Daily news roundups

Edu likely to miss season opener, Union face NYRB today, USWNT to play at Talen in April, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

The Union face New York Red Bulls in their penultimate preseason game tonight at 7 pm (PhiladelphiaUnion.com, YouTube).

What to expect from NYRB? Head coach Jesse Marsch said, “We’ll be competitive and treat it with gravity that I think it needs at this moment. We know that Philly being a rival and being a team that ended our Open Cup hopes last year, different things, there’s emotion to it. I expect the game to be spirited and good on both sides. We know it’ll be a good test.” More from NYRB on tonight’s game (video).

What to expect from the Union? Ray Gaddis could see minutes after missing the last two games due to knee tendinitis.

More importantly, tonight will be another game that does not feature Maurice Edu. Speaking to reporters via teleconference on Tuesday, Jim Curtin confirmed Edu has yet to practice with the team as he continues to rehab from sports hernia surgery and is unlikely to be available for opening day.

The goal is always the next important game. But as the head coach of this organization, we have to at least prepare for the possibility that he will not be playing in the first game. … We still are hopeful, but at the same time, we have to move forward. I’m hoping to get him on the field and training with the group to get him going in the next day or two, but be smart about how we handle it.

Curtin retained some optimism about Edu being able to play sooner than later, saying, “If anybody can do this, it’s Mo, who is a freakish athlete who has played through pain. But at the same time, we have to plan in case he isn’t able to go.” However, Curtin said Edu would play only when he is 100 percent fit.

In Edu’s stead we are likely to see Vincent Nogueira in the No. 6 role to start the season. Curtin said the club would not pursue former Union man Amobi Okugo, who was waived by Kansas City on Tuesday.

What about Ilsinho, who continues to be on trial with the team? Admitting the team is stacked with midfielders, Curtin said, “He’s a guy that the coaching staff is very high on right now. We’ll see what the coming days bring.” They’ll have to bring an international spot.

More from the teleconference at PSP, Inquirer, Delco Times, and Philly Soccer News.

Incidentally, on Tuesday, PRO released the referee assignments for the opening weekend of games. Carrying the whistle when the Union face Dallas on the road on Sunday, March 6 at 3 pm will be every Union fan’s favorite referee, the one and only Mark Geiger. He’ll be backed up by linesmen Craig Lowry and Eric Boria, with Fotis Bazakos as the fourth official.

The Union announced two new signings on Tuesday, that of SuperDraft pick Cole Missimo, and also of now former Bethlehem Steel center back Ken Tribbett, who was a USL Rookie of the Year finalist with Harrisburg City Islanders last season, a four-year starter at Drexel, and also played for Ocean City Nor’easters. With the Missimo and Tribbett signings, the Union roster now looks like this:

GK (3): Andre Blake (GA), John McCarthy, Matt Jones
DEF (8): Anderson Conceicao (INT’L), Fabinho, Raymon Gaddis, Richie Marquez, Keegan Rosenberry, Ken Tribbett, Taylor Washington, Joshua Yaro (GA/INT’L)
MID (12): Roland Alberg (INT’L), Eric Ayuk (INT’L), Tranquillo Barnetta (INT’L), Brian Carroll, Warren Creavalle, Maurice Edu (DP), Leo Fernandes, Sebastien Le Toux, Cole Missimo, Vincent Nogueira (INT’L), Chris Pontius, Walter Restrepo
FWD (2): Fabian Herbers (GA/INT’L), C.J. Sapong

INT’L ROSTER SPOTS FILLED (INT’L): 7 (Blake, Fabinho, Jones, and Le Toux have green cards)

More on Tribbett’s signing at PSP, Philadelphia UnionDrexelCSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, and Vavel.

More on Missimo’s signing at PSP, Philadelphia UnionCSN Philly, and Brotherly Game.

FourFourTwo has a graphics heavy preview of the Union’s 2016 season (Fabinho was 2015’s MVP?). More season previews at Vavel, Goal.com,

At the Union website, a review of the team’s defenders. At Brotherly Game, a review of the team’s wingers.

Also at the Union website, a profile of Philadelphia Union Foundation chairman Mike Curry.

USWNT at Talen Energy Stadium

US Soccer announced on Tuesday the USWNT will face Colombia at Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday, April 10, at 2 pm. (Is it ok with everyone if I start referring to Talen Energy Stadium as TES? Or maybe TE Stadium? The new name is such an unwieldy mouthful.) The game is the second of a two-game series against Colombia, the first game taking place in East Hartford on April 6. Tickets go on sale to the public for the TES game on Monday, Feb. 29, at 10 am through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-298-4200, and at the Talen Energy Stadium ticket office.

As you know, the USMNT will face Paraguay on June 11 at the Linc in their final Copa Centenario group game.


Jose Maria Barril will be back in the Harrisburg City Islanders midfield for 2016.


Player moves:

  • Kansas City waived former Union man Amobi Okugo on Tuesday.
  • Seattle signed free agent midfielder Nathan Sturgis, who previously played with the club in 2009 and 2010.

Jermaine Jones. Whatever.

In CONCACAF Champions League play, Seattle squandered Clint Dempsey’s two-goal effort by giving up a 70th minute equalizer to draw 2-2 with Club America at CenturyLink Field. Playing in DC gave up goals in the 71st and 83rd minute to lose 2-0 to Queretaro.

In Champions League play tonight, Salt Lake is away to face Tigres (8 pm, FS2), while the Galaxy host Santos Laguna (10 pm, FS2).

Noting Mexican teams are some eight games into their season, while MLS teams have yet to open their season, Don Garber hopes CONCACAF will change the scheduling of the Champions League knockout rounds to provide more competitive equity. “[H]opefully with new leadership [at CONCACAF] and perhaps a better understanding of what would need to happen to make that competition more valuable for them and the rest of the countries in the region, everybody might be able to look at a different format. I think we are at a distinct disadvantage and I think it hurts the tournament.” Yep.

On Monday, the league announced TAG Heuer as its official timekeeper. That means new substitution boards! TAG Heuer is also the new official timekeeper for US Soccer.

The design of the Minnesota United stadium in St. Paul is scheduled to be unveiled today.



Hopefully the crest that was leaked last October was just an attempt to gauge reaction.

At ESPN, ten MLS storylines USMNT fans should be following in 2016.

It’s official: US Soccer will launch the Girls Development Academy Program in the fall of 2017. The program will begin three age groups, U-14/15, U-16/17 and U-18/19: “Clubs will be expected to train a minimum of four times a week. The players in the Girls’ Development Academy clubs will play exclusively within the Academy program and will not play in any outside competition, such as ODP or high school…The season will be structured over a 10-month period, likely from September through July, and as in the Boys’ Development Academy, the clubs will be organized by divisions and conferences with national and/or regional events incorporated into the overall program.”

Fox Soccer on why the girls development academy is long overdue.

FourFourTwo on the legacy of the US hosting the 1994 World Cup.


The New York Times has a guide to this week’s Extraordinary FIFA Congress. The headline at The Hill reads, “US foreign policy and business communities should pay attention to FIFA election.”

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle on how the FIFA presidential election is an opportunity for CONCACAF to change its ways.

From Reuters: “FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino voiced confidence on Tuesday he would get more than the 105 votes he needs to win Friday’s election for the new head of soccer’s world governing body.”

SI talks to Infantino.

Sheikh Salman is concerned there will be more corruption arrests when representatives of FIFA’s 209 member nations gather in Zurich for the extraordinary congress: “We don’t want to see a PR stunt…To choose an election day [to arrest visiting officials], I don’t think that’s fair. It’s going to send the wrong signals to all the members and people won’t be happy that FIFA is going to be targeted in that way.”

Meanwhile, Salman has denied allegations made by a British parliamentarian that he used FIFA development project funds to finance his unsuccessful bid to be elected to the FIFA executive committee in 2009, and his run for the AFC presidency in 2013. More on the story at The Guardian.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected to rule on Thursday on Prince Ali’s call for transparent voting booths to be used in Friday’s elections.

ESPN on how African nations are likely to vote freely in Friday’s election despite CAF endorsing Sheikh Salman.

Also at ESPN, a review of the “mood” in each of the six FIFA regional confederations.

Also from Reuters: “An audit by a committee appointed by FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, has concluded that broadcasting contracts between Guatemala’s soccer federation and Mexican media magnate Angel Gonzalez were awarded below market value, say sources with knowledge of the report.”

Looks like the German-language edition of the authorized Sepp Blatter biography will be delayed until April “because he wants to squeeze in the final chapter on his ban from soccer.” The English-language version is expected in May or June.

Speaking of Blatter, he continues to blame the US losing out on hosting the 2022 World Cup for his woes: “If we voted as planned for the United States, the Americans would have had no reason to attack FIFA because they would have had their World Cup. And I would have finished the last four years of my mandate peacefully.”

Cristiano Ronaldo is the first athlete to reach 200 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


    • wake me when its over…I’m voting Green.

    • Is there any reason at all to believe that these candidates will be better than Blatter? Will the rest of the world all of a sudden decide it’s time to give up on payoffs?

      • This is what I keep coming back to in my mind.
        That said, I do think Sepp is on the right track, actually. If the U.S. had won the bid, there would have been less incentive for various reporters and such to go poking around into the bid process that to Qatar buying… er… winning the bid. FIFA had their backroom deals for ’18 and ’22, then went beyond greedy and allowed Russia and Qatar (two bastions of human rights) to buy the vote.

  1. Two Champions League games in a row… Montreal and now Seattle where I watched Club America very closely and thought, “oh hey our sides look pretty good against this Mexican perennial ‘best’ team (and Seattle did look good all things considered)…” only to observe how patient and calm, prodding and opportunistic the latin club was in slowly sucking the breath out of the other team..the absolute stellar individual quality of play…. the limp quiver of a carcass holding on to its last hope for survival inside the organ crush
    Club America… predator… and we are still yet just being eaten.
    Sure Don…let’s change the format to befit us a bit better… International schedule Don … Clausura Apertura Don … but hey whatever we’re MLS. We matter.
    — – – > Xmarks the spot…. totally laughable.

    • I watched both matches. D.C. and Seattle seemed mostly spent by the end of the first half. D.C. seems woeful in their attack. They looked out-gunned with few attacking options. Though that little Acosta looks like a damn good player. Seattle on the other hand looked potent with Dempsey play out of the middle. A bit less so when he was kept outside in the 4-3-3. Club America’s defenders seemed to be out-matched. Had Seattle been fully fit, I believe they would have won.
      I agree with you el p on lining up the MLS schedule better with the rest of the world. I’m afraid all we’ll get is what Garber wants. But something needs to be done.

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        I’m all for shoveling snow in January and February just so we can align with the Rest of the world. We can take the summer off and go head to head with the NFL to start the season. Sounds like a marvellous plan.

    • What are your reasons for going to an international schedule? I mean, real, concrete logical reasons. Not “but that’s what Europe does!” or “so we can align with the CCL Schedule!” Not against it, just trying to open some discussion so I can make an informed decision.

      • This is an excellent question, and one that isn’t asked often enough.
        While the top European leagues are clearly the best of the best, it’s not apparent to me that MLS needs to copy everything that is done across the Atlantic in order to become a successful operation.
        Too often, ideas like international schedules and promotion/relegation are trumpeted on this and other boards as essential to the long-term success of MLS, but rarely is there any in-depth discussion of how/why such changes would actually improve the product on the field or attract more paying customers.
        As JP O’Donnell points out above, there are some significant reasons why an August-to-May schedule might not be the best option for a professional soccer league here in the States.

      • So we actually model nothing. No international schedule. Salary Cap. Can’t have United in the name 2x. Have to have stadium capacity for 25K to even consider being invited in to the club, Can’t earn pro if your worthy can’t be relegated if your unworthy.
        Sure our model copies “everything that is done across the atlantic”
        I’ve built monologues on why the international schedule matters or why pro/rel is ultimately important..so don’t include me in that grouping.

      • El P, this is a good example of what I was writing about.
        You may have some very convincing reasons why you believe the international schedule, pro/rel, and other Euro-traditions are vital to the future well being of MLS. You may even have posted them previously on PSP. But neither you nor anyone else have offered such arguments here today.
        Above, you threw out a few sarcastic comments about how MLS operates. Below, you challenged others to deny what you see as the obvious superiority of pro/rel. In neither place did you actually make a detailed case supporting your positions.
        Not trying to pick a fight here, El P. You’re certainly a very valuable contributor to the discussions on PSP. (And my initial post wasn’t aimed at you, or anyone else, in particular.) I just think questions like Brian’s deserve a thoughtful response, and I don’t see that happening often enough.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I understand and my goal is to get others to make arguments … for or against to continue putting it out there. Once agai. I’ve made the arguments many many times.
        My comment to Brian while a bit sarcastic was highlighting his statement about copying everything from European model when we in fact copy almost nothing.

      • As an aside MSG, I’ve made the arguments as mentioned many times here, actually, I’ve been told to, “Shut up!” about promotion and relegation so this is just a different tact…
        … anything to push the conversation forward… many would rather not even talk about it or worse think about it — which is an apathy worse than the current model’s infliction.
        “This is a Union” blog… well I’m not just a Union Fanboy…and this is a blog that reports news about the MLS… so fair game.
        To your point though… maybe I will go back through the archive and find them that way when I am called to task I can just reference the date and let someone dig if they so desire. Good thoughts, thank you.

      • MSG, while you are right el P didn’t follow up on his comments today, he pretty much does almost every other time. Like 2 times a week. Seriously. In the past month pro/rel has been a topic of conversation at least 4 times, if not more. You just picked the one day he took off.

      • I wasn’t necessarily saying we should go to an August/May schedule. But a schedule that shifts closer to international breaks would be better. I’d be up for a split season like Liga MX.
        One benefit that I think would behoove the league is the international transfer windows. As it stands now, MLS either gets players that are nearing the end of their season or come in the middle of ours. Most that come in the middle, rarely have an impact till the following season. It’s a waste of half a season.
        Also take a look at how the Copa America and Olympics are going to effect the MLS schedule. Then add the players that will be gone on international duties (i.e. Blake). It’s a disruption. MLS teams have to bend over backwards to make it work. Do you really think this is providing a superior product?
        If you want to point to MLS get their butts kicked going up against the NFL for ratings, doesn’t that happen already? If they did move to August/May, you only fight the NFL for half a season anyway. Who knows, you may even gain viewership from people who are sick of watching their NFL team being horrible (Eagles). Add into it, people tend to be housebound more than they would in spring/summer.
        For me the excuses not to change, become less and less valid every year.

      • Excellent argument. I think the international schedule also greatly helps our USNT as there tends to be little continuity between MLS and european leagues for international breaks.

      • You raise some good points about the international breaks and transfer windows. Still, the winter weather issues and prospects of going head-to-head with the NFL for the length of its season remain serious concerns with the August-to-May approach. Perhaps some sort of tweaking, rather than an overhaul, of the MLS schedule is the best solution. Thanks.

      • To your last point, Exactly. Like I said first, something needs to be done. Some “tweaking”. Maybe a July/ early to mid December first half. Then you take a “winter break”, till mid-late January. Snow being the major concern, you have Northern teams play in the west/south for a month or so till the weather starts to warm. The mid-season break allows injured players to recover. You open up to the winter transfer window, where it might have an impact on the season. It allows for only going against NFL partial season while avoiding it’s playoffs. Then the “crunch time” of the season comes when the distraction of the NFL is over. If there’s a concern about a lopsided schedule playing the west/south portion, it happens in the NHL. Every year the Flyers go on an extended road trip out west after Christmas. Is this perfect? No. But it’s better than what we have.

  2. When I look at the way this team and the depth is shaping up along with Steel FC, Reading United, and the Academy I’m excited. Yes me, I am excited. When they sign Ilsinho this team will have the talent and depth we’ve been waiting so long for. It may take time for them to jell but it shouldn’t take a long time. They will be road tested and I wouldn’t be suprised if they catch some teams looking past them and they come away with some valuable points. To me it now comes down to Jim Curtin and staff and their professional coaching and decision making. GO UNION!

    • Keep expectations in check. The excitement is all well and good, but there will be big bumps this year.
      Next year. That is when you can unleash the expectations. But for now, enjoy the fact that this organization has FINALLY found its way on the path. Good decisions are being made, and many will pay off with future dividends.

      • Agreed – be patient like Carl Spackler:”I’m gonna be head greenskeeper in 6 years, that’s my schedule anyway.”

    • That’s funny that you’re being the optimist, while I’m still pessimistic. I see a club that has stockpiled a ton of attacking midfielders but is very thin at forward and is relying almost entirely on unproven guys in the back. I suspect they will be much more fun to watch this year, and will score a lot more, but will also give up a ton of goals. The hope to make the playoffs this year would be a) a major midseason signing at forward; or b) Andre Blake having a Bill Hamid-like year. Either of these is possible. But absent those, I think we enjoy the retooling of the team’s philosophy and look forward to 2017.

  3. Lucky Striker says:

    Dear Sepp:

    Don’t mess with the Octopus. The S.P.E.C.T.R.E. of retribution is never far behind.

  4. Why not take a look at Okugo? If they could sign him for cheap he’d be a good backup option to Edu

    • I doubt Amobi wants to come back here at all, much less as a backup to the guy that replaced him, and at a cut rate.
      That’s a lot for one ego to swallow. I’m not saying he has a big ego…I’m just talking about the typical athlete would have trouble with that.
      Plus, we already have 58 midfielders on our roster…

    • Bad blood, sir.

  5. Hey, Nogueira got his green card!

    • The shoe to drop to allow them to sign Ilsinho?

      • Good guess. It frees up that all-important international slot. The other piece, I suspect, is tonight’s match.

      • I think I’m back to sitting on the fence with Ilsinho. I do like the way he’s looked so far. But the best he’s looked has been against lower competition. He also looks chunky and needs a bit of fitness. If his signing precludes a possible striker signing in the summer, I’m not sure I’m for it. Hopefully tonight will give better indication one way or another.

      • With no Casey this year, don’t we need a fat guy to round out the squad and be someone that the fans can identify with?

      • “Round” is right. If he gets signed, can we call him Butterbean?

    • I think it comes down to money. That signing of Pontius is looking pretty iffy using the benefit of hindsight.

  6. I’m cautiously optimistic about this year. I hope we can sign Ilsinho at a reasonable price, if only because he strikes me as more of a bench guy who can provide creativity in the second half. I could be way off but he just looks a little out of shape, could change down the road.
    I still think another forward is needed. I like CJ and Herbers seems like he will come along, but its insane to count on just those two for a whole season, even with Le Toux’s ability to play forward.
    I haven’t heard much talk of how the midfield will shape up with all the solid pieces we now have. It seems to me like Curtin loves Le Toux and Pontius and Nogueira and Edu are most certainly in. Barnetta has gotten the armband during the preseason so far I think. This would leave Alberg as the odd man out as far as starting. Seems to me like a little bit of a waste of talent/resources. I’m curious as to what others think who know a little bit more about the players.
    I gotta say though, we will have as choices off the bench for any given game: Alberg, Fernandes, Restrepo (disappointing so far), Herbers, Carroll. I think this is a much better bench than last year. Still need a scoring option though.

    • I have to imagine Le Toux comes off the bench and Alberg starts in his place. If not right away, shortly into the season. I love Le Toux for all he’s done and given this club, but Alberg is clearly a better option at this point.

      • or nogueira and pontius miss time like they have past, plus edu is hurt now. having 6 guys who should be starting for 5 spots is a great problem to have.
        amazing how our roster isn’t fully shaped yet (and probably won’t be all year), yet it is clearly so much better than we have ever seen before.

    • Blake
      DEF (pick your starters..this is about the mids now)
      Fabinho and Pontius have wored very well together and are making the left side of the field pretty dangerous. But Barnetta can move out there, and have Ilsinho come into the middle. LeToux will be bench energy to take advantage of tired second-half legs.
      Fernandes can spell the wings.
      Herbers can come in with a 4-4-2 alongside CJ, or spell CJ as a lone striker.
      Don’t count on a new DP Striker until maybe the summer window. And even then, don’t expect much as simmer signings don’t tend to pan out until the following season, after a full off-season with the team. (Obvious exceptions, like Drogba. We’re not signing a Drogba.)

      • Nice to finally have legitimate options at several positions. I don’t even really need a DP striker, just a legitimate backup threat to score and hold up the ball.

  7. When you want to have some fun and want to watch European Champions League, go to New Deck Tavern at Penn. Was there yesterday to watch the 2 games and watched them with a lot of international students. Some Americans and English were Arsenal supporters, then there were quite a few Germans supporting Bayern, Spanish supporting Barcelona and Italians supporting Juventus. Gives me a lot more fun than watching a poor Union team play in Chester.

    • I feel sorry for Arsenal supporters. If Wenger was the manager of the team I supported, I’d be driven nuts. Ramsey played like crap and he takes off Coquelin. What? Brings in Flamini and in under a minute gives up a penalty. Where was Ozil? Completely unimpressed by him. The best player for me was Sanchez. He played like a man possessed. Unfortunately he only got support from OX and he went out injured after the half. Oh well, guess the gunners will have a new midfielder to look forward too in the summer, while their striking options remain limited…J.C. are you paying attention?

