- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On October 2, 2008
- 2 Comments
- 2009 MLS SuperDraft, Coaching Hot Seat, CONCACAF Champions League, Curt Onalfo, Don Garber, Hot and Not, Jason Kreis, John Carver, Juan Carlos Osorio, MLS Schedule, SuperLiga, Tom Soehn, West
Okay, while I was gone a lot changed in the landscape of Major League Soccer. And by a lot, as you all probably know by now means a lot. One club punched their ticket into the post season while everyone else made it a little more interesting to see just who will get in the playoffs.
East v. West
One thing that is funny is how we talked all year how great the East is and how poor the West has been. Funny story though, right now four eastern clubs are in the playoff picture and so are four western clubs. That’s exactly what MLS went for when they changed their playoff format in the manner that they did. It created more push for the playoffs and right now its all about who’s got the hot hand and out west you are seeing some hotter hands.
Not to say the East is losing their steam this season but it means the West is finally waking up and realizing that in order to play for a MLS Cup you have to reach the playoffs to do so. A 30-game season is long, and as some say its a marathon and not a sprint. The clubs that have paced themselves the best are doing the best while the others who ran out in front too soon lost momentum and now are looking at a top three draft pick in January.
MLS Calendar Still Sucks
MLS Commissioner Don Garber told Luis Arroyave last week that there is still little that can be done to help out the clubs in terms of scheduling.
“There are 13 weekends affected by international play and we have a 30 week season,” said Garber. “To not play on those dates is impossible.
“In those markets — and Toronto is one of them — where they can play a disproportionate number of games during the week, then we’ll schedule more games during the week up there. But most markets are unable to handle that.”
“Starting at the end of February would be a little difficult to do here [in Chicago],” Garber said. “Even the first or second week in December would be almost impossible to do in most markets.
“We could look at extending it a week or two, but we can’t fit those 13 weeks into our schedule while we’re playing in this part of the world and have a fan base that disproportionately comes to games on weekends versus during the week. In almost all markets, the difference in attendance is over 50 percent for games played on a Wednesday or Thursday night than a Saturday night.”
Read more of Arroyave’s interview with the Don here, its pretty typical stuff really but worth a read when you get the chance if you haven’t already.
Probably the biggest nugget we got from that interview is SuperLiga and CONCACAF Champions League discussion. It sorta sounds like the league is listening to people when it comes to which clubs they send to which tournaments. Again I am all for the league sending its top three (plus USOC champion) to CCL and the next four to SuperLiga. Its a win-win for all in my book.
Speaking of CCL
The MLS clubs are still struggling. Surprise right? Also those USL teams are still rolling. Crazy right? I’d honestly love to see a USL club do well in that tournament and so far we are seeing two USL clubs do extremely well. I guess low expectations do breed good results sometimes.
Coaching Hot Seat Update
Keeping Carver at the top again. But adding KC’s Curt Onalfo to the bottom between DC’s Tom Soehn and New York’s Juan Carlos Osorio. I think it is safe to say all four should feel heat. For some reason should RSL really bottom out I would consider Jason Kreis, even if their management really does have a boy crush on him.
Hot and Not
Dallas: Probably one of the hottest clubs at the moment thanks to Jeff Cunningham. Looks like that deal is working out after all for the Hoops. Three game unbeaten mark right now has them within reach of a playoff spot. Not just an automatic spot but a wildcard spot as well.
New England: The Revs chances of a MLS Cup look slimmer and slimmer to me after seeing them drop a vital home game to Columbus. The Revs will still be in the top three in the east but don’t be shocked if they just run out of gas by the start of the first round.
Colorado: Maybe this club really just needed to get rid of Fernando Clavijo sooner. They’ve been on a solid run as of last and their big win against New York (5-4…gotta love those scorelines in New Jersey) has their fans believing once again. I’m starting to think that final game of the year against RSL will determine which of those two head into the playoffs.
Toronto: Look at who Mo Johnston has gotten rid of in the past couple seasons: Edson Buddle, Jeff Cunningham and Alecko Eskardarian. Yup, at least the first two have produced plenty of goals. Oh yeah, he also had to part with Ronnie O’Brien and others who just didn’t want to be there. Tough times. At least they have around a million (yes a million) in allocation money and few early draft picks.