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MLS's Scheduling Challenges

Nobody, it seems, likes the way Major League Soccer handles scheduling, but this is a truly thankless job, says ESPN's Steve Davis. Among the factors organizers have to consider for next season: 2010 World Cup qualifying, the U.S. Open Cup, the SuperLiga, the new CONCACAF Champions League, ESPN2's Thursday night matches, the David Beckham circus and the 2008 Olympics -- not to mention those lucrative "international" friendlies between MLS clubs and the big boys from Europe and South America.

Yet another factor to consider, Davis says, is keeping nationally televised games away from San Jose's temporary home at tiny Buck Shaw stadium in Santa Clara. "Where would they even put the cameras?" he asks. Add all these considerations together and you get no MLS breaks for World Cup qualifying. "It is very challenging for us to avoid those fixture dates," MLS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis says. A league spokesperson added that it would be "mission accomplished" if MLS could leave everyone 75-80 percent happy, when the league releases the schedule in early February.

Read the whole story at ESPN Soccernet »

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