Saturday, November 22, 2008

A look at the MLS Cup Weekend

One thing I'll say about the MLS, they do a good job of making the MLS Cup weekend interesting, at least for fans of the MLS. Friday night always features the Commissioner's State of the MLS Address, and this year Don Garber had some interesting things to say. Here's a link to see his speech:

First, rumor of this was circulating and Garber confirmed it, the Reserves league is gone. This is concerning because it destroys what was a good player development tool, and was in line with the way soccer clubs around the world operate. Thought is that this move is one of the first moves made by the league on the eve of entering into negotiations with the players union on a new CBA.

Second, playoffs will continue. I'm fine with this, MLS is not the only soccer league in the world that uses playoffs and playoffs are a special thing here in the States. To those who don't like playoffs, I say the same thing I do when people complain about gridiron lines on the pitch, get over yourself and just enjoy the game - stop whining, the world doesn't revolve around you.

Third, the conference system will continue there is no move to a single table. That being said, the structure of the fixtures for next year - play each team twice, with some extra rivals games - as essentially a close step to a de facto single table, a step that will only go further as more teams are added to the league. MLS is looking at having a total of 20 to 22 teams.

Fourth, the fixture congestion won't be as big an issue for teams like the Dynamo in 2009. There will no longer be overlap of the CCL and SuperLiga teams. The Houston Dynamo will be in the CCL, not SuperLiga next year. The top 4 teams to not make the CCL will participate in SuperLiga.

Fifth, the Montreal expansion bid is gone. Garber says the bid was dropped, others indicate that the league dropped the bid. We'll see how that develops.

Sixth, there is no deal to send Landon Donovan to Bayern Munich, at least not yet.

Seventh, the season will start a week earlier next year, and there will be more emphasis on not conflicting with FIFA dates. This is good news in my opinion. I've accepted the summer schedule, but have never liked the conflict with FIFA.

Meanwhile, today involved news concerning the USMNT. First of all, there was the draw for the Hex, and on February 11, 2009, the U.S. will host Mexico. Expect that match to occur in a cold climate like Chicago or Columbus. It sounds like Hartford and D.C. will also see USMNT Hex matches. I'd like Houston to host one, but we'll see what happens.

Good news, the 1560 The Game's Soccer Show will be back on the airwaves this Monday at 7:00 p.m. cst. You can listen online at:

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