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Gridlock of Champions

You are Chivas USA. You have struggled all season. You have been decimated by injuries. You are confronted with the sobering possibility that, one year after finishing atop the Western Conference standings, you will miss the playoffs. And now you face the possibility of as many as eight additional matches, meaning you might have to play up to 17 in the next 10 weeks -- and that's before the MLS playoffs even begin.

Because of the CONCACAF Champions League, New England is in the same situation, though the Revolution's year has transpired a lot better than the Goats' campaign and its outlook is a lot brighter. Houston is looking at 15 matches through the end of October. D.C. United, which hosts the U.S. Open Cup final next week, has 16. (Everyone else in MLS has nine.)

It's all very exciting for MLS teams to be involved in a well-intentioned, regional tournament modeled after the famed European competition. And in the future, this event will mean an awful lot to MLS, but right now, because of roster make-up, salary constraints and, frankly, the lack of legitimate depth needed to compete internationally, the four clubs (assuming CUSA and NE advance) involved this year are going to feel the strain. Don't be surprised if coaches call on reserves in select Champions League games in order to preserve starters for vital league games. Two months from now, several may very well be gasping for air as the playoffs approach.

With that, tonight's first legs of preliminary-round play involving MLS teams are:

*New England at Joe Public (T&T), 8 p.m. ET Fox Soccer Channel
*Chivas USA at Tauro (Panama), 10 p.m. FSC

The second legs will be played next week, with the survivors advancing to group play starting Sept. 16.

How do you think MLS teams will fare in the Champions League and how severely will they be affected in league play by the congested schedule?

By Steve Goff  |  August 26, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF , MLS  
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Next: La Habana Bound

Comments

all MLS teams will struggle in this one.

Posted by: steve-o | August 26, 2008 7:08 AM | Report abuse

It'll be a struggle. I think we'll see three MLS teams come out of groups. I don't see New England getting the Supporter's Shield. Houston will be unaffected due to an easy division. Chivas, who knows. DC will be better getting the last play off spot anyways, doesn't that get them into the west's side, potentially, and away from Columbus?

Posted by: dr | August 26, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone mentioned struggle?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Struggling MLS teams will struggle to not struggle with the unstruggulous non-MLS teams.

Posted by: Hmmm | August 26, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

I recognize the struggle.

But what are the rewards? Is there cash that goes to the league/teams/players for success/advancement in the Concacaf Champions League?

My prediction is that both MLS teams (CUSA and NE) get into the group stage (to join Hou and DC). And of those four MLS teams, three make it to the quarterfinals in 2009.

Also only one of the CCL teams makes it to the semifinals of MLS Cup, although some other team will win MLS Cup as Chicago (or Columbus, or gosh forbid NY) battles some Western powerhouse like RSL or LA in the final.

Posted by: Guessing | August 26, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't know, but I'm struggling to come up with an answer.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | August 26, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

----
You are Chivas USA.
----

Well that certainly is an unfortunate way to start the day.

Posted by: Thanks | August 26, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

It will be a shame if the non-international involving MLS teams can not claim SS or MLS Cup tittle. Hopefully DC recovers from injuries and continue great contributions from the reserves and win both!!!

Posted by: td | August 26, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Guessing: the rewards are twofold --

1. cash.

2. being crowned club champions of North and Central America, and thus receiving a bid for the FIFA World Club Championship, in Japan at the end of 2009.

Posted by: Bootsy | August 26, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

The salary cap is way too low for MLS to be in this tournament as legit contenders if the starters don't play. There's little depth on most rosters, and most of it is USL level or worse.

As for Chivas USA and the Revs--their cheap owners don't even spend up to the salary cap, so they're even more at a disadvantage.

I like the tournament, but until MLS makes an effort to spend $$$ on players, it won't have a team in the World Club Championship.

Posted by: MLS Too Cheap | August 26, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Chivas and New England both have a simple way to avoid the vast majority of this problem. Unlike Houston and DC, Chivas and NE have a play-in round that accounts for two of their 17 games. That's why they have "up to 17", rather than a definite 15 (which Houston has, and DC would have were it not for the additional USOC match). So all Chivas and NE have to do is crash out of their play-in round, and they're back on the same page as everyone else.

Posted by: Bootsy | August 26, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

I could see New England and Houston advancing but DC and Chivas struggling. Might it serve Chivas USA best to focus on the CCL for the remainder of the year over MLS action?

United needs Gallardo and Peralta back if we're going to advance. Doe would be nice too.

Posted by: DCUMD | August 26, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Ooh! Ooh! And Ben Olsen too!

And how about Josh Gros?! :)

Posted by: DCUMD | August 26, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Goff, you always have negative commentary.

Posted by: jmh | August 26, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

As has been said many times before...DUMP SUPERLIGA and use the resulting scheduling flexibility to spread out the games in the Champions League teams' schedules.

Posted by: FC | August 26, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I know it will be a (what's that word?) struggle for MLS teams, but aren't the other participants in the same boat with league play - numerous games in a short timeframe. One can make the case that MLS teams are tired from a season of league play and lack depth, while Mexican, Central American and Carribean teams are just starting their seasons. On the other hand, given the way DCU has started their last two seasons, being fresh ain't all it's cracked up to be. The effect will be felt during the MLS playoffs. Look for teams not in the CCL (Columbus, Chicago, and much as I hate to say it, NYRB) to have an advantage.

Posted by: BillyBob | August 26, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I understand the FIFA World Club Championship reward for the winner. But what about all of those other teams (MLS specifically) who struggle in the CCL competition but do not win it.

Are there monetary rewards for each level of advancement within the CCL, or is Concacaf a small confederation of small resources who is just content to be able to organize this tournament for the first time?

Posted by: Show me (or my team at least) the money | August 26, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

or is Concacaf a small confederation of small resources who is just content to be able to organize this tournament for the first time?

