TFoA

Domestic Soccer 2012

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Couple of news items to start off the year.

#1: 2012 MLS Schedule has been released. The very first kick in the US will occur in Colorado (v. Columbus), while Canada will kick things off in Vancouver (welcoming the Impact to the league).

#2: Speaking of Montreal: Brian Ching backs off of threat to retire if drafted by the Impact, will report to training camp.

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2012 will be the longest MLS Season in history! However, this point stood out the most when reading the the first linked article provided by TFoA:

MLS Cup 2012 will be held on December 1, hosted by one of the two finalists.

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Yup, no more neutral site. Hopefully there's a two-week break between the conference finals and MLS Cup, to give away fans the chance to arrange travel.

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Yup, no more neutral site. Hopefully there's a two-week break between the conference finals and MLS Cup, to give away fans the chance to arrange travel.

I think this is a good idea, I know if (I said IF) TFC ever makes the final I'd prefer for them to play at BMO.

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2012 will be the longest MLS Season in history! However, this point stood out the most when reading the the first linked article provided by TFoA:

MLS Cup 2012 will be held on December 1, hosted by one of the two finalists.

My 18th birthday!

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After seeing the schedule, the date I am waiting for is May 12th... That's when Houston opens up BBVA Compass Stadium to the world. I like seeing new stadiums and the fact that this game will be televised helps that.

I also like seeing the newly christened NBC Sports Network being involved as well. It's nice to see another American network covering the MLS.

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So Omar Gonzalez is gone with a torn ACL suffered in practice while on loan. Sucks for LA, good for TFC.

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So the US Women's National Team just opened Olympic qualifying with a 14-0 win over the Dominican Republic.

You know, I understand how in soccer you have to keep scoring because goal differential can be a tiebreak but there comes a point where really, it's just piling on. Maybe there needs to be a rule put in that any goals over, say, a six-goal margin don't count for goal difference?

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This past year, MLS Cup got clobbered in the ratings by Sunday Night Football and the World Series of Poker, of all things. So this year, they're scheduling the final against... the Big Ten and SEC Championship games. The stadium will be full, no doubt (unless New England is hosting), but will anyone outside of it be watching? Obviously, soccer outside of the World Cup is never going to do blockbuster ratings, but the problem isn't that MLS gets low ratings, it's that it gets low ratings by soccer standards. There might be more people watching the Bolton/Liverpool match right now on FSC then there will be watching that final on December 1st. Hell, a live broadcast of MLS Cup would probably get trounced by a tape-delayed EPL match if you put them head-to-head.

I've heard talk of MLS' "scheduling problem". But I just don't see how one fixes that problem. Switching to the fall-spring schedule doesn't really open you up to any more casual eyeballs, and puts you up against all of the European competitions and the entire NFL season. Scheduling a "winter break" doesn't seem feasible, as it would take 3 months to avoid the harshest weather of the northern markets. While a scheduling shift might mitigate things, there's aren't enough southern and Pacific coast teams to just have everyone play there for a couple of months. So, what do you do? How do you grow the league, outside of adding more franchises, which isn't necessarily the type of growth MLS needs?

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I'm still disappointed Montreal didn't take Darren Mattocks at #1. He's a goal scoring machine, like Stevie Z in Seattle.

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This past year, MLS Cup got clobbered in the ratings by Sunday Night Football and the World Series of Poker, of all things. So this year, they're scheduling the final against... the Big Ten and SEC Championship games. The stadium will be full, no doubt (unless New England is hosting), but will anyone outside of it be watching? Obviously, soccer outside of the World Cup is never going to do blockbuster ratings, but the problem isn't that MLS gets low ratings, it's that it gets low ratings by soccer standards. There might be more people watching the Bolton/Liverpool match right now on FSC then there will be watching that final on December 1st. Hell, a live broadcast of MLS Cup would probably get trounced by a tape-delayed EPL match if you put them head-to-head.

I've heard talk of MLS' "scheduling problem". But I just don't see how one fixes that problem. Switching to the fall-spring schedule doesn't really open you up to any more casual eyeballs, and puts you up against all of the European competitions and the entire NFL season. Scheduling a "winter break" doesn't seem feasible, as it would take 3 months to avoid the harshest weather of the northern markets. While a scheduling shift might mitigate things, there's aren't enough southern and Pacific coast teams to just have everyone play there for a couple of months. So, what do you do? How do you grow the league, outside of adding more franchises, which isn't necessarily the type of growth MLS needs?

