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Strained Roster Muscle

Flashing back to yesterday's thread that included the Champions League schedule.....

I am all for MLS clubs playing in international competition, the challenges it brings on the field and the marketing possibilities off it, but after taking a closer look at the calendar late this summer and in the fall, the league is asking for trouble. The problem is that even the best MLS teams have maybe 16 legitimate starters, and when the clubs have to juggle league play with SuperLiga and the start of the new Champions League, it's going to place a huge strain on rosters.

The teams affected are New England, Chivas USA, D.C. United and Houston. All four will compete in SuperLiga in July and early August and play between three and five games. The Revs and Goats have Champions League first-round matches in August and early September, and if they advance, they'll join DCU and Houston in group play, which calls for six matches between mid-September and late October. So if, say, the Revs reach the SuperLiga final and make it though in Champions League, they are looking at 13 matches on top of their league schedule and, presumably, the MLS Cup playoffs.

Roster sizes are big enough (28), but salary limitations leave clubs without the quality to compete over the long term. MLS should be commended for lining up international tournaments for its clubs; now it needs to provide the means to succeed. Just my take. Your thoughts?

You should also know that.....

*Tickets for the USA-Argentina friendly June 8 at Giants Stadium will go on sale Monday at noon. You can choose to sit in the USA, Argentina or netural section. Prices range from $35 to $195, with seats in the first two rows going for $295. Go to the USSF's Web site for more details.

*The second leg of the European Champions League quarterfinals begin today with Arsenal visiting Anfield and Liverpool (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) after a 1-1 tie in the opener and Fenerbahce going to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea (5 p.m. tape, ESPN Classic) with a 2-1 lead.

*Crystal Palace USA and Real Maryland raised nearly $3,000 in a friendly at Maryland SoccerPlex. Both clubs are gearing up for the USL2 season.

*As we told you last week, Thomas Rongen has assembled an under-20 squad for a tournament in Beja, Portugal, next week. The roster includes D.C. United youth goalkeeper Bill Hamid, three players from Hertha Berlin (midfielder Bryan Arguez, forward Ellis McLoughlin and defender Alfredo Morales), Norwegian-based midfielder Mikkel Diskerud and Napoli forward Vincenzo Bernardo. The complete list is here.

*In the second game in their sparkling-new, publicly financed ballpark, the Nationals drew 20,000 spectators, which is less than half of capacity. Really? Remember when Camden Yards opened in Baltimore and it was almost impossible to get a ticket? Just a thought.....

By Steve Goff  |  April 8, 2008; 9:38 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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