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MLS Stretches Top Teams Thin

  • Goal.com, Thursday, January 10, 2008 4 PM
As Major League Soccer adds more competitions, its best and most valuable clubs are being stretched thin, says Goal.com's Pat Walsh. For example, MLS champ Houston could play more than 50 games next season, surpassing Bayern Munich's 2006-07 tally of 47, while equaling that of Real Madrid. Like most European clubs, Bayern and Real have much bigger squads than MLS teams like Houston, making them better-equipped to compete in multiple competitions.

But for a thinner squad like Houston, where the difference in skill between first and second team players is more pronounced, 50 games is far too much. In addition to the MLS regular season, the Dynamo will play in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, the SuperLiga, the U.S. Open Cup and the new CONCACAF Champions League. At minimum, this totals 38 games (or maybe more, depending on the Champions League format), but if the Dynamo does well, it could easily expand beyond 50.   

"Overall, MLS is not going about this in an intelligent fashion," says Walsh, because the league is not dividing the responsibility of representing the league. The likes of Houston and the L.A. Galaxy will have to wave the MLS flag because teams like Toronto and Kansas City simply don't have the brand recognition.

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