- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 10, 2008
- 2 Comments
A very interesting development out of DC today after United’s loss in the CONCACAF Champions Cup last night.
According to a story in the Washington Post, United manager Tom Soehn had some strong words for MLS Commissioner Don Garber in regards to comments made regarding United’s play on the first leg in the CONCACAF Champions Cup against Pachuca in Mexico.
Soehn also took issue with Garber, who told Soccer America magazine: “For this league to win over the core audience, we’ve got to be able to be among the best clubs in North America. D.C. United talks about their goal is to win a spot in the World Club Championship. They want to be the best team in the region. They really struggled the other night at Pachuca.”
Said Soehn: “I want to thank our commissioner for motivating us for some slighted comments he had against us in the papers. I appreciate his TV analysis.”
Its was all mainly just bulletin board material here for DC that may have helped them win last night (though they still lost the series to Pachuca). Does he have a reason to be angry at Garber? Sure, but I think the league getting its annual reality check in the tournament is something that we are use to here because of the way the league is set up. Garber could be to blame for that.
Look, the MLS schedule is not perfect but I think things will get better when this tournament shifts to its new format later this year. But the fact of the matter is its still going to be tough for the league’s teams to compete with top level clubs like Pachuca from Mexico when each club only has about $2 to $3 million to spend each year. Honestly until the depth of each club expands due to youth academies and more player signings from a higher salary cap, the league will continue to struggle in these international tournaments.
Should we even mention the Pan-Pacific loss for Houston? Preseason game or not, it showed most people that the league has trouble in terms of depth against other clubs from around the world, not just in the CONCACAF region.
Soehn has a right to be upset but there really isn’t much he can do at this point until a salary cap is doubled or more and the schedule is improved for MLS clubs that play in these competitions. Its like beating a dead horse here but its just matters that have to be raised from time to time. It doesn’t hurt though that a coach is calling the league out on it; it should then only help make matters better for all parties involved.
But also in defense of Garber, DC didn’t play their best in Mexico, and then again no US team plays well in Mexico. But I agree with him on the fact that if you want to be the best in your region, you have to beat the best (yes I totally ripped a Ric Flair line for you wrestling nuts out there). It will take time for that but some improvements need to come before it can be done.