      • Time for Wenger to go (said that several years ago).

      • Completely agree. The EPL was theirs for the taking this year (not that it was apparent at the start), and they are having trouble wresting it away from Leicester City. It’s like the fans have been placed in purgatory.

      • Yeah but we all thought you were talking about “Andrew” Wenger….

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Mesut Ozil was neutralized with a sodium bicarbonate buffer.

      • He’s like a puff pastry. Looks good on the outside, not much in the middle. Barely satiates one’s appetite.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Actually I’d argue the opposite… I think Mesut Ozil has way more class than almost the whole team~ save Sanchez and Cazorla… as evidenced by his disdain for teammates fucking up routine plays yesterday. Really Arsenal choked on a small bone numerous times throughout that game. Ter Stegen did make one fine save on Giroud… most the other injury was self inflicted.
        Regarding his nonchalance I urge you to read Mesut Ozil and The Subjunctive Tense also of Thesefootytimes.

      • I love Ozil in a World Cup winning German team. And maybe that goes to your point. But don’t great players make others around them better? I didn’t see that happen yesterday. To his credit, I will say he was more active defensively yesterday than maybe I’ve ever seen him. I still feel he was disappointing.

      • I’m a Spurs fan, so take this with a grain of salt…and I’ll try to tap into my Pragmatic Best for this…
        Why would the Arsenal board fire Wenger? They have made CL for, what? 18 years in a row? Yeah, you want titles, but you can’t win titles without money. You get the most money from CL.
        They are staring at Manchester United and thinking, “My God…if they can become that much of a trainwreck, what could happen to us?!”
        They are in no hurry to bite the hand that feeds. And they probably don’t want to pay for a Pep or Mou (they’ve never been extravagant spenders).
        It would be infuriating to be so close year after year…but it’s better than being irrelevant.

      • You make good points Prag (as always). So let me put this forth. If you were on the board and didn’t want to get rid of him, would you not at least try and convince him they need a world class striker (one not prone to injury)? It’s almost petulance or spite on Wenger’s part at this point. Where’s all this money their making going? They can’t afford a striker? So glad they aren’t my team.

      • They have built a culture at Emirates where they don’t sign big-money players. If I were on the board, I would be pushing to potentially “overspend” on some 20-year-old wunderkind. Find the best 18-21-year-old playing in the world and pay 1.5x what someone else would. That cost would be a fraction of his worth 5 years from now, if he pans out.
        They have a base of players that are already “good enough.” You need a special talent to take you over the top. If you won’t pay for Neymar (and really, the money being mentioned for him is insane), you need to get involved in speculative purchases. But you have enough money to shop from the cream of the crop of the younger players.
        That would be my argument. It may not win, it may not be the best. But I’d want someone under my control for a long contract who has the potential to be sublime.

      • Think Neymar at Santos. Or Bale at Southampton. Or Rooney at Everton.
        Find those guys before they become untouchable. And overpay for them before they become untouchable.

  8. SK Bartholomew says:

    I’m gonna call the stadium “Talon” ’cause I’m not a fan of corporate branding.

  9. el Pachyderm says:

    Please, I urge you to enjoy the most excellent article on These Football Times about SD Eibar.
    Sorry MLS… your still wrong on this one. Grassroots growth. Free Range Football.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      You read that article friends then come back and tell me MLS has the game and all its societal and cultural implications at heart… you tell me it’s autoclave franchise model is the right way you tell me that human ingenuity and drive and desire count for nothing to grow the game organically.

      Go ahead…. Make your arguments that MLS would fail if the pyramid opened….I dare you.

      • Good article. Great story. Wonderful underdogs. I’m not touching the argument.

      • I don’t think anyone here thinks the MLS system is great or anything, just dealing with what we have. That said, I believe the major flaw in your thinking with the open pyramid is that you assume enough people in America care enough about soccer to have something like this happen here. The interest is just not there yet. Look at the TV ratings. That’s all you really need to know.

