Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Image of SuperLiga Tainted
by Ridge Mahoney, August 1st, 2008 4:30PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

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
Il caso Giovinco: Italy's loss is MLS's gain    
Sebastian Giovinco isn't going to the Euros. Italy's loss is MLS's gain. More particularly, Toronto FC ...
Philadelphia Union embarks on its toughest stretch of games to date    
The Philadelphia Union, the Eastern Conference leader, plays in Orlando Wednesday, flies halfway across the country ...
Perry Kitchen finds a new niche in Scotland    
Perry Kitchen left MLS after five seasons though the destination turned out to be somewhat of ...
Howard leaves Everton for a much different MLS and USA    
Is the time right for Brad Guzan to take over as the U.S. No. 1? Both ...
Kamara deal shakes up stagnant Revs    
Nobody can match the production of Kei Kamara since he joined Columbus prior to the 2015 ...
Busy midweek schedules add to unique travel woes in MLS    
No MLS head coach or executive has ever praised the league's schedule-makers. Conflicts with other competitions ...
It's time for Klinsmann to go young    
At first blush, there is nothing startling about the 40-player list from which Jurgen Klinsmann will ...
NYCFC's Pirlo problem won't go away    
Jason Kreis, New York City FC's head coach for its expansion season, never came out and ...
Recent incidents sharpen focus on how video replay can improve the game    
MLS and other North American soccer leagues are awaiting specific guidelines to be issued by FIFA ...
MLS ups the ante on expansion    
Major League Soccer has come a long way in the last decade, let alone the last ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives