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MLS Gets It Right Regarding International Breaks

Video: Klinsmann gets the win

Who remembers the last time that Major League Soccer played a regular season match during an international date? Who remembers the last time when an important World Cup Qualifier was being played while the New England Revolution faced the Los Angeles Galaxy?

Well for the last three international match days, we finally know what it means to take a break from league play. Now obviously there have been some games rescheduled due to weather (such as Hurricane Irene, which forced three games to be changed from late August), but it’s still a fantastic feeling when you can wear your national team shirt and give your club side a break.

Now we all know what it’s like when the rest of the world takes a break for the international calendar and watches an important qualifier or a friendly match. If we remember when the word came out about this fantastic change, it was during the time when FIFA’s Executive Committee was trying to decide which confederation would get a certain amount of spots.

Before the scandals of CONCACAF were big news items, General Secretary Chuck Blazer and former President Jack Warner were trying to find a way to improve the qualifying and we thought we would get an upgrade from 3 ½ to 4 full spots since Brazil is the host country.

Major League Soccer who gave the schedule for the 2011 season in February gave fans the shock of their lives when they showed a few Saturday dates not filled with league games during World Cup Qualifying. That would have ensued that a new Qualifying format would have the USA starting play this year.

But sadly for CONCACAF they would be given 3 ½ spots while South America would remain with 4 ½ spots (or 5 ½ if you count Brazil as the host country). So the hexagonal has remained and so has the idea from Major League Soccer of taking a break for the international calendar.

As you have read some of the reports on MLS Talk the 2012 season might be starting early March. The hope then is to take a break again for World Cup Qualifiers in June, September and October. Let’s also remember last summer when the league took a two week break during the group stage of the World Cup.

While MLS did take a step back during the Gold Cup this past summer, we have to be fair and say that progress was being made. It’s been a slow and steady pace, but if you saw the MLS Cup Playoff schedule, the league has condensed it so the November international dates of 2011 wouldn’t have any interference.

I believe the league has heard the complaints from their fans and have found a way to make the necessary changes. While I do believe that friendly games played on the weekend will not be rescued, those that are most important will be.

But we can see that Major League Soccer is listening to us and they understand what changes need to be made for everyone that follows America’s top flight league.

8 Responses to MLS Gets It Right Regarding International Breaks

  1. Charles says:

    I am NOT for MLS taking a break for friendlies. Those are preseason
    games and should play those games in the
    preseason……………………………………………………
    I think that MLS has done a VERY good job of trying to create a
    league that will succeed and try to appease soccer fans that know
    what they want. This is just another step of getting there, which
    involves MLS changing and fans changing. For example, some fans
    wanted academies, so MLS set them up. Some didn’t want the draft,
    MLS will just keep doing it and through it’s success it will be
    accepted.

    • EVOlution says:

      do you honestly think that academies were a product of the fans
      demand? that solely came from club management. frankly academies
      and free agency are the way to go. its evident that the college
      draft is broken and probably will never do mls any good any more.
      most mls stars are products of academies either from here or else
      where. sooner or later the college draft system has got to go and
      free agency should step in. you only need to look at academy talent
      compared to draft talent. Shea, Agudelo, Najar, Altidore, Adu and a
      bunch others. idk where you think college drafts will be
      successful. appantley in Mexico they have some sort of draft that
      players are protesting about. i digress. point is MLS the
      corporation do not care much about fans wants. MLS the individual
      franchises of course will cater more to fans do to its close
      proximity to the actual fans. they will try to cater to fans in
      order to take their $$$ to put it crudely. MLS the corporation will
      try to think for the fans and decide what “they” want so as to
      benefit them in their pockets. I.E. the majority dislike garber’s
      decision to make a unbalanced schedule solely for the purpose of
      creating more “in house” rivalries which clearly dont exist. apart
      from maybe the cascadia rivalry which MLS will try to squeeze as
      much money from as possible. MLS will do it anyway because they
      only look to benefit themselves, if fans desire’s get crushed the
      so be it. most soccer fans in USA dont give MLS the light of day
      because it frankly just never stays the same. theres constant shift
      to a structure that just doesnt fit. I.E. the playoff structure.
      for years it has never truely represented the best team in the
      league (which i assume is what the MLS cup is suppose to be for)
      what do majority fans want? single table or single table
      qualification. will mls do that? no. why? because it is garbers
      strong belief that the NFL structure can seemlessly work with MLS
      for which targets casual fans more than traditional soccer fans.
      theres nothing wrong with trying to “convert” casual fans into
      liking MLS but i dont agree that the casual fan should be put over
      the real soccer fan just because that market seems to be more
      attainable and where all the money is at. when it compromises the
      way teams perform, and are crowned champions, then thats a problem.
      in the end i think MLS will not change anything solely due to
      popular demand; some reasonable (like playoff structure change)
      some not (like pro/rel although IMO can be done but shouldnt be MLS
      responsibility. that job should go to some USSF committee in charge
      of exploring a possible pro/rel model) is MLS a good league?
      yes-ish. are they heading in the right direction? yes-ish. i think
      overall, what MLS fans truely want is a league that is a actual
      functional league and competitive. Now of course MLS shouldnt be a
      total democracy. if that were the case there will be a constant tug
      o war that would derail whatever progress mls made. but so long as
      MLS management doesnt start thinking soccer and stop thinking
      business, i think MLS will reach a cap in their growth and will not
      move beyond that cap. i mean they still refer to fans as “markets”.

      • Charles says:

        “It is evident the college draft is broken.”
        ……………………………………………..Hmmm. You must
        be on a different planet. I live on the one where 2010 top 11 (
        Sounders were 11, so I added one )
        produced……………………………………………………….
        1 Philadelphia Union *Danny Mwanga Forward Oregon State University
        2 New York Red Bulls *Tony Tchani Midfielder University of Virginia
        Hampton Roads Piranhas 3 San Jose Earthquakes *Ike Opara Defender
        Wake Forest University Cary Clarets 4 Kansas City Wizards *Teal
        Bunbury Forward University of Akron Rochester Thunder 5 FC
        Dallas[R1 trade 1] Zach Loyd Midfielder University of North
        Carolina Carolina Dynamo 6 Philadelphia Union[R1 trade 2] *Amobi
        Okugo Midfielder UCLA 7 Philadelphia Union[R1 trade 3] *Jack
        McInerney Forward Cobb Soccer Club 8 Columbus Crew[R1 trade 4]
        *Dilly Duka Midfielder Rutgers University Newark Ironbound Express
        9 New England Revolution Zack Schilawski Forward Wake Forest
        University Cary Clarets 10 Chivas USA *Blair Gavin Midfielder
        University of Akron Bradenton Academics 11 Seattle Sounders FC
        David Estrada Forward UCLA

    • SSReporters says:

      Not every international break is a friendly week though……

  2. Roger (SJ Quakes fan) says:

    Actually there was one MLS game this weekend, San Jose vs New
    England. Of course, neither teams are in the playoffs, nor had any
    players selected for the National team that would affect the club’s
    performance.

  3. The original Tom says:

    There were two games this weekend, but, as the article said, they
    were make-ups. I agree with everything in this article except that
    I think it was good that CONCACAF remained at 3 1/2 World Cup
    spots. 3 1/2 spots means more pressure, and, thus, more excitement.
    No team other than Mexico and the US has made an impact in the
    tournament so the number is reasonable. Plus, experiencing real
    pressure probably improves the US and Mexico. Also, importantly,
    the decision meant that the Hexagonal remained- the Hex is great!

    • Robert says:

      To say USA and Mexico are locks is an understatement. Don’t forget
      Mexico was struggling to get results and turned it around in Costa
      Rica. As for USA this cycle, I have a feeling USA is going to have
      trouble getting results abroad. We still haven’t solved back-line
      issues and strikers still can’t finish.

    • Charles says:

      Long live the HEX.

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