A banner day for MLS

Too bad that banner says “WE SUCK”

Look, there are a million good reasons why Chivas lost to a Panamanian team tonight and New England did the same to a Trinidadian one. But I hope this tournament, and the disaster it’s starting to look like for the MLS teams participating in it, finally prompts the league to do something to provide some relief for these teams.

MLS teams are so hamstrung going into these events that they are losing any value whatsoever. I am convinced that no MLS team can be built right now to sustain success in CONCACAF and in MLS. It’s just not possible. You can’t buy a house for $5, no matter how hard you try and you can’t play this many matches with this little players/talent, no matter how hard they try.

The participation in this and the Superliga is starting to become counterproductive. As the rest of CONCACAF improves (and on the club side, they have), the playing field that was always a bit slanted away from roster and salary-limited MLS clubs has become not a slant but a mountain to climb. It’s simply not fair anymore.

Right now, I’d be in favor of United punting this tournament just to ensure some semblance of roster integrity during the playoffs. Why not? MLS is giving the clubs the tools they need to succeed in CONCACAF, why should DC (or any other club) give MLS the prestige it seeks by doing well in it?

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12 thoughts on “A banner day for MLS

  1. The problem with punting this tournament is that it sends two messages:

    1. United is not committed to their goal of becoming the best team in the region. While the odds are stacked against them, competing in it at least shows that they’re working to achieve their goal.

    2. It tells prospective players that DC United is not interested in testing itself against the best opponents in the region. This could be a turnoff for some of the more competitive players looking for a new challenge in MLS.

    There are two main challenges to competing in MLS and the Champions League concurrently. The first, as you’ve stated above, is the roster size and salary cap. While this may sound like two challenges, addressing one and not the other, does not alleviate the burden. As much as I would like to think that the conservative MLS executives will make progress in this area, there is nothing I can lean on to give me hope. At best, they’ll increase the cap by a minimal amount, while allowing roster sizes to increase by another 3 or 4 roster spots. Incremental improvements is all we can hope for in this league.

    The second issue, one that was brought up in the Spring when DC United was knocked out of the Champions Cup, is the League schedule. While it was clear that the League’s obvious favoritism towards SuperLiga has put the MLS clubs at a large disadvantage going into the Champions League this year, the uproar and discontent it has caused, will probably result in changes next year. This is something they do have the power to address next season, especially because at the time the schedules are created, they know which teams will be competing in both the 08/09 and the 09/10 Champions League. Whether the league decides to change its SuperLiga qualification based on Champions League involvement remains to be seen. As MLS makes (I mean saves) more money when an MLS team wins, I’m pretty sure they’ll want the top clubs to compete against Mexico’s best.

  2. No way! Call me a wuss, but there’s no way that I want to stand outside in January or February to watch soccer. I think the NFL fans in New England and Green Bay are idiots and I wouldn’t want to condone their actions by doing the same thing. That Harbour View/United Champions Cup match in February a few years back was enough to convince me that a Fall-Winter-Spring schedule is ludicrous.

    If I had to choose an international schedule to adopt, I’d choose an Apertura and Clausura structure with a single table format. Winner of each “season” plays in a final for a season champion.

    Play each team in the league once in between the middle of March and beginning of first mid-June (12 weeks), and play them again (at the other’s home) between mid-August through mid-November (13 weeks).

    If a team still wanted to play SuperLiga in July as a “keep ‘em fresh” tournament, more power to them. The same goes for whatever stupid pre-season tournaments we play in.

    This still puts pressure on teams in international tournaments, but at least they would have around two months in the summer to recover from injuries.

  3. For those people who think the Apertura/Clausura structure is too foreign, it’s actually the same type of struture that Pennsylvania High School Basketball uses (Just without the long break in the middle). I’m not sure what other state schools do, but if it’s done once, it won’t be that “foreign.”

  4. I agree in that United should just say “screw it” to this tournament. We already competed in a less prestigious (only because of the name) version of this tournament this year, and look where it got us. Something like a 2-7-0 start? Or was it 1-7? Either way, I want nothing to do with outside tournaments from now on. United should respectfully decline. Except the Open Cup. So far, we’ve seen no repurcussions, and it’s an easy trophy because no one else in MLS gives a damn.

  5. So, I can think of several valid reason for a Split Season. What are the arguements against it? I can think of two that may keep it from ever happening.

    1. The League fears that the casual fans will lose interest when the league doesn’t have any games in the summer. Then once the “fall” season starts up, it has to compete against NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and College football.

    2. Clubs that don’t own their stadiums will have to continue to pay rent through the summer without games.

  6. Yeah, I’d agree.

    I actually just thought of another benefit of these Champions League game. They’ll give young up-and-coming players an opportunity to play in the hostile environments of Central America, so they’ll be more prepared to represent the US in World Cup qualifies instead of relying on aging veterans all the time.

  7. But, if playing the youngsters is a benefit, then it completely undercuts the basic premise of any “Champions League” which is “Best of Country A” vs. “Best of Country B.”

    All it is then is a big international reserve league, which is not very compelling.

  8. I didn’t mean reserves, I meant up-and-comers like Sasha Kljestan and Michael Parkhurst.

    I know that Devin McTavish and Marc Burch still have a ways to go before they can get looked at for National Team, but if they can show that they’re composed and perform well in Mexico and Costa Rica, that’ll put them ahead of some other MLSers that are also climbing the ladder to the National Team.

  9. I just feel that’s having to look awfully deep to find a silver lining. Up-and-comers or reserves, whatever the term, it still undercuts the whole point. Their best versus our best.

    I don’t really have a point here other than to say the current MLS relationship with these tournaments has to change. I am sick of watching our teams (especially ones that could and would spend the cash to improve, if allowed) get battered by teams that they should defeat.

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