assists) is still the best player in the world so having him with an in-form Neymar (20 goals, 10 assists) and Luis Suarez (26 goals, 12 assists) is basically unfair to any other teams (La Liga and beyond). This is one of the best offensive sides that we’ll ever see in our lifetimes: they have scored an absurd 84 goals (most in La Liga) and allowed only 22 (2nd fewest). They have a really good chance to repeat as La Liga champs (up 8 points on 2nd-place Atletico with 9 matches left) and as the Champions League winner (leading Arsenal 2-0 headed into the 2nd leg of their Round-of-16 series).
MLS Update After the First Two Weeks of 2016
In the Eastern Conference, Montreal is the only team that has won both of its games while Columbus and the Red Bulls are each 0-2. In the Western Conference, San Jose and Sporting KC are both 2-0 while Vancouver and Seattle are each 0-2. The defending champion Portland Timbers are 1-1-0 after losing 2-1 to the Earthquakes on Sunday. Portland’s inaugural title last season (along with the fact that they played Columbus in the MLS Cup) was a good sign for MLS that two small-market clubs could make it so far when the top designated players have lately seemed to always choose the same predictable places (Los Angeles, Seattle and New York).
The USWNT Continues to Roll Along
The U.S. women’s national team is a juggernaut and the 2015 World Cup champions have showed no sign of slowing down as they just captured the first-ever SheBelieves Cup last Wednesday in Boca Raton, FL with a 2-1 win over Germany. Earlier in the tournament, they had blanked England 1-0 and France 1-0 in back-to-back matches (all three of those opponents are ranked in the Top-5 in the world). Their stars led them in those triumphs as striker Alex Morgan picked up the Golden Boot (top scorer) and Golden Ball (best player) while Hope Solo received the Golden Glove (best goalkeeper). This extremely likable group will be the odds-on favorite to win the gold medal at the Rio Olympics this summer.
Follow Metro soccer writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate