Payday Games Not MLS' Problem

There's no shortage of people who're happy to tell you that MLS needs to fix some things.

The list inludes our once and future Commissioner Cohiba Don who - armed with a shiny new $3 million contract - would freely admit that the league is still very much a work in progress.

That said, this weekends' whining and kvetching about how MLS doesn't go dark for "international dates" and thus somehow "cheats" the loyal fans of the several teams of the rightful results that might otherwise obtain if they didn't have key contributors off helping their countrys' federation pay some bills was, for the most part, poorly founded.

For example, there was THIS DUMBASS PIECE OF CRAP from someone ostensibly named "Avery Raimondo" (a porn alias if ever I heard one).

His article promises to show us how MLS' scheduling has "flaws" but, sadly for our man Raimondo, it's his logic which does not bear close examination.

Indeed, his case is so badly founded that he waits until the end of his post to present his evidence, which amounts to just about nothing.

Yes, D.C. United was missing Branko Boskovic, who was off playing for Montenegro. Would he like to compare DCU's record with Branko and without him, or can we just go ahead and admit that the guy isn't exactly a dealbreaker?

Conversely, Rafa Marquez might have made a difference for the RedBulls against RSL, but then again the Stormin Mormons are on a 22 game unbeaten streak at home anyway.

In any case, les Taureaux Rouges are pretty much of a lock for the second Eastern Conference playoff spot either way so what difference did it make?

The real crux of the argument this time, and one that's being made by a lot of Canadian writers, is that TFC was missing three very key players - De Guzman, De Rosario and Attakora - who represent pretty much the heart of Torontos' lineup.

(The best complaint is contained in THIS UTTER RUBBISH from the wildly uneven World Soccer Reader by a guy who thinks the problem isn't the exigencies of running an April-to-November soccer league, but rather ingrained cultural arrogance:

You see, America, isolation only makes you look ignorant and completely out of whack with modern reality and globalization. A lesson you can learn from your domestic professional soccer league.

I have no Earthly idea what his point is there, if there even is one.)

Our boy Avery tells us though that the Commissioner agrees with him and that big changes are on the way, ad tosses in a number of quotes by way of proving his point.

Perhaps if he'd checked in with the reality-based side of his own website and read KYLE MCCARTHYS' COMMENTS on Garbers' position he might not have felt the need to take everything the Commissioner said completely out of context.

Don isn't saying that he intends to stomp down to the scheduling office, pound on some desks, crack some skulls and breath expensive Cuban smoke in someones' face for the sake of the Mexico/Ecuador freindly in Chicago. My bet is that, being an otherwise sane man, he couldn't care less.

Rather, what the Commish is saying is that he wants to see more respect paid to US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League dates, something which I'm sure we all agree is welcome news. Maybe Raimondo is simply lying or, more charitably, he's an idiot, but Garber said nothing about making sure that Montenegro qualifies for Euro 2012.

Domestic dimwits aside, the main complaints have come from North of the Ice Curtain where many - though to be fair not all - writer/blogger/yappers are complaining bitterly about how they had to play a vital road match against Dallas while missing several vital players.

To which I can only reply: no, you really didn't.

The TFC three were called up by the geniuses who run the CSA so that they could play in a crucial, critical, life or deah freindly against Peru.

And despite what Mr. Porn Alias says, this isn't "a conundrum (sic) unique to MLS". In fact, FIFA is taking heat from all over the world this week, PARTICULARLY IN ENGLAND regarding this very topic.

And for once Sepp Blatter actually makes a rational, lucid and cogent response. Go figure.

“If you want to play a friendly match then bring your second or third team, nobody tells you to promote the best players."


Up in Toronto where. we're assured, all you need to do is roll out a ball on a green piece of dirt and 50,000 people will break down the doors to watch, barely 10,000 people showed up to watch Canada play Peru.

Does Canada need to call those three guys in? Is De Rosario in jeopardy of not making the team for Brazil 2014? Are they giving De Guzman a runout to see what he can do? Do they want to see how Attakora fits in with a couple other defenders so Coach Steven Hart can start to finalize his lineup for qualifying, which begins in a mere 24 months?

No indeed. The CSA wanted those guys so they could sell more tickets. (Although they might have paid attention to the fact that these same guys play in Toronto all the time, so "Dwayne DeRosario Makes BMO Appearance! Don't Miss It!!!" isn't exactly a strong sales pitch.)

Now lest you think I'm slagging on Canada, I'll say the same thing about Marquez: did Mexico need to get a look at the guy in live action so they could assess his skill set or did they want him because he can put butts in seats?

All of which is fine, of course. Federations need money to operate and I don't begrudge any of them a single solitary nickel.

The point - which will of course be lost in the cacophony of noise about me "hating on" Canada and/or Mexico - is that where foreign feds get their money isn't Don Garbers' problem and it's ludicrous to demand that he shut down MLS because the CSA needs a payday.

Particularly in a year when our domestic league actually shut down for three weeks for the World Cup it seems pretty churlish to complain about them not also shutting down for a meaningless round of freindlies.

Yes, there were some South American, African and European players called up for games which actually mean something, but not enough to justify shutting down the entire league.

For now, getting our CONCACAF and Open Cup teams some relief from the almost criminal grind they face (my solution is still to let those teams bring in non-MLS-roster players, but that's another post) needs to be a priority.

But making sure the CSA can pay their phone bill? Just not our problem.