Posted by: Show me (or my team at least) the money | August 26, 2008 8:24 AM

Yes, yes, this is what I have been saying! We have small resources here, that is why we need lots of grants for "development" from FIFA. It has nothing to do with corruption, I say. Nothing!

Posted by: Jack Warner | August 26, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I love the uninformed jabs some people take at the Krafts calling them cheep and saying the Revs are at a disadvantage and lack depth. I guess thats why the Revs have started 20 different players this season, won the SuperLiga and are tied for first place in MLS. People should not confuse wise fiscal management and the ability to bring in young talent to create a strong deep roster rather than buying expensive SI players to create the team as cheep. Right now the Revs are one of, if not the deepest teams in MLS. They have even gotten where they are without Twellman for most of this season. He's now healthy are scoring at better than a Goal a game rate.

Will the Revs advance? I would be shocked if they don't. Will the over crowded schedule cost them the Shield or MLS Cup? TBD.

Posted by: George Griffin | August 26, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Chivas will struggle and not make the playoffs, and crash hard in the Cup.

Houston will be ok, they are good and in a weak division. They will do well in the Cup.

New England will fall down the stretch drive, and do alright in the cup.

DC will rise like the Eagle and win the MLS cup, and be ready in the spring to dominate the Cup, and once again be the first ever winners of another championship.

Posted by: vasco | August 26, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Goff, you always have negative commentary.

Posted by: jmh | August 26, 2008 8:17 AM
------------------------------------------
jmh, "critical" or "realistic"-- I can see those. I can even see "sans the rose colored glasses" but "negative"???

MLS sides are going to have a hard time in this tournament. It doesn't mean that one can't win it. It's just going to be really hard.

Posted by: yankiboy | August 26, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

----
You are Chivas USA.
----

Well that certainly is an unfortunate way to start the day.

Posted by: Thanks | August 26, 2008 7:53 AM

-----

Lol!

Chivas USA would do well to ponder that age-old philosophical question, "If they held a soccer game in the middle of an empty stadium with no one there to see/hear it, does it make a difference in your position in the table?"

Posted by: Ron | August 26, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Even with having more economic resources at their disposal,given that they are so banged up, ChivasUSA might not make it past Tauro. They might not have worry about playing a bunch of additional matches.

I expect the Rev to grind it out past Joe Public.

Posted by: yankiboy | August 26, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Goff,

You didn't address the fact that the league did not schedule a single league game for DC United during the entire month of July so that they could promote their own SuperLiga creation. If the league had scheduled 5 to 6 games during July, the champions league would not be so much of a problem. MLS is a member of FIFA and we need to think like a member of FIFA thinks in our ambitions.

How on earth did you miss in your analysis that the league blew off the month of July and THAT might be why we are now struggling?

Posted by: What?! | August 26, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

As others have stated the MLS salary cap will make aspirations of multiple championships difficult. Simply paying players more doesn't make them better players - larger salary cap allows one to attrack & keep better talent.

But I think the CCL is better than the old Champ Cup and it has to start somewhere and the respective leagues throughout the region need to make the necessary adjustments to compete.

Posted by: Redd | August 26, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Once the Rev's beat Joe Public the door will be wide open for Columbus, Chicago and NY to take a run at the SS. NY will trip over their own two feet starting this Saturday.

Posted by: JMR | August 26, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

re "negative" read this about China Olympics, especially this -- "objected to the 'raddled, sweat-drenched face of Led Zeppelin lead guitarist Jimmy Page,' whose music resembled 'a badly tuned transistor radio in a tin bucket.'"


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/25/AR2008082502333.html

Goff, keep on rocking in the free world . . . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | August 26, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

@JMR,

Interesting how you don't say the door will be open for DC to take a run at the SS. I guess that says it all right there.

Posted by: Eugene | August 26, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Assuming all the MLS teams make the group stage, I think you could see teams push hard for the first 3-4 games and if it looks like they won't go thru, they'll treat it like the US Open Cup.

You also have to add in that teams will be having guys play additional games for WC qualifiers (mainly Houston) which further strains rosters, although not nearly as much.

Posted by: JJ | August 26, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

In any case, I've read a bunch about how NE is tired from all the games, but they still have players (like Brandon Manzonelli) that they haven't used in league games (or in SuperLiga) -- my impression then is that they still have the ability to bring those players in and rest some of their starters but so far have chosen not to.

This new competition will definitely strain the depth of NE, Houston and DC (Chivas USA doesn't have depth at this point) -- it'll be bad for them if it affects their standing in the league and their chances for winning the MLS Cup. At some point, those teams will have to make a decision about whether they want to continue in the CONCACAF CL or not.

Posted by: Eugene | August 26, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

A cake walk. Absolutely. MLS will dominate and... ok, really. It's going to be extremely difficult to advance out of the group phases and do well in MLS/Playoffs.

Here's the dimly lit bright spot for DC United though:

Three of the four MLS sides they play in October are also competing in CONCACAF, so it may end up being reserve teams vs reserve team.


10/04 - Chivas USA
10/12 - @ Houston
10/16 - New England
10/26 - @ Columbus

Interlaced in those matches are:

10/01 - Cruz Azul (or Hankook Verdes of Belize)
10/09 - @ Saprissa
10/21 - @ Cruz Azul (or Hankook Verdes)
10/29 - Isidro Metapán (or Marathón)

Looking at each game one at a time, here's what I see:

10/01 - home against Cruz Azul (most likely).
We need to win this game. Winning in Mexico has proven to be elusive, so getting the maximum points at home will be our only option in advancing out of our group. We'll need our top 11, including Gallardo and Olsen (if healthy by then).

10/04 - The benefit of this game is that we'll still be at home, where as Chivas USA will have to include travel in their two full days of rest after hosting Santos of Mexico. United should be able to benefit from getting players like Carroll and Thompson experience this year.

Next Up, at road trip that will take United to Costa Rica (10/9) and then to Houston (10/12) before coming home. I'm not sure if there is a more difficult 2 game road stretch in the season. We don't really get the benefit of Houston's CONCACAF schedule here as the Dynamo will host either Jalapa or San Francisco on 10/07, giving them two extra days of rest than United. I suspect that United will have to juggle an A/B team through both of these games, as an expectation to win in Costa Rica is probably a little lofty. I can only hope that United has done well enough in September to be able to afford a loss in Houston.

Four days later (10/16), it's New England at home, followed immediately by a flight to Mexico City to face Cruz Azul (10/21) for the most difficult match in United's group play. New England will no doubt be tired after hosing either Real Estelí or Impact de Montrèal on 10/08 followed by a trip to Kansas City to face a Wizards team desperate to for a playoff spot (10/11). You'd have to assume that both United and the Revolution will be relying heavily on their depth. Let's hope our starters get healthy soon.

Finally, DC will travel to Columbus (10/26), needing a big win to claim the tie-breaker if it comes down to it, then return home to face Metapán or Marathón.

Thrown into this mix are two World Cup qualifying dates:

On 10/11, the same day United is in Kansas City, the following qualifiers are played:

Guatemala vs Trinidad & Tobago
USA vs Cuba
Mexico vs Jamaica
Honduras vs Canada
Haiti vs El Salvador
Suriname vs Costa Rica
Bolivia vs Peru
Liberia vs Algeria (10/12)

And then on 10/15, qualifying continues with:
El Salvador vs Suriname
Costa Rica vs Haiti
Jamaica vs Honduras
Canada vs Mexico
Trinidad & Tobago vs USA
Cuba vs Guatemala
Bolivia vs Uruguay (10/14)

There's obviously more games that can impact our MLS participants in the Champions League, but I'm not interested in finding them out. Anyway, October is going to be a busy month, and it's pretty much the same in September.

Posted by: TCompton | August 26, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

The problem is the SuperLiga. The competition means nothing. It has created fixture congestion for a meaningful competition CCL and puts MLS' best teams at a significant disadvantage, playing in two competitions during the playoffs.

MLS needs to dump SuperLiga. The players don't care. The fans don't care. Why should MLS care...oh yeah, they make money off of it.

On top of that, it gives NYRB an advantage in the playoffs, something I dislike a lot.

Posted by: therealfootball | August 26, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Cup competitions should all be round by round knockouts. They are getting out of control. Just because the G14 need the snuggly security of bloated group stages in Europe, doesn't mean CONCACAF needs to follow suit.

Posted by: Kev | August 26, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Good luck Toronto!

Posted by: RK | August 26, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

These teams could have always just declined the money-grab SuperExhibitionLiga.

Garber said it was an invitational, correct?

Posted by: nate | August 26, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Santino Quaranta's laser goal not even in contention for "MLS Goal of the Week? are you kidding?

Posted by: mb | August 26, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

If you think there is fixture congestion in MLS think about the Mexican and South American teams that play insane amounts of games (over 60 or 70 per season. The problem for MLS is that they don't have enough players to handle all these games (to take them seriously).

MLS may not do well in the later stages of this tournament due to fatigue and roster depth and this will spark some changes.

I imagine this will be addressed by adding some more roster spots, plus added salary cap during the next phase of collective barganing.

Will it take care of the problem? Not really, but what else can they do? This CCL tournament is brand new.

Posted by: John | August 26, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

The SuperLiga is the problem - but MLS can fix it by assigning the SuperLiga slots to teams not involved in the CONCACAF Champions League. For example, in 2008, MLS could have awarded SuperLiga berths to anybody except DC, NE, Houston and Chivas. My picks, from a marketing perspective (since SuperLiga is 100% marketing), would have been Red Bulls, LA Galaxy, Chicago and Dallas. No reason to pile all of the extra international fixtures on only four teams - time to spread the joy around the league some more.

Posted by: SSMD | August 26, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I'd be shocked if any MLS side got past the quaterfinals. I had actually thought TFC would be the only MLS team to advance deep but they didn't even make the competition. TFC's combination of European players who've actually played in tough meaningful matches (unlike most players in MLS) as well as the awesome home field advantage would have made them the MLS side most likely to beat a team from the two better leagues in the region, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Posted by: Kartik | August 26, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

MLS are the architects of their own demise. Asking $2.7 million dollar teams to take on bigger regional rivals is one thing. But tacking on a completely useless and meaningless, made-up title (SL) and not allowing these teams any relief with a little cap flxibility or roster size increase is so stupid it starts to invade the territory of insanity. I'm not even going to go into their foolhardy stance of playing on FIFA dates. I swear it's like "The Producers" with this damned league sometimes, like they're setting themselves up for failure for a tax break or something.

If MLS is really serious about winning international titles then they should put not only thier money, but their guts and brains where their collective big-deream-talking mouths are. Until then they can...

That all said, now that it is common knowledge that SL is not a mandatory event, maybe DC should think about opting out of that useless, shameless cash grab altogether (if we ever get the chance to be in it again, that is). If the league won't take the CCL seriously, then maybe the team should.

And oh, yeah, we will struggle (I had to stay on theme).

Posted by: Kosh | August 26, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

If Steve Nicol is smart he'll start Roy Lassiter tonight against Joe Public.

Posted by: garbaggio | August 26, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

re: Kartik's tfc love....

right....

Posted by: myt! | August 26, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

FIRST ROUND MATCHES
RFK Stadium, Washington DC
August 11, 1998
DC United 8, Joe Public: 0.
DC United Goals: Olsen (13 min),
Lassiter (22 min), Lassiter (29 min)
Olsen (44 min), Lassiter (67 min),
Lassiter (72 min), Wood (75 min),
Wood (92min).


http://www.concacaf.com/graphics/newsletters/pdf/OctNov98/OctNov98.pdf

Posted by: garbaggio | August 26, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

fight, grapple, tussle, wrestle, brawl, scuffle, exert great effort, strain.

Just thought I'd throw in a few synonyms for struggle, courtesy of Microsoft Word.

MLS teams will fare poorly. Reserves can raise their games for one match, maybe two, but not for an entire tournament. But I can't say that I feel too bad for any of the teams. This is the price of MLS success and this did not sneak up on anyone. It's just a bummer, with the injuries and all.

Hey TCompton: Can you put all that in a Google calendar and send us the link? :-)

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 26, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Who is tougher Metapan or Marathon? I'm rooting for Marathon only because I don't want to have to deal with drunken Salvadoreans at RFK.

Posted by: United fury | August 26, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

SuperLuga should be bumped down to the consolation prize for those teams that don't make CCL. give them some more exposure and experience. good for everyone.

oh, and Joe Vide is up for GOTW...

Posted by: northzax | August 26, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

it's either play em now while they're in season and have a CHANCE of making the group stage or don't. either way better than the whole tournament being in the mls preseason. our teams actually stand a chance. and noone asked for you to complain on chivas or revs behalf. they're big boy teams i'm sure they can handle it. plus you could always just lose the game that would make things a lot easier. why don't you suggest that to the DC front office if you haven't already.
--> Next

Posted by: MarkVA | August 26, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to the "MLS regular season doesn't matter" philosophy. I say treat the regular season games like tune-ups and save your stars for the playoffs.

This is America, the Cup is the thing.

Posted by: Tommie | August 26, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

One more reason to await Superliga's demise with baited breath.

Posted by: JB | August 26, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't know why everyone is so down on the SuperLiga. The winning players ger 1.5 million

pesos

Posted by: DG from NYC | August 26, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

john:

in the later stages of the tourney, MLS won't do well because they'll be in pre-preseason form. if you can get past the group stage, teams will have 3.5 months off, the quarters are in late February.

Posted by: northzax | August 26, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

For those assuming NE will breeze through in this "strugglesome" period, need I remind you they played their reserves against DC in the Open semifinal. You see the way that went down. I don't know that they'll be able to play their B team against the opponents they'll face early on. Joe Public's A team may very well whoop NE's B team, for example. I think all teams will be affected, but they'll do their best to advance in the tournament. I do think, however, that NE will put the supporter's shield as a higher priority if it comes down to what lineup to put in toward the end of the season.

Posted by: Beaker | August 26, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

One more reason to await Superliga's demise with baited breath.

Posted by: JB | August 26, 2008 10:17 AM
=============

I'm hooked on SuperLiga.

The promise of big money lures teams into the competition.

$1M is a big catch.

Is the MVP El Pescadito.

Joe Doc? You wanna add to this?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 26, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

It's funny how everyone is talking about an increased salary cap. I don't it is possible until teams start getting more paying fans. MLS is minor league or lower division and it's salaries need to reflect that.

Playing in these tournaments is a chance to raise some much needed revenue even if it isn't a level playing field when compared to Mexican teams. MLS teams should be able to field their reserves and still beat most other Carribean/Central American club teams.

I was at the Joe Public spanking! Good times. If NE can't advance past those clowns then....

Posted by: mizage | August 26, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

DC United did not have to accept the Superliga invitation. Self-made problem.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | August 26, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

NY didn't have to, either.

I-270, I thought that post was going to be by Fisch Fry.

Posted by: RK | August 26, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I do think, however, that NE will put the supporter's shield as a higher priority if it comes down to what lineup to put in toward the end of the season.

Posted by: Beaker | August 26, 2008 10:23 AM
____________________

I'm not sure I agree. I think MLS Cup is Priority #1 at this stage for New England as it is for all MLS teams. I know the fans love to swoon over the SS, as the name implies, but the league title and with it, the money and prestige go to the MLS Cup Champion.

Posted by: Matt | August 26, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Salary cap + lack of depth = struggle in international competitions for MLS teams.

Without mature (or even semi-mature) developmental systems to help deepen their benches, the top MLS teams have to rely on their starters to play league, MLS Cup, US Open Cup, Superliga, and Champions League games competitively. In the current situation, it's really difficult for an MLS club to sustain a level of competitiveness while playing a year-round domestic & international schedule.

The Reserve League was a good start, but is beginning to show its limitations. The league really needs to think about pouring financing into a real developmental system. If they don't do it, the clubs who want to do well internationally (both in competitions AND marketing) need to bite the bullet and spend the money themselves.

Posted by: dcindc | August 26, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

re: "It's funny how everyone is talking about an increased salary cap. I don't it is possible until teams start getting more paying fans. MLS is minor league or lower division and it's salaries need to reflect that."

Ah, but the conventional wisdom around these parts dictates that the number of paying fans do not matter for MLS. Columbus can play in their near-empty stadium week after week, and they [supposedly] make tons of money. Ditto for Colorado playing in their sea of empty gray seats. Ditto for Chivas. They have great "corporate sponsorship" or so it goes, and so they are fine and dandy. New York and their weekly crowd of 6500 fans is no problem, since those 6500 fans will make Red Bull Arena billions of dollars (together with tractor pulls and Warren Zevon concerts). Oh, and lets not forget that soccer-mad cash cow, Pizza Hut Park. It is just as empty as the other stadia, so no doubt it is driving a TV ratings bonanza with its compelling view of all those red seats sitting empty in the scorching 110 degree heat, so it must make MLS tons and tons of money.

Therefore, lets jack up the salary cap to $25 million per team. Once MLS completes construction on more pernnially empty stadia, even more dough will roll in, so then the cap can go to $50 million per team.

Posted by: Ron | August 26, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

If you want to tank SL, just boycott those games. If fans dont turn out, they wont have it.

I think the suggestion of having SL for teams not in the CL will make the Mexican clubs think we are putting our 2nd best against them. Will they participate in SL under then?

