- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On September 3, 2013
- 0 Comments
- Features, MLS Schedule
The headline is an interesting subject, one that was proposed by Steve Davis over at ProSoccer Talk. As Davis put it, Major League Soccer may be developing an interesting way to get around dealing with so many international dates in their schedule by actually reducing the number of games played in the regular season for each club.
The answer, perhaps, is a 28-game schedule. That would be a reduction of six league matches annually.
I am told that the notion began circulating in earnest around the board of directors’ table at meetings around Major League Soccer’s All-Star game five weeks ago in Kansas City. The tricky concept of addition by subtraction could create a couple of problems – but it solves a bunch, too.
It creates relief around these international breaks, which aren’t really breaks for the MLS forced to power through most of them, never mind the absence of high-dollar stars who are off for World Cup qualifier duty.
Now I always thought that once the league got to 20 clubs and beyond that there would be an option for such a move. Teams would play a home and away with their conference foes and then one game with teams from the other conference. Not 100% balanced but a little more calmer than what they are at now with three games against conference foes and one against the other conference.
Naturally removing six games from the schedule, or three home games if you will, does create some issues. Mostly in the money game. But with TV contracts coming up, it could be a situation that the league could go with if the TV money is improved. Both on a national and local level.
This is certainly an interesting proposition to reduce the number of regular season games just to help out with the international dates that FIFA has each year. Six games seems big but I do like the idea of reducing the number of games – I’d be perfectly fine just reducing it by as little as two games right now. The schedule is very crowded the way it is and will only continue to be that way with more clubs. I’ll say this though, I’ve never been envious of the league’s schedule makers. Those guys have it rough.