In a fantasy world, MLS would consist of the following:

  • A maximum of 20 Clubs until it is feasible to expand beyond 20.
  • A season which begins in late March and lasts until Early to Mid November
  • A balanced 38 match schedule for each club (even if this means a maximum of two matches in a week)
  • Maintain the two "Conference" system. As an American and Canadian sports league, we're accustomed to having the separation of Conferences/Divisions.
  • Standardize the silly playoff structure where the top eight Clubs advance to Playoffs regardless of Conference finish.
  • A week off to celebrate the MLS Exhibition All-Star Match versus a World top tier club.
  • The MLS Cup Final will be hosted by the highest remaining seed in early/mid November.

I could go on with "fixing" the League, however, thought it would be best to start here.

Edited by Mindless

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A balanced schedule in a 20-team league would mean 38 matches. Can't play yourself. And with things like the U.S. Open Cup and whatever televised tourney Telefutura puts together, that would be a very, very tight schedule.

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A balanced schedule in a 20-team league would mean 38 matches. Can't play yourself. And with things like the U.S. Open Cup and whatever televised tourney Telefutura puts together, that would be a very, very tight schedule.

Ha! Sorry about the basic math error. It's been fixed.

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That was a great finish. Big win for these lads to get; every single win helps the youngsters/MLS guys get more acclimated to the international game.

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It was a pretty boring game all around, but they really poured it on at the end (tale of the USMNT) and eked out the win.

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[*]A balanced 38 match schedule for each club (even if this means a maximum of two matches in a week)

[*]Maintain the two "Conference" system. As an American and Canadian sports league, we're accustomed to having the separation of Conferences/Divisions.

[*]Standardize the silly playoff structure where the top eight Clubs advance to Playoffs regardless of Conference finish.

Implementing a balanced schedule and a top-eight playoff makes conferences completely pointless.

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Once again, New England has been snubbed in terms of hosting the MLS All-Star Game.

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So the US Women's National Team just opened Olympic qualifying with a 14-0 win over the Dominican Republic.

You know, I understand how in soccer you have to keep scoring because goal differential can be a tiebreak but there comes a point where really, it's just piling on. Maybe there needs to be a rule put in that any goals over, say, a six-goal margin don't count for goal difference?

Child's play. Back in 2001, the Australian team beat American Somoa 31-0 in a World Cup qualifier. Best thing is the second highest scoring game in international competition was the same Australian team beating Tonga two days before 22-0. Those two games eventually changed the qualifying process for Oceania, and led to Aus joining the AFC.

If you want go the club route, a team in Madagascar deliberately scored 149 own goals to protest the behavior of the referees.

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Once again, New England has been snubbed in terms of hosting the MLS All-Star Game.

Ok, that was funny.

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Thankfully, the Whitecaps bought out Mustapha Jarju. I don't know a whole lot of MLS history, but could he be the worst DP signing ever?

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Once again, New England has been snubbed in terms of hosting the MLS All-Star Game.

Ok, that was funny.

Could also make the argument for Sporting Kansas City or FC Dallas - neither have hosted either.

Actually, Sporting might have the better argument as they've never hosted MLS Cup either.

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Less than 24 hours after the USWNT completed its Olympic qualifying run, Women's Professional Soccer's 2012 season has been magicJacked.

In October, [WPS] terminated its South Florida franchise after clashing with owner Dan Borislow all season. A Florida judge ruled earlier this month that the league failed to follow its own dispute procedures when it terminated the franchise, and another court hearing is set for Wednesday.

WPS CEO Jennifer O'Sullivan said owners chose to cancel the season over possibly working with Borislow in the league again.

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And there goes another top level women's soccer league.

Whoever comes next (be they a new league, the WPSL or W-League stepping, or if WPS actually does return), they need to latch on MLS like a leech. Maybe even have MLS as a controlling entity (ala the NBA and WNBA). Put teams in dedicated MLS markets (Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, LA, DC, Chicago, Toronto, New York for example), showcase games on NBCSN, have some people to really care about it, and perhaps a bit of luck (the US World Cup in '99 brought the WUSA, what would have last years Cup brought?).

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As much as I hate to admit it, that might be the way to go.

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