My ideal MLS, plus TFC fans being idiots yet again

Not too much going on today. Here’s what I could find.

Canadian fans booed the U.S. National Anthem… big surprise. I choose not to take the Dobbsian route an demand immediate regime change. Look, it isn’t news that the TFC fans are meatheads. That kind of behavior certainly doesn’t help the group of Canadian cities trying to join MLS, though. I am beginning to get more sympathetic to those who say, “If they’re so excited for pro soccer up there, start their own damn league already.”

Of course there are likely good reasons why a national league is unfeasible, namely that the CSA makes US Soccer look well-run. I am fairly concerned by the rumors flying about in the frozen north that MLS would now aim for 24 teams by 2013. I suspect that is a product of Canadian prospective ownership groups trying to keep momentum high, but I am starting to get that whiff of over-expansion, AstroTurf, and Hai-Karate that always means NASL. I hope Garber isn’t heading down that route.

Doesn’t 24 teams sound somewhat unwieldy? I thought 20 made sense because you could balance the schedule, make the supporters shield really mean something, and then have the usual 6-8 team playoff structure for MLS Cup. 24 teams would almost require unbalancing the schedule and keeping divisions. Of course, this will lead folks to see Pro-Rel coming, which for reasons many folks have already discussed, won’t ever, ever, ever happen.

The Bradley/Stollar plan for MLS Cup (click to expand)

My ideal MLS is this..

  • Single Table
  • 6 team “Jeff Bradley Plan” for the playoffs with the top two finishers getting bye weeks, the first round using a 2-leg system, and then the rest of the tournament being single-match.
  • No pro-rel
  • Here are the teams:
    1. DC
    2. Red Bull
    3. NE
    4. Chicago
    5. Columbus
    6. KC
    7. Toronto
    8. Chivas ?????? (that franchise could work elsewhere like Phoenix or San Antonio)
    9. LA
    10. Colorado
    11. Dallas
    12. Houston
    13. SJ
    14. RSL
    15. Seattle
    16. Philadelphia
    17. Montreal (Yes, they’re Canadian, but the team would be an enormous deal there)
    18. Portland
    19. New York City (whether the team will succeed is the $64M question, but someone will try it)
    20. Miami, St. Louis, or Vancouver in order of preference

About the only thing I don’t like about this list is that the non-Florida south is completely unrepresented. Part of me says that simply reflects interest in the sport in that region, but part of me says that ignoring a part of the country that large isn’t a good idea.

I am also torn on St. Louis. Yes, they have an unparalleled history of the sport. But, where is the clamoring now. Why is getting an ownership group so difficult. Why haven’t they had a team in the USL? Their site lobbying for an MLS team hasn’t been updated since June. History alone won’t support a sports franchise.

What do you all think? Where am I right and where have I gone wrong?

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12 thoughts on “My ideal MLS, plus TFC fans being idiots yet again

  1. I’m with you in the 20 game aspect and thinning out the playoffs. The 20 teams and single table gives 38 games (home and away) for each team. And 19 home dates isn’t unwieldy.

    24 teams does seem like a bit much. A 46 game schedule is impossible considering other obligations (Open Cup, CONCACAF, etc), so we’re right back to goofy scheduling. And you won’t see everybody every year. No team is going to care so much when Garber tells them that Columbus isn’t coming to town in a particular year, but who’s going to volunteer to be the first team to not have Beckham (or similar stature player) come to town. Look at the schedule shuffling the NHL is doing so Left Coast fans can see Crosby and Ovechkin.

    As to Canada, add Montreal and Vancouver and be done with it. No other Canadian city can support a team, so just put in the two new ones and we won’t hear any more expansion news from north of the border.

    The South? Yeah, I don’t want to ignore it either, but do you put a team in Atlanta, where they ignore good baseball teams in the playoffs or take a chance at a off the board choice like Birmingham?

  2. I’d say any market needs to prove to me they can successfully field a USL team before being considered for MLS — that said, I supported Philly, so I’m a hypocrite, but I’m from there, so I have an excuse.

    I’d cap it at 20 unless I was going to “engineer” some sort of bogus promotion/relegation system to shut up the purists.

    Montreal makes sense to me — it adds a little “French” flavor to the league. I think MLS wants a NY derby, so that also makes sense. I think then 2 teams in the south. Somewhere in Florida because pro sports all think they can succeed in Florida, and maybe somewhere in the Carolinas?

    That makes more sense to me than Portland, since you can use the Seattle argument on it, and I keep hearing how St. Louis wants a club, but then can’t seem to deliver the goods. Of course, neither has Kansas City…

  3. Hey, let’s not leave Nashville out of the question. That was a very educated crowd we saw for USA-Canada WCQ, for the U-23s! If anywhere in the South, I vote for Nashville.

    My order of preference currently is:

    17. Portland
    18. New York City
    19. Vancouver
    20. Montreal
    and if they MUST continue, then:
    21. Miami
    22. Nashville
    23. San Diego (Come on, they’re right on the border! How has no one mentioned this as a legit candidate?)
    24. Buffalo (derby with Toronto? No? Well, then give me a better city! We’re running out of profitable places.)

    and Columbus needs to move to Cleveland, and KC to St. Louis.

  4. Oh, that would be great. I mean, there have to be a bunch of league fans there if they were complaining about the lack of coverage a few months ago. And let’s face it; Chivas has done AWFULLY at the box office in LA.

  5. I’d cap it at 20 teams MAX. 18 even sounds better to me. Mainly because 34-38 games already sounds like too many when you’re also playing in the Open Cup, Superliga, and the CL.

    I vote a definite NO to another team in New York. If a team in Manhattan is necessary, then just move the Red Bulls there. I like the idea of Vancouver, Montreal, and Nashville. Not sure on the last one.

  6. DCUMD- It would be hard to move the Pink Cows to the City, because of their new stadium in Jersey. But I think everyone agrees that is the best solution. However, it certainly seems that Garber is fixed on an NY-NJ derby.

  7. Soccer in the South? What’s that? I like soccer, but you can’t find many of us down here. With high school soccer players getting nicknamed “foot fairies” by the football players, and American football being the mainstay with baseball a distant second, there’s almost no niche for soccer.

    IMO, I’d love to see a Knoxville team (Smokies FC anyone?), an Atlanta team, or a Nashville team. Nashville’s a bit overdone with the Titans, but, perhaps, they could lend their stadium out for a bit of real football. Neyland Stadium in Knoxville could do with a real game, too.

    As for the booing, well, that’s them. Live and get over yourselves. Canucks and Yankees (speaking as a born Yank).

  8. umm… as much as I dislike the booing of the American anthem… the league will never grow to anything above respectable without Canadian Teams. That is assuming that other Canadian teams are as successful as TFC, which I suspect it is (Whitecaps & Impact).

    While Beckham was given most the credit for the rise of MLS in 2007, I personally think the fans at TFC did far more to make MLS a respectable league than Beckham can ever do.

    I do NOT support CAnadians “having their own damn league”, because I suspect any Canadian league would make MLS look amateur at best. MLS mine as well exploit the market that does exist.

    So long as MLS operates in Canada and gains its monopoly on the 1st Division market, MLS can rest assured that Canada would not try to form a league to compete against MLS for market share.

    Canadian teams in soccer can help MLS like how Canadian teams helped the NHL. While the NHL is dominently an American owned league, the 6 NHL teams in Canada make more money than all the other 24 US-NHL teams combined.

    THey subsequently subsidize the weaker NHL teams in the south like Phoenix or Nashville.

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