      • Admittedly, I haven’t read it yet. I will, but I haven’t yet.
        That said, you can’t compare sports cultures in other countries to the American sports culture. In almost every other country, there is Football. That’s all. Some countries have basketball, or cricket. But the US has a smorgasbord of sports all fighting for the same dollar.
        That greatly changes the dynamic and renders comparisons to other countries mostly useless.
        But I’ll read it later and see if there is anything in there that changes my mind…

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        Quite simple to make this argument. If the NFL equivalent set up in England without pro/rel, it would overtake the EPL.

        Same logic you’re applying to this market. I seriously doubt an American football league in England would accomplish as much as MLS has in twenty years. In fact I think it would fold. Different markets take different strategies.

      • NFL Europe. Died a quiet death in 2007.

      • El P – thanks for responding to my comments above. Now, I’ll take a shot at explaining why I think pro/rel won’t work here in the US.
        In my opinion, the threat of relegation to a lower league would:
        a) discourage private individuals and groups from making major investments in US soccer clubs, as it would significantly increase the uncertainty and risk of such investments
        b) discourage public investment in stadiums and surrounding infrastructure, for fear of being stuck with an empty or near-empty facility if the local club is relegated
        c) discourage multi-year corporate sponsorship (who wants to pay big $ to have their company name on a second-tier team’s jersey?)
        d) discourage multi-year local television deals (who wants to broadcast games of a second-tier team?)
        e) hinder the growth of a club’s fan base, as ticket sales would likely plummet as soon as a team is relegated
        The end result of pro/rel, as I see it, would be a top US league that has fewer resources, lower-quality facilities, less-talented players, and fewer fans than what we see in MLS today. Despite all its faults, I’d take the current MLS option over that alternative any day.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Has anyone who argues for there being to many competing sports in the US ever considered that if built the correct way…. It is entirely conceivable that soccer/futbol could actually rival NFL and render just about every other major sport in this country to back burner simply because it built its entire structure on a system that rewards teams for playing well and punishes teams who do not play well.
      Nothing says America more than this one ideal … maybe if given the choice… The Sacramento Kings the perennially Putrid Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns and annually hapless franchises across the major sports landscape might lose support because no matter what they get to keep shoving their poorly run organization down the throat of the fan who has no control. Could be.
      I think, to be honest in back smoky rooms the NFL is terrified of a global game in this country taking over…. but that’s me.

      • Tennis and golf already reward success and punish failure, arguably in the harshest way possible. It doesn’t create any more interest in the sport.
        Interest is driven by the game, itself. Soccer is a fantastic game…for the subset that chooses to follow it. But it is not built for the ADHD society we live in.
        In the NFL, one play, then disengage for 45 seconds.
        In the NBA, catch the highlights.
        In MLB, good lord, there is about 3 minutes of actual activity in a 3 hour game.
        Soccer and hockey have similarly sized audiences in America because only a certain number of people want, or are able to focus continually for long stretches of time.
        Just more food for thought.

      • John P O'Donnell Jr. says:

        Nothing says American more than the history of the four major sports leagues. Non have pro/rel and all are unchallenged as the best league in the world. Please stop ignoring that fact for your argument of copycatting European leagues.

      • I recognize your position…however… correct me if I’m wrong… We invented basketball. We invented baseball. We invented American football.
        Incidentally we did not invent hockey and strangely cannot lay claim to being the best.

      • Here’s a question for you, El P:
        Are the best European leagues great because they operate in a promotion/relegation system, or are they great because they have power house clubs, stocked with the world’s best players, sitting at or near the top of their tables year after year?
        I enjoy following the pro/rel battles at the end of the European league seasons – it’s certainly an interesting change of pace from what we see here in the US – but I don’t think pro/rel is the reason why the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, etc. are so special.

      • They are absolutely great because they operate in a promotion relegation system… with independent ownership… no salary cap… boards of governors and fan ownership that are CLUB specific …. American sports are about parody… and that is because we are ‘stuck’ with the model we have and are fed the notion that parody is what makes things so great… I don’t see it that way… at all. It’s fine for MLB, NFL, NBA because we have the best players in the world and the best product but it isn’t that way in futbol… we are hindering the growth of the game in this country with the model we have and that IT EXACTLY the way it was intended from the outset… soccer is second class by choice and force of planned repression.
        People argue all the time Madrid and Madrid and Barca are the only good teams in La Liga… when in fact all 20 teams in La Liga are amazing when compared against the 4 other tiers of professional football from which they have to rise…

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