The MLS season schedule was released, you can view it HERE
OK, so I’m not going to get into to many specifics or focus on one team (though Chicago are my team) I’m also not going to rail on about how the league schedules game on FIFA dates. There isn’t a league on earth that doesn’t do it at some point(EPL & La Liga all had matches during Africa Cup of Nations which are reserved dates and Bundesliga despite the break, had a touch of overlap with the aforementioned tournament); though some do it more than others.
I am going to bitch about some of the ‘sexier’ matchups being skedded against the international dates. There are at least 1 match in each of the 3 biggest markets (LA, Chicago & New York) that are played amongst one another that gets killed due to being skedded on or around a FIFA date.
I GET that MLS doesn’t have all the flexibility that Bayern or Barca has. Not every team is the sole tenant in their stadium so there are considerations. However, we certainly must be approaching the time when there are enough to where they can skip a weekend and play on a Tuesday every now and then.
If that isn’t possible, then they MUST preserve matches like LA v. Chicago, Chicago v. RBNY because, well that’s where the leagues biggest stars are. DC gets a 1/2 star slot since Gallardo is pretty well known, but he’s not the draw that Blanco and Beckham are and Altidore is rapidly becoming an American superstar. In addition, Angel is quite popular amongst the Spanish speaking community as evidenced by his Beckham-esque inclusion on ‘sexiest man’ issues of People en Espanol and the like.
The match they should really be kicking themselves over is the LA v. Chicago match that come 1 day after an international date in LA. Blanco is MASSIVE in the Mexican community and is a huge draw. Putting him head to head against Beckham in LA would have been HUGE. Blanco is essentially done with his international career but could still be pulled up. Beckham is still semi-active and no doubt will be called. MLS missed having this match up in LA last year and they will miss it again this year. Assuming they don’t meet in the MLS Cup final which looking at LA last year is making a BIG leap of faith. Chivas USA will still be the best club in the HDC this year.
The league is still young and growing. It NEEDS games like this where the atmosphere is crazier than usual if it wants to market itself to the casual, semi- & non-fans. Yet it didn’t take that chance.
At is stands now, Blanco will play Beckham in LA one time during Blanco’s contract, but not until next year. Not good. Not good.
As it stands now, we are left hoping the CBA negotiations include tripling (at least) the salary cap to about $10 million a year (it will be near $3 million per team after the ’09 season) and higher max salaries to bring in more higher quality players and keep more promising youngsters with bumped up minimums.
For now, let’s take the tools you have at your disposal and utilize them OK, Garber? Make sure your stars will be playing each other (barring injury).