Message to English people in MLS – please think before you whine

Another day, another England ex-pat moaning about the way MLS and American soccer does things. From the Seattle PI:
I’ve said over and over again that I view the Open Cup as a bit of a waste of time and definite third priority beneath the league and CONCACAF Champions League in terms of importance.

But one of the few good things the Open Cup can do is help bring MLS to different venues, including smaller venues like this one in Tukwila, WA. If I’m Seattle, I use these Open Cup matches as a chance to bring my team and brand elsewhere in the upper NW. Why not play this match in Spokane at Gonzaga (who’s putting together quite a nice little soccer facility, btw). Why not play this in Anchorage (only a 3 1/2 hour flight away)? Imagine what kind of event this would be up there.

I’ve always said that DC is right to play its “smaller” matches in Germantown or even in Richmond. I know there is a legitimate argument that the last things MLS teams need with their crowded schedule is more travel, but I think the benefits are worth it. Especially for teams that don’t own their own stadiums, the benefits really outweigh the “risks.”

But going back to Smith’s moaning, what does he think he can accomplish by this kind of self-serving moan? There is no tabloid media here to pick up on this with a “SMITH RAGES AT SOUNDERS’ FIELD FLOP” headline. All it does is make the whiner sound like exactly that.

10 thoughts on “Message to English people in MLS – please think before you whine

  1. what an idiot. Every year agonized pundits complain that too many clubs don’t take the FA Cup seriously. Why should it be different with the Open Cup?

    Besides, why shouldn’t winning the MLS Cup be the most important goal for an MLS team? Isn’t league competition important?

  2. This part he got right though :

    “Why can’t we promote the Cup in a more sensible fashion so everyone can get behind it?” he said. “There is a behind close door draw done…”

    The USSF for decades has continued to show that they are an absolute travesty of an organization with how they handle the USOC

  3. Smith’s underlying message is correct. The USOC is poorly organized and promoted.

    Message to blog writer – please think before you write a mildly xenophobic article.

  4. It seems to me that it’s like someone trying to fit a square peg into a round whole. The USOC is what it is.

    With roster sizes and team depth what they are, clubs cannot afford to send their best players out onto the field for every game. As a result, it gets less emphasis by some clubs.

    USSF was smart to award the 4th Champions League slot to the USOC winner last year to give the tournament added appeal, but until the majority of clubs can adequately field a competitive team, the USOC will continue to be viewed as a side-show.

    As for the “behind-the-scenes” coin flips, yeah, that’s pretty scetch. I’m not sure why all MLS clubs don’t enter the competition at various stages.

    As for hosting the matches at random facilities… until more clubs own their own fields (like Colorado), that won’t be much of an option. Seattle has to pay a pretty penny to rent out Qwest, even if one of its owners has a stake in the field. It was nice of Colorado to offer to host, but the USOC does have rules that if it didn’t follow, would make the tournament look pretty foolish all together.

    Besides, if Colorado really wanted to host a USOC match, it could just have easily beat Seattle and entered the tournament proper.

  5. I agree. And I also agree with most of what Smith says.

    And I’m surprised that the author of this blog is a DCU supporter with this attitude.

  6. City Dave — there are lots of DC fans who, despite last year’s win, think the USOC is a distraction and a waste of time. I’m not one of them; but trust me, there are lots. If it weren’t true, we’d at least have the supporters’ sections full; as it is, they’re down to the most obsessive members for the USOC matches.

  7. I disagree with the assertion that you can promote something into legitimacy. In general, promotion follows legitimacy. And this is a parallel competition in a third-tier sport. It largely is what it is.

    I also tend to stick by the Sounders decision to play the game in Tukwila, where not only is money saved but between ticket cost and location some people could get to the game that can’t easily see a regular season MLS game.

    I am with Smith, though, on the coin toss issue. Do we even believe this “coin-toss” actually happens? Or did they just say, “well, the same two teams are playing 4 days before in Seattle, so let’s just play in Seattle” and both clubs were motivated by the cost savings to agree. I wouldn’t even be surprised to hear the qualifying pairings were rigged for reasons like that.

  8. The USOC should be a bigger deal than it is. However, in practical terms it has become the equivalent of the Carling Cup for most MLS teams rather than the FA Cup, which is what it should be.

    Given the playoff structure of MLS, the league will always be more important than the USOC. Plus, as the USOC is a midweek tournament (again making it more like the Carling Cup) it puts teams in a position to play three games in a week where they must rely heavily on squad players in the USOC just to keep enough bodies fresh.

    I remember Mike Martin’s cynical USOC coin-flip predictions that preceded the DC-NY game and one other match. Of course he called them correctly because it is fairly safe to assume that no actual coin flip exists. The sites are determined by travel cost considerations and by which team will take less of a financial bath for hosting the game.

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