How does the MLS salary cap work? Is there a total dollar amount which can be distributed however you like among players? To deepen rosters, you cap individual player salaries and allow the team cap to be much higher. This would allow teams to get big and handle more tourneys.

Posted by: uhh | August 26, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

DC United did not have to accept the Superliga invitation. Self-made problem.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | August 26, 2008 10:33 AM
_____________

oh come on MJ, or do you prefer Nani? you know full well that the invitation was a formality. MLS is the majority owner of DCU and all other clubs, think they'll be refusing their own invitation?

Posted by: northzax | August 26, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Vamos vamos los united vamos a ganar,
Vamos vamos los united vamos a ganar,
yo te sigo a todas partes a donde vas,
cada vez te quiero mas

Posted by: Spartan | August 26, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

uhh: no one really knows how the cap works with allocations and such, but as a general rule, there is a hard cap of about $2.4m this season, and a hard cap on individual salaries ($400k except for the DP) there are also several designated slots (the Developmental players) and some players who don't count at all (GenAds) beyond that $600k or so, distribution is up to the clubs.

Posted by: northzax | August 26, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

DC United only plays 15 games a year, Goff is a liar.

These rumors of imaginary tournaments are made up just to try to get backing for your Stupid Soccer Stadium.

The truth is DC United doesn’t play enough games to justify a soccer stadium or a cent of further investment by DC, VA or MD.


Posted by: Marc Fisherer | August 26, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

1. George Griffin--your Revs support has you wearing blinders. First, the Krafts have REPEATEDLY shown proven themselves to be cheap. For instance...selling their rights to their home game in the CCC to their Costa Rican opponent (so the Revs played 2 matches away). That's not cheap? Second, it's not really about depth. If you play a match every 3 days for 9 weeks, you can have 20 good players but that's still not enough depth to have two equally great GKs or two front-line A-mids or 2 studs like Shalrie Joseph. It's less about depth and more about fixture congestion. Eventually, a lot of games in a compressed period of time without a 30 man roster ala ManU or Real Madrid catches up to you.

2. I don't see the problem as Super Liga. And frankly, I kind of like that tournament. The Mexican teams take is seriously (just go look at the off-the-ball fouls they commit) and MLS won't take off until we start drawing Mexican expats and that won't happen until we show we can play with the MFL teams at least off and on.

Nah, it's a combination of small rosters with a lot of matches at one point. Unfortunately for DCU we were gunning for Super Liga, had lots of open space and boom--the injuries hit so our Super Liga (and lack of fixture congestion) resulted in basically a lot of down time.

But there are a couple of teams: DCU, NE Revs, Houston that, quite simply, will play a ton of matches this season. Super Liga, CCC, Champions League, USOC. And then there are NT callups and WCQs. As a result, you get a team like say....the NY boys who will play probably 15 fewer games this season than NE will. And more importantly, during the playoff run, they'll have a lot fewer matches.

I'm also not so sanguine that Houston will just cruise through. They've shown that they've never been more dependent upon Ching and DeRo offensively than they are this year and playing a lot of games with those two is never a good thing. While I wouldn't be surprised if Houston won the MLS Cup, I also wouldn't be shocked if they missed the playoffs. The team that i think is well positioned is Columbus. They've played well all season, got depth, GBS is having a fantastic season, they don't have the extra games that Houston, Chivas, DCU and NE face.

Posted by: JoeW | August 26, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I don't recall anyone talking about insane increases to the cap, which you guys are right in saying is not feasible if the people (fans) don't make it worth the league's while. However, I do think the league can still keep the cap low and do other creative stuff to increase the roster sizes.

For instance, the league can reduce the cap hit of DPs. I mean their respective teams are footing the bill for the extra bucks anyway, so if they opt to go that route then these teams should consider funding an additional $200 - $300 grrrr per DP, thereby creating that amount of room in the cap. That would drop the DP hit on the cap to say $100 - $150 (OK maybe $200 grrr) thereby allowing teams to bring in 1 or 2 (or if your are NYRB maybe 4) quality players to provide depth with the cap savings.

Look my numbers may be off but you have to admit having one guy eat up a substantial amount of your cap, when said guy is getting paid waaaay more outside of the cap anyways, is not very smart. LAG has decided that Beckham will be making $2+ million a year, what's another $200 - $250 grrr to them. If you can't afford it then don't do the DP thing.

Posted by: Kosh | August 26, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I don't recall anyone talking about insane increases to the cap, which you guys are right in saying is not feasible if the people (fans) don't make it worth the league's while. However, I do think the league can still keep the cap low and do other creative stuff to increase the roster sizes.

For instance, the league can reduce the cap hit of DPs. I mean their respective teams are footing the bill for the extra bucks anyway, so if they opt to go that route then these teams should consider funding an additional $200 - $300 grrrr per DP, thereby creating that amount of room in the cap. That would drop the DP hit on the cap to say $100 - $150 (OK maybe $200 grrr) thereby allowing teams to bring in 1 or 2 (or if your are NYRB maybe 4) quality players to provide depth with the cap savings.

Look my numbers may be off but you have to admit having one guy eat up a substantial amount of your cap, when said guy is getting paid waaaay more outside of the cap anyways, is not very smart. LAG has decided that Beckham will be making $2+ million a year, what's another $200 - $250 grrr to them. If you can't afford it then don't do the DP thing.

Posted by: Kosh | August 26, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Jozy called up for Cuba, T&T qualifiers (Villarreal web site)

Posted by: RK | August 26, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I don't recall anyone talking about insane increases to the cap, which you guys are right in saying is not feasible if the people (fans) don't make it worth the league's while. However, I do think the league can still keep the cap low and do other creative stuff to increase the roster sizes.

For instance, the league can reduce the cap hit of DPs. I mean their respective teams are footing the bill for the extra bucks anyway, so if they opt to go that route then these teams should consider funding an additional $200 - $300K per DP, thereby creating that amount of room in the cap. That would drop the DP hit on the cap to say $100 - $150K (OK maybe $200K) thereby allowing teams to bring in 1 or 2 (or if your are NYRB maybe 4) quality players to provide depth with the cap savings.

Look my numbers may be off but you have to admit having one guy eat up a substantial amount of your cap, when said guy is getting paid waaaay more outside of the cap anyways, is not very smart. LAG has decided that Beckham will be making $2+ million a year, what's another $200 - $250K to them. If you can't afford it then don't do the DP thing.

Posted by: Kosh | August 26, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Sooo sorry about the triple post, my machine went bonkers. OK I've maxed out for the day.

Sorry about that.

Posted by: Kosh | August 26, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey TCompton: Can you put all that in a Google calendar and send us the link? :-)

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 26, 2008 9:58 AM
------------------------------------------------

Not sure how to send a link, but if you search Public Calendars for "MLS / Champions League" you should be able to find it.

It includes the schedules for Chivas, Houston, and New England also.

Posted by: TCompton | August 26, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: TCompton | August 26, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

If new england can't beat Joe Public with reserves they've got bigger problems.

Posted by: M | August 26, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

grrr??? is that Tony the Tiger speak?

Posted by: downtown | August 26, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

...For instance, the league can reduce the cap hit of DPs. ...drop the DP hit on the cap to say $100 - $150K (OK maybe $200K) thereby allowing teams to bring in 1 or 2...quality players to provide depth with the cap savings....

Posted by: Kosh | August 26, 2008 11:16 AM
-----------------------------------------------

I think the purpose of the DP Cap hit is that the league wants to keep the parity in the league a priority. It says to teams that want DPs that they can have them, but you have to be wise about who you play with them.

Last season there were four DPs in the league (Angel, Beckham, Blanco, Reyna) and none of those players appeared in MLS Cup. This year, Reyna retired, and DC brought in Gallardo and promoted Emilio. I still doubt whether DC, Chicago, and New York will make it to MLS Cup and Los Angeles may not even make the playoffs.

It's hard to say that the DPs have been a success in terms of winning, although they have certainly helped elevate the level of play on the field.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

He who sleeps with baited breath wakes with mouth full of crappie . . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | August 26, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

One more reason to await Superliga's demise with baited breath.

Posted by: JB | August 26, 2008 10:17 AM
=============

I'm hooked on SuperLiga.

The promise of big money lures teams into the competition.

$1M is a big catch.

Is the MVP El Pescadito.

Joe Doc? You wanna add to this?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 26, 2008 10:26 AM

They're not just playing for the halibut, it does serve a porpoise in the long run.

(I never met a pun I didn't like...kinda fishy, I know.)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | August 26, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

You are Chivas USA.

Naa naa naa.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtBirwSpLJY

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

If SuperLiga isn't cancelled or spots handed out to non CONCACAF CL teams, then teams that are participating in next year's CL should turn down their invites for SL. Garber himself said that SL is not mandatory when he was giving excuses for the prize money fiasco.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | August 26, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

New York and their weekly crowd of 6500 fans is no problem, since those 6500 fans will make Red Bull Arena billions of dollars (together with tractor pulls and Warren Zevon concerts).
=========================================

A Warren Zevon concert would indeed pull 'em in. But why stop there? Why not book, say, Billy Preston?

Posted by: The Jeff | August 26, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

@UnitedFury: If they are drunk and obnoxious (key word being obnoxious coz when I was a drunk I was always a friendly "hey let's be buddies" type of drunk)--if they are the combo then does it really make any difference where they are from??? Obnoxious is obnoxious. I welcome all friendly, non-bnoxious drunks who have designated drivers or plan to take metro. Especially if my team manages to beat your team.

Posted by: yankiboy | August 26, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Goff, you still think teams put the MLS league higher than international play...They will use more reserve sides in MLS games (just like you said DC U was going to use reserves in the Copa Sudamericana game). It seems the international play is more highly regarded than the MLS season (maybe not to you though)...

Posted by: Burke | August 26, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

The salary cap is a big issue, but lets be honest. The argument for raising the salary cap is not to add depth, it's to eliminate the $13K player salary.

DC United has 5 players listed as Developmental right now. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that they make $15,000 each. (If I could find Goff's Money Page, I could get real numbers.) That's a $75,000 hit against the salary cap.

If those players were making a more respectable (and livable) $30,000 (which is still too low) then the hit against the salary cap would be $150,000 ($75,000 more).

$75,000! That's it per team. That's a drop in the bucket! So, if the MLS execs are unwilling to raise the league minimum, then how on earth can you seriously expect them to raise the salary cap to a point to eliminate the developmental player AND to increase the team roster sizes (let alone attracting/signing higher quality players)?

MLS has hit a plateau. Clubs that control their own stadium revenue have to start focusing on the quality on the field and the number of season ticket sales before they'll ever be a significant increase in the league rosters.

There are some things that the League could to to help with bringing in high quality players. First, the Designated Player, while glamorous, only acts as an albatross around a teams' neck. Clubs that don't want to use their Designated Player slot should get the opportunity to give it up in exchange for Allocation Money to be used on multiple high quality players.

Second, if the league won't get rid of the developmental slot, then perhaps the teams themselves could cover the excess salary over a point. A Developmental player could make $30K, but only $15K would hit the salary cap. Teams could cover the additional $15K in the way they cover the Designated Player salary over the league max.

Third, the team could use its youth players from its U20 Super Y team, and the U18 Development Adacamy Team for reserve matches and US Open Cup play (although NCAA may object to this).

Posted by: TCompton | August 26, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

A Warren Zevon concert would indeed pull 'em in. But why stop there? Why not book, say, Billy Preston?

Posted by: The Jeff | August 26, 2008 12:04 PM
==========================

If you believe in forever
Then life is just a one-night stand
If there's a rock and roll heaven
Well you know they've got a hell of a band, band, band

Posted by: so bad it's good | August 26, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

If Warren Zevon is playing a concert now, neither lawyers, guns, nor money will help us...

Posted by: Eric B | August 26, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I think the CONCACAF Champions League will play out much like the US Open Cup. If MLS teams resort to fielding reserve squads for CCL games, expect to see them eliminated. However, if they stick to playing starters like DC United has in this year's USOC, MLS could make it to the CCL final.

Posted by: Brokenbil | August 26, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

DC United did not have to accept the Superliga invitation. Self-made problem.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | August 26, 2008 10:33 AM
_____________

oh come on MJ, or do you prefer Nani? you know full well that the invitation was a formality. MLS is the majority owner of DCU and all other clubs, think they'll be refusing their own invitation?

Posted by: northzax | August 26, 2008 10:50 AM

Well put, sir. This is the truth of the matter. SuperLiga served its purpose as a transition and needs to go--and Garber needs to let it.

Posted by: viv | August 26, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks TCompton. I was just kidding, but if you take everything I write seriously, come over and powerwash my deck.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 26, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks TCompton. I was just kidding, but if you take everything I write seriously, come over and powerwash my deck.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 26, 2008 2:32 PM
-------------------------------------------------

:) I had actually already played around with their schedules earlier in the year, so it took no time to throw it onto a calender. If I were really interested, I'd figure out Cruz Azul, Saprissa, and Marathon's league schedules to see what type of rest they'd have going into the Champions League (assuming of course that Cruz Azul and Marathon advance).

Posted by: TCompton | August 26, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

George Griffin: If the Revs have such fantastic depth, how come an injury-depleted DC United smacked around their bench in the USOC?

Posted by: Terp | August 26, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: SportzNut21 | August 26, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

and just for completeness sake, Hankook Verdes:
http://belizepremier.com/team_schedule.php?team=Hankook%20Verdes

Posted by: SportzNut21 | August 26, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

OK, so I've put in the favorites, but I'm not touching Hankook Verdes or Metapan unless they advance.

Since all of the other leagues recognize FIFA's international dates, their clubs will get a break from action during the weekend of Oct 11/12.

Although, since Saprissa is an all Costa Rican team, I wouldn't be surprised if several of their players are called up for the qualifying matches against regional powers Suriname and Haiti.

Other than that, there really isn't much relief for these clubs either. Their biggest advantage is probably the relative size of their countries.

The big advantages for DC United appear to be:

Saprissa away to UCR on 09/14, then at DC United 09/16. I know nothing about UCR, but two days rest with travel is pretty tough.

Cruz Azul away to Club America on 09/28, then at DC United on 10/01.

Cruz Azul also hosts Morelia on 10/18 then United on 10/21, while United will have 4 days to recover from hosting New England on 10/16. Maybe both teams will be out of breath and it'll be an even match for United. :)

Posted by: TCompton | August 26, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Two thoughts:

1) MLS does a TERRIBLE job scheduling. To wit:

a) Many weeks earlier in the year where DC, HOU, CHV, and NE could have played midweek, but didn't. Now they have to double up almost every week for two months. If they'd played these games earlier, they be in an ideal situation for CCL games, with no league game for that week. This would give the MLS clubs an advantage at this state.

b) CCL teams should NEVER, EVER, EVER, play in Superliga. Not ever. First, its a BS tourney with a BS (not Big Soccer) $1 million. Second, it would have been just as good with LA, Dallas, Chicago, and Columbus.

Also, boo hoo to MLS. Teams from other regions do this all the time, with pro's in England playing 50+ matches a year. So MLS is finally getting a taste of the big time. Maybe MLS should raise the DEV salary and MIN salary instead of paying so much attention to the high end (DP/Beckham rule).

Posted by: Jason | August 26, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Apologies for length. This got really long, really fast.

Chivas USA: Much more likely to be eliminated in the qualifying round than NE. Chivas can barely put together an 18 man squad, and will definitely be without one of their most important players (Marsch). Still, they really should get past Tauro. If they can succeed in the modest task that is their charge, they will face a group that has no real weak spots (assuming Alajuelense qualifies over Puerto Rico, Chivas would be up against them, Santos Laguna, and Municipal). The strain on the Chivas roster is going to be too great for them to expect much from this group. They should be able to win 2 of their 3 home games, but I only see them getting 1 or 3 points away (maybe they scrape a result at Municipal).

New England: The Revs should be able to get past Joe Public without too much exertion. The number of experienced reserves they have means they can even get away with some squad-juggling in these games. Expect to see 2 starts for players like Igwe and Phelan in these qualifying games. After that, the Revs have a very soft group (as compared to Groups A and D...Houston's Group B is also very weak). Group C features an Atlante team that, judging on its play in Superliga, had no place winning the Mexican league, an Olimpia team that United thrashed home and away last year, and either a Nicaraguan league team or a USL-1 team. If the Revs can't get through this group, it will be due to shooting themselves in the foot, and not fixture congestion. For what it's worth, I'm betting the Revs will prioritize the MLS playoffs as their top concern, meaning reserves being a big part of their away trips in the CCL.

Houston: Unbelievable draw gave them Firpo from El Salvador (a team they should have absolutely no problem with) and likely matchups with Jalapa (likely the worst team in the group) and Pumas. Pumas will be difficult, but the Dynamo should not lose once home or away to Firpo or Jalapa/San Francisco. They can realistically look at taking 10 points from those 4 games, which should be enough to advance regardless of the results against Pumas.

DC United: Group A looks like the Group of Death to me. While Group A will, unlike Group D, feature an out-and-out weak team (Marathon/Metapan), the top 3 are as strong or stronger than D's best side (Santos). Cruz Azul will not only be the richest team by some measure, but they benefit from the huge home advantage that Mexico City provides. Saprissa, meanwhie, plays on turf (a surface we are horrible on) and we all know from WC qualifiers that Costa Rican fans may create the hottest atmosphere in CONCACAF. Call me biased, but I think those are the CCL's two hardest away games. United will have to take all 6 points against Marathon/Metapan to have a realistic chance at advancing, and they will likely have to get 4 points from their other 2 home games. The tricky part here is judging the United FO's priorities. The club has repeatedly said it wants international glory, but they must also know that, in the press and with casual fans, the only championships that resonate are MLS Cup wins (ask a Loud Side regular how many trophies we have, and they'll say 11; ask a person with casual interest but not real dedication, and they'll cite 4 MLS Cups and nothing else). DC currently has a 5 point cushion between it and missing the playoffs, but this is hardly comfortable with our schedule including games at a revitalized SJ, at Dallas (a place we are historically bad at, and against a team that should be fighting for its life by that point), at Houston, and at Columbus.

How tough is it going to be to mount a serious playoff challenge as well as advancing in the CCL? I won't go so far as to say "none more tough", but it'll be close to it. We know our reserves are not going to be able to get more than a draw or two in either competition, and even that would be fortunate. We also know that our team is Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde; at our best, we can win any fixture we face on the schedule. At our worst, we could find ourselves quickly dumped out of the CCL and going down to the wire for the playoffs despite the 5 point cushion.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | August 26, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Apologies for length. This got really long, really fast.

Chivas USA: Much more likely to be eliminated in the qualifying round than NE. Chivas can barely put together an 18 man squad, and will definitely be without one of their most important players (Marsch). Still, they really should get past Tauro. If they can succeed in the modest task that is their charge, they will face a group that has no real weak spots (assuming Alajuelense qualifies over Puerto Rico, Chivas would be up against them, Santos Laguna, and Municipal). The strain on the Chivas roster is going to be too great for them to expect much from this group. They should be able to win 2 of their 3 home games, but I only see them getting 1 or 3 points away (maybe they scrape a result at Municipal).

New England: The Revs should be able to get past Joe Public without too much exertion. The number of experienced reserves they have means they can even get away with some squad-juggling in these games. Expect to see 2 starts for players like Igwe and Phelan in these qualifying games. After that, the Revs have a very soft group (as compared to Groups A and D...Houston's Group B is also very weak). Group C features an Atlante team that, judging on its play in Superliga, had no place winning the Mexican league, an Olimpia team that United thrashed home and away last year, and either a Nicaraguan league team or a USL-1 team. If the Revs can't get through this group, it will be due to shooting themselves in the foot, and not fixture congestion. For what it's worth, I'm betting the Revs will prioritize the MLS playoffs as their top concern, meaning reserves being a big part of their away trips in the CCL.

Houston: Unbelievable draw gave them Firpo from El Salvador (a team they should have absolutely no problem with) and likely matchups with Jalapa (likely the worst team in the group) and Pumas. Pumas will be difficult, but the Dynamo should not lose once home or away to Firpo or Jalapa/San Francisco. They can realistically look at taking 10 points from those 4 games, which should be enough to advance regardless of the results against Pumas.

DC United: Group A looks like the Group of Death to me. While Group A will, unlike Group D, feature an out-and-out weak team (Marathon/Metapan), the top 3 are as strong or stronger than D's best side (Santos). Cruz Azul will not only be the richest team by some measure, but they benefit from the huge home advantage that Mexico City provides. Saprissa, meanwhie, plays on turf (a surface we are horrible on) and we all know from WC qualifiers that Costa Rican fans may create the hottest atmosphere in CONCACAF. Call me biased, but I think those are the CCL's two hardest away games. United will have to take all 6 points against Marathon/Metapan to have a realistic chance at advancing, and they will likely have to get 4 points from their other 2 home games. The tricky part here is judging the United FO's priorities. The club has repeatedly said it wants international glory, but they must also know that, in the press and with casual fans, the only championships that resonate are MLS Cup wins (ask a Loud Side regular how many trophies we have, and they'll say 11; ask a person with casual interest but not real dedication, and they'll cite 4 MLS Cups and nothing else). DC currently has a 5 point cushion between it and missing the playoffs, but this is hardly comfortable with our schedule including games at a revitalized SJ, at Dallas (a place we are historically bad at, and against a team that should be fighting for its life by that point), at Houston, and at Columbus.

How tough is it going to be to mount a serious playoff challenge as well as advancing in the CCL? I won't go so far as to say "none more tough", but it'll be close to it. We know our reserves are not going to be able to get more than a draw or two in either competition, and even that would be fortunate. We also know that our team is Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde; at our best, we can win any fixture we face on the schedule. At our worst, we could find ourselves quickly dumped out of the CCL and going down to the wire for the playoffs despite the 5 point cushion.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | August 26, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

For a true MLS news site, check out www.mls-daily.com

Posted by: Anon | August 26, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Dude, like who cares?
Early season EPL is in full swing, and Goff says Manchester United will triumph again, why bother with all this calendar crunching?
Jus, playin', here's to hoping for Soehn's troops getting it done.
I mentioned before that it really is in DC's best interest to crush the opposition when we have the opportunity for maximum points and not sweat the BIG teams.
Hint, HInt, DC you must get 3 points this weekend, not just for your own tally, but to slow down poop bulls.
Good job crushing the Rapids.
keep the points coming when you can.
Draws don't seem to be our style this year, but if you can get one vs the leading East teams while pimp slapping the weaker teams, we could end up with the SS again, and just as importantly get a berth in the playoffs.

Posted by: dadryan | August 26, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Hmm..from a purely employee-employer perspective, if I was a starter making 20-something thousand a year, and I was told I had to work 1/3 more for the same money, I'm not sure how I'd like that. But that's MLS.

Posted by: Gobsmack | August 27, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

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