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
MLS expansion teams address their needs directly    
The first SuperDraft of the expansion teams United is in the books. Minnesota went for a ...
Family team effort helps Abu Danladi rise to MLS No. 1 pick    
Abu Danladi's mother was unable to come from Ghana to join him in Los Angeles and ...
MLS 2017: How Eastern Conference teams look on the eve of preseason    
The New York teams finished one-two in the regular season, but the conference's 2015 MLS Cup ...
MLS 2017: How Western Conference teams look on the eve of the SuperDraft    
No more Robbie Keane or Bruce Arena in L.A., a coaching change in Houston, and a ...
USA's January Camp: It's all about the here and now    
When Bruce Arena accepted the job as U.S. national team coach for a second time in ...
MLS Positional Awards: Bingham takes top goalkeeping spot    
It was a strange year for goalkeepers in MLS. Colorado conceded the fewest goals with two ...
MLS Positional Rankings: TFC duo heads the pack at outside back    
MLS teams don't spend much on outside backs. They've been only marginally affected by increases in ...
MLS Positional Rankings: Birnbaum and Van Damme command the centerback slots     
The three-man back line is gaining favor in MLS as well as around the world, but ...
MLS Positional Rankings: Lodeiro and Piatti dominate the flanks    
Not many MLS teams field a truly dominant winger or wide midfielder; two that did, Seattle ...
MLS Positional Rankings: Kljestan, Felipe, Alonso top the midfield slots    
For players who toil in the middle of the park, roles and classifications often overlap as ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives