Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Image of SuperLiga Tainted
by Ridge Mahoney, August 1st, 2008 4:30PM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

In a Q&A with comedian and Seattle Sounders FC minority owner Drew Carey, he was asked to describe SuperLiga in five words or less. He replied: "More Money for Mexican Owners," which was clever and funny but not altogether accurate. The tournament is generating money for MLS and its marketing arm SUM, but is also reviving the ill feelings and poor sportsmanship seen before when Mexico's national team loses to the USA.

In its two years, SuperLiga has attracted midweek crowds that shame those of MLS, and produced more than a few memorable games. Unfortunately it has also given another meaning to the capital letters in its name, as in Sore Losers.

Pachuca players stormed the referee and his assistants after losing to Houston, 2-0, in their semifinal Tuesday. A blown offside call denied Pachuca what would have been a go-ahead goal in the 60th minute, when Gabriel Caballero steered a low cross from Juan Rojas past Houston keeper Pat Onstad. Bobby Boswell and Corey Ashe scored 10 minutes apart to knock off the defending SuperLiga champs, who didn't take the setback very well.

A melee erupted at midfield Wednesday following New England's 1-0 victory over Atlante, which had two players sent off before the final whistle, and three more shown the red card for their post-match antics. Goalkeeper and captain Federico Vilar bitterly proclaimed the referee, Carlos Batres, to be a cheat, and claimed he'd been bought.

Because SuperLiga is a concoction of MLS and the Mexican league, it is not an official CONCACAF competition, subject to confederation rules and policies. It does have the authority to mete out punishments for acts committed by its member nations. The players, coaches and officials can be also sanctioned and disciplined by the associations, but therein lies a conflict.

The tournament exists because both the Mexican and U.S. leagues recognize competitive and financial benefits, despite the imbalance in playing form between teams finishing up their preseasons in Mexico and MLS teams deep into their regular season. Disputes regarding scheduling, officiating, field conditions, etc., are nothing new, and whether it's World Cup qualifiers, Gold Cup, the discontinued CONCACAF Champions' Cup, SuperLiga, or new CONCACAF Champions' League, those issues won't go away.

The postmatch skirmishes tainted the image of SuperLiga, which is in danger of being shoved aside with the advent of the Champions League and scheduling of the Copa Sudamericana, which includes Mexican teams and comes right after SuperLiga. MLS will have to think hard about whether having four teams sacrifice weekend dates to play SuperLiga games best serves the interests of its teams, and if the sight of disgruntled team officials as well as players throwing jabs enhances the image of soccer in America.

I can see angry MLS coaches, say a Steve Nicol or Dominic Kinnear, angrily berating the referee after losing a game. I can see Eddie Robinson getting into the officials' faces and I can see Preki being dismissed from the bench, as he was a few weeks ago, for using foul language.

But I don't envision en-masse field invasions by MLS players, coaches and team officials anxious to spark scuffles, and I'd expect either the league or U.S. Soccer, or both, to mete out punishments if such incidents occurred.

If CONCACAF or the Mexican soccer association (FMF) doesn't hand out some fairly stiff fines for the semifinal melees, SuperLiga will lose much of whatever integrity and credibility it has accrued the past two years. And if Mexican team owners object and balk at playing SuperLiga next time around, MLS and SUM will best be served creating another property to achieve their competitive and financial objectives.

And now that the SuperLiga prize money is guaranteed to go to an MLS team, too bad Houston and New England can't use that leverage to insist they will decide how much of the $1 million winner's pot goes to the players, rather the 15 percent decreed by the league. That proviso is another black-eye when it comes to MLS compensation.

 

 

 

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Jozy shows he's still the man up front    
U.S. soccer fans have a love-hate relationship with most of their big stars. For every fan ...
Lee Nguyen on how he parlayed longer offseason into national team success    
Revs attacker Lee Nguyen got his first U.S. start against Iceland last Sunday and turned in ...
Revs' Heaps relishes competition and preaches consistency    
Aside from the apparent departure of Jermaine Jones, not a lot has changed on the New ...
USA-Canada match underscores Olympic issues for Klinsmann    
A games against Canada Friday may be the last opportunity for USA coaches Jurgen Klinsmann and ...
Christian Pulisic, 'the American Jewel,' must be protected    
I can think of 10 reasons we should be excited about Christian Pulisic. Those are each ...
Paths of Miazga and Cropper cross with both at crucial points    
An FA Cup match this weekend between MK Dons and Chelsea is a tussle between a ...
Return of Movsisyan reconnects Real Salt Lake with its rise to success    
After five years in Europe, striker Yura Movsisyan has come back to Real Salt Lake on ...
Coaches-in-training ready to whip LA Galaxy locker room into shape    
With three MLS titles in five seasons with the LA Galaxy and a scoring rate that ...
For once, some healthy signs are coming out of Toronto    
A flurry of offseason moves has strengthened Toronto FC after it conceded as many goals as ...
Clint Dempsey on Jordan Morris, moving abroad and his national team future    
Perhaps no player on the Seattle Sounders knows better what Jordan Morris was facing in deciding ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives