Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Extra: Too much to not report!

MLS commissioner Don Garber held his annual State of the League address Friday night at the Board of Governors Meeting, and there is LOTS to report!

The U.S. men's national team will play Sweden in a friendly this January, and the draw for the next round of World Cup Qualifying (UPDATE) and the Confederations Cup is set! See below.

This is Chrös again; Brucio is in Los Angeles for the MLS Cup, which is Sunday at 2:30 p.m. central time at the Home Depot Center and on ABC. Check out yesterday's post for more on that. Hit me up at kingchros@gmail.com if you need anything.

State of the League
1. Garber confirmed on Friday that Montreal has dropped out of the expansion race. It seems like a financial decision. I thought Montreal was a shoe-in, there were no cons to their bid. Hello St. Louis and Miami?

2. Teams will no longer do double-duty in Superliga and Champions League!
-Champions League: Columbus, D.C. United, New York, Houston.
-Superliga: New England, Chivas USA, Kansas City, Chicago.

3. MLS will break for two weeks or decrease its schedule for four, likely in June and July, to accommodate the Gold Cup, Confederations Cup and some qualifying matches.

4. The 15 teams will each play each other home-and-away with two additional games against foes from the other conference next season, for a grand total of a 30-game season.

5. There will be four wildcards in the playoffs next year, as opposed to two this year. This is how they did it in 2007, the last time there was an odd number of teams.

6. Goodbye reserve league: With no more reserve league, the senior rosters will expand to 20 players (from 18 last year). The money will go to other areas, such as the senior team and Generation adidas. Four reserve players will be allowed beyond the salary cap.

7. The season will start one week earlier next year, on March 21.

• Other changes, such as DP details, will have to wait on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players union.
~~~~~
Thoughts
* Wow. Slightly bigger rosters, less competitions and fewer international conflicts. They've been listening, but what can we complain about now??
* I'm not necessarily against the conference system, but doesn't this make it obsolete?
* I'd like to think the extra developmental players can go to USL, earn more money and help improve the quality of that league. We'll see.
* I'm excited to see Columbus in the Champions League, and Chicago in the Superliga. New England in the Superliga is bound for another dud, though.
* The new schedule means more weekday games, but that's a necessary evil, I think.
* It's really a shame that Montreal dropped out. I reviewed the bids a few weeks ago and they were by far the best package. I've never been high on FCB Miami, but who is in their way now?
* Also, if Montreal can't afford it, I hope St. Louis can. The economy there hasn't been great either.
* It looks like this is going to be another fun offseason.

Other News
Garber also said that MLS has not been in negotiations with Bayern Munich for Landon Donovan's loan. What? I really don't understand this. It's almost embarrassing.

Juan Pablo Angel and Danny Cepero of the New York Red Bulls collided yesterday in training but all accounts say they should be good to go for tomorrow's MLS Cup.

Philadelphia is expected to break ground on its new stadium in Chester, Pa., on Dec. 1, 2008.

Seattle Sounders FC have already sold 18,000 season tickets. Wow!

Steven Goff at the Soccer Insider says D.C. United is going to exercise its option of backup goalie Zach Wells for next season while brining in another keeper to challenge him. Louis Crayton is the No. 1 goalie.


U.S. Men's National Team
Friendly: USA vs. Sweden
Jan. 24, 2009 7:30 p.m. central time
Home Depot Center
Los Angeles
TV: Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision

The Hex is Set:
Feb. 11: Mexico (Wednesday)
March 28: at El Salvador (Saturday)
April 1: Trinidad & Tobago (Wednesday)
June 3: at Costa Rica (Wednesday)
June 6: Honduras (Saturday)
Aug. 12: at Mexico (Wednesday)
Sept. 5: El Salvador (Saturday)
Sept. 9: at Trinidad & Tobago (Wednesday)
Oct. 10: at Honduras (Saturday)
Oct. 14: Costa Rica (Wednesday)

Full CONCACAF qualifying schedule, courtesy of FIFA.
UPDATE: CONFEDERATIONS CUP DRAW
Group 1
South Africa
Iraq
New Zealand
Spain
Group 2
United States of America
Italy
Egypt
Brazil

Oh come on! That is brutally uneven!
The U.S. qualified for the tournament by winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2007. The tournament June 14-28 in South Africa.
More details from FIFA.

Rumors:
One report says the Chicago Fire will get $500,000 for loaning Cuauhtemoc Blanco to Santos Laguna in Mexico, but Luis Arroyave of the Chicago Tribune says that might be wack.

Michael Owen to Chelsea?

8 Comments:

Blogger bwidell said...

"New England in the Superliga is bound for another dud, though."


Yeah, I mean, it's not like we won it last year or anything...

12:09 PM  
Blogger digchros said...

It's a cool concept for a tournament, but it's clearly designed for and more accepted in certain parts of the country. Watching New England play Mexican teams in an empty Gillette Stadium kind of defeats the purpose of the tournament, and that's what I was referring to.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Denis said...

That may be, but man, what a championship game.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous bq said...

Hey Chrös,
I had the same initial reaction to the Confederation cup draw, but a friend of mine had a really good point. He said, this is an excellent draw, because we get easy competition in the CONCACAF all the time. If we really want to go to a tournament to prepare for top flight competition, getting ready for WC 2010, then bring em on baby. Let's make this as tough as we can and really challenge us. Find out weak spots and our strengths. I love it!

9:45 PM  
Blogger BJ said...

Great recap of all the MLS happenings this weekend. You did such a great job, instead of writing my own report, I just linked you over at my blog. Check it out, http://dos-a-cero.blogspot.com/ , and keep up the great work.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are only 15 teams in the MLS next year. Why can't we just have a 28-game season and get rid of those stupid playoffs?

9:43 AM  
Blogger digchros said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for pointing out the typo; it's fixed now. My best guess for the 30 game season is that it will ensure some continuity, since next season they can have a true 30-game home-and-away without changing the length of the season.

I don't mind having playoffs.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chros- while the attendance was a downer (NE), the games they played were fantastic. If they could work it so they play a their mid-week games up on Boston (BU) it would be interesting to see how many fans they can draw for a midweek game.
Advertising would be the main obstacle.

-reid

1:28 PM  

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