Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
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
President Mark Abbott explains 2010 decisions
by Ridge Mahoney, September 17th, 2009 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS] As it did this year during certain FIFA international dates, MLS will lighten its schedule next year during the World Cup. But rather than reduce the number of games, MLS will take a complete break during the group phase. MLS president Mark Abbott spoke exclusively to Soccer America on the league's decision to halt play June 11-25 and to institute a balanced schedule.

"There are three or four games each day, and it's a time where the global soccer community kind of takes a break to watch the World Cup," Abbott said. "We thought it was an appropriate decision to make.

"We can't break for the entire 30 days, that doesn't work for our schedule for our teams from the standpoint of trying to stay fit. We think the two weeks, particularly the most intensive time in the number of games, is a period we could [take a break]."

MLS will also try to avoid scheduling games on the date of the World Cup semifinals and final as it works up a balanced schedule - each of 16 teams will play each league opponent twice - for the first time in its history. The complete schedule will not be released until early next year, though the list of opening games for each team may be ready in a few days or by the end of next week.

"I think it's reflecting the change in our fan base," said Abbott as the rationale for this change. "The reason we chose to do it now is that we recognize that the people who are going to be watching the World Cup next summer are our fans. They're either fans of MLS teams or are people we hope will become fans of our teams and our league."

The 2010 regular season will begin March 25 and conclude Oct. 24. The MLS Cup championship game will be played Nov. 21, and while discussions continue regarding changes to the playoff format, no final decision will be made until meetings are held the week of MLS Cup.

Abbott says the two-week break - which will take two weekends out of the MLS schedule - won't necessitate a large increase in the number of midweek games, partially because with the addition of Philadelphia as a 16th team, the necessity for bye dates with an odd number of teams is eliminated. Another Northeast team also facilitates simpler travel logistics for several opponents and shorter trips for teams playing two games in the same week.

"Not a lot more, maybe one more per team," said Abbott about increased midweek games. "We were able to work it so it's not going to be that significant."

A working schedule has been drawn up that includes dates for 30 game per team, and non-league competitions such as the U.S. Open Cup, SuperLiga and Concacaf Champions League.

The league has not decided how much of its schedule it will play during the World Cup knockout phase, other than trying to avoid the semifinals July 6-7 (Tuesday-Wednesday) and final July 11 (Sunday).

"The schedule is tight," says Abbott. "It was tight this year and it'll be tight next year. But we've done a schedule where we can fit in SuperLiga and Concacaf Champions League so we can meet the commitments that we have and still play our own schedule. We were very pleased that we were able to achieve that, to have a balanced schedule. I think again, the fans will appreciate that."



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Corona scores in Tijuana's Copa MX win    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] U.S. international Joe Corona scored the winner for Tijuana in its 3-1 win over ...
What They're Saying: Mark Geiger     
"It was very strange, with the way [Brazil] walked out on the field and just their ...
Manchester United wins third tour game in shootout    
[INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES] Manchester United won the third game of its U.S. tour with a 5-3 shootout ...
Cuevas gets start in Lobos BUAP victory    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Former U.S. under-20 national team forward Daniel Cuevas started for Torneo Ascenso (second division) ...
Lots in play on busy MLS Wednesday    
[PREVIEW: Week 21] A Wednesday of four MLS matches makes up for the lightened schedule of ...
Tim Howard returns in booth    
[SOCCER ON THE AIR] Tim Howard will again be spending many of his off-days as part ...
Clubs busy making mid-season player moves    
[MLS: Tuesday] The Philadelphia Union announced a press conference for Wednesday at which time it is ...
U.S. U-17s drop second straight game    
[OPEN NORDIC TOURNAMENT] The U.S. under-17 national team dropped its second game in two days at ...
Zusi celebrates his first post-World Cup goal     
[VIDEO PICK: MLS Goals of the Week] Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi scored his second ...
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS: Week 20] In case anyone had forgotten, the Galaxy is still to be reckoned with. ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives