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
Regular break is good for MLS
by Ridge Mahoney, June 18th, 2012 2:17AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

MLS took some drastic liberties with its scheduling to accommodate the June FIFA dates and the benefits made the drawbacks worth the trouble.

You might have missed it, with all the buzz generated by the European Championship and the commencement of play in the Concacaf World Cup qualifying semifinal round, but MLS is back in business.

And, to parlay a pun, it’s back with a vengeance. After scheduling just two games during the first two weekends of June, the league staged nine matches last Saturday and Sunday, and turns right around with six more on Wednesday, which just happens to be an off-day for the Euros.

Some teams used the break to good effect, bouncing back to post convincing wins. Others continued more or less in the same vein, which was bad news for FC Dallas, a 2-1 loser to Texas rival Houston and now winless in its last 10 games. Coaching changes in Philadelphia and Toronto produced changes in attitude but no points. The Montreal Impact played its first game at the renovated State Saputo, yet it was the visiting Sounders who suffered from jittery nerves and practically handed Montreal a 4-1 victory with some boneheaded defending.

More shakeups are quite possible starting in about two weeks, when the domestic transfer window opens. Montreal signing Marco di Vaio will be eligible to play, as will midfielder Barry Robson, who will attend – but not participate in – Vancouver’s training session Monday after he’s introduced to the media.

Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko, a rumored MLS signing for at least half a decade, is again talking up a possible move stateside. He might seem tailor-made for the discounted Designated Player option, by which a DP signed in midseason counts for only one-half of the normal $335,000 salary-budget charge, yet after playing in his native country for two years and being hailed as a hero for scoring twice in Ukraine’s Euro opener, one would wonder about his motivation, his energy reserves, and his fitness at age 36 playing in a rough-and-tumble league.

It’s influences like this that renders MLS a most unpredictable league. With season near its halfway point, many teams are still re-shaping themselves and with the transfer window about to open can ponder significant changes. Prior to their meeting Sunday, Portland and Los Angeles – last year’s expansion darling and the defending champion – were seventh and ninth (as in last), respectively, in the Western Conference.

The Timbers have already pushed the trade button, sending Jorge Perlaza to Philly in exchange for Danny Mwanga in one of the last moves engineered by departed Union coach Peter Nowak. While RSL coach Jason Kreis used the break as an in-season boot camp after his team lost, 3-1, to Minnesota Stars FC in the U.S. Open Cup May 29, TFC – which replaced Aron Winter with Paul Mariner – and Philly (assistant John Hackworth took over for Nowak) took advantage to radically change direction.

Next year, the Hexagonal round of qualifying will disrupt the MLS schedule yet again and I hope the league again virtually shuts down for about two weeks at this point of the season even though the first one-third of the season produced some very weird scheduling and imbalances in games played.

The later qualifying dates aren’t conducive to such a break, and coming as it does two and a half months into the season and just before the transfer window opens, it gives everyone – players, executives, coaches, fans – a chance to reassess and revise. And in a few cases, pull the trigger that needed to be pulled.



1 comment
  1. Paolo Jacobs
    commented on: June 18, 2012 at 7:39 p.m.
    I'm so glad MLS finally shut down for a Fifa date,, we're slowly becomminga more football savy league


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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
World Cup of fraud and confederation of lies    
There is only one word to describe the 164-page indictment filed by Federal prosecutors against 14 ...
Quakes rookie Alashe hones skills against MLS's best    
The busy life of Quakes rookie midfielder Fatai Alashe includes a trip to France this month ...
Wondo's mark of 100 goals impresses everyone but him    
San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski joined eight players in the exclusive club of 100-goal scorers by ...
MLS in Yankee Stadium completes New York City soccer tapestry    
Three days. Not much time to soak in a city's soccer culture. But this is New ...
Women's World Cup all primed to be prime-time hit    
You heard it here first: With a little luck, Fox will break the record for the ...
Orlando City staff sends right messages but lacks wiggle room    
Expansion team Orlando City SC finally won a game at home, and did so impressively by ...
College or pro? Soccer in America increasingly faces a choice of how to develop players    
The rusting, gray Commodore Barry Bridge overlooked PPL Park, wind whirled on the pitch, and patches ...
Keith Tozer: 'USA is ready for pro futsal'    
The Professional Futsal League (PFL) is slated to launch in November 2016. Keith Tozer, who has ...
USA grooms new goddess of the air    
As sports teams go, the U.S. women's national team is tough to break into. But once ...
New York derby exceeds Marsch's expectations    
If you ever questioned MLS's wisdom of putting two teams in New York, that was answered ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives