Itinerant soccer writer, columnist, broadcaster, podcaster and whatever-else-will-earn-him-a-buck-so-he-doesn't-have-to-find-honest-work Greg Lalas HAS AN INTERESTING TAKE ON THE SUPERLIGA FINAL, specifically what a disaster it is for the marketing geniuses at S.U.M.
On their list of "Things We Pray Don't Happen", I'm guessing that "An All-MLS Final" is ranked just above "MLS HQ is wiped out by the Bubonic Plague".
But the format being what it is, not even the "Now You See It, Now Freddy Adu Plays for DC" bunch on West 5th Avenue can find a way to tart up just another New England - Houston match unless they can somehow raise the stakes to "Losers Get Immediate Public Execution".
And even that wouldn't get the kind of Mexican TV audience an FMF-MLS Final would have drawn. The only thing Hispanic fans would be wondering is why they can't just shoot both teams and be done with it.
I have to believe they'll find a way to tinker with the format before next year.
The most interesting development, however, is the "In-Your-Face" announcement by the MLS Players Union that the two teams will pool the bonus money ($150k to the winners, $100k to the losers) from tonights game in protest of THEIR INABILITY TO NEGOTIATE WITH THEIR OWN TEAMS over tournament monies.
Don Garber issued a terse "We're not going to allow that" response, but it seems obvious that he's going to have a hard time stopping them.
We kid Donny the G around here but there's no denying he's a pretty sharp cookie and why he'd make a dumb statement like that which he clearly cannot enforce is anyone's guess.
If every player endorses his check over to the MLSPU, which then pools the money and cuts it 36 ways, what exactly is the league going to do about it? Sue? Yeah, that'd be good.
But beyond what appears to be an empty threat, this is just one more piece of evidence - as if we needed one - of the growing rancor between the two camps.
How much smarter - on any number of levels - would it be for Garber to say "Hey, we'll cut them the checks according to the current contract; beyond that what they do is their own business."?
If the Board of Governors and the Commissioner had any sense they'd be working overtime right now trying to come up with some reasonable compromises on a few things, if for no other reason than to take some of the steam out of the looming disaster.
Unfortunately, both sides seem determined to build up as much anger and resentment as they possibly can prior to sitting down together and renegotiating the CBA.
It's getting harder and harder to see anything but a really bad outcome, and if these clowns insist on pushing this to the limit and we end up with a players strike I personally will lead the Torches and Pitchforks assault on MLS HQ.
Speaking of the B of G's the "we've got a solid plan for expansion" happy talk that issued forth from their meetings at the All Star game may have been - hold on to your hats - a bunch of hooey.
ACCORDING TO SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY they came to agreement on just about nothing at all. Not on how many teams to add (which directly contradicts what we were told) or a schedule for expansion or how to handle it or, really, much of anything.
One thing that apparently DID meet with some general approval was the notion of raising the expansion fee to $50 million!
Philadelphia may have gotten the bargain of a lifetime at $30mm about six months ago.
I honestly don't meant to be so cynical about the league all the time but when it comes to MLS they make it hard to be anything else, and this is a great case in point:
Possibly the most critical business decision the league has ever had to make - one with the potential to ruin 12 years of progress, one that everyone agrees sunk the LAST American soccer league - is on the table and the only thing they can all agree on is raising the price.