SUN, 11AM ET
WBA4
BUR0
MON, 3PM ET
STO1
NEW0
TUES, 2:45PM ET
MCFC1
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TUES, 2:45PM ET
SCP0
CFC1
WED, 2:45PM ET
ARS4
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WED, 2:45PM ET
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LFC0

Freezing Weather Conditions and Clashes With College Football Mar MLS Cup Again: Monday Soccer Insider

2013 mls cup 600x337 Freezing Weather Conditions and Clashes With College Football Mar MLS Cup Again: Monday Soccer Insider

MLS Cup 2013 was a great spectacle for the top flight league in the United States. But the below freezing temperatures made the match difficult to play and reinforced why despite constant pressure from fans and FIFA, MLS has chosen to keep its calendar the way it is. Playing in the winter in the northern USA and Canada is nearly impossible. I was at the 2010 MLS Cup in Toronto and found the freezing temperatures to be both difficult for the players on the pitch and also for fans from around the continent who flew into town for this the biggest spectacle in North American club soccer.  Complaints about Toronto hosting were plentiful to the point where I believed MLS would probably use a rotation going forward of Houston, Dallas and LA (eventually Orlando and Miami) to host its showcase event. However, after the 2011 season MLS decided to reward the team with the best record by giving them hoisting rights for MLS Cup, this helped ticket sales and ambiance no doubt but impacted the soccer on display.

A greater concern for MLS has to be going head to head with college (American) football conference title games, which has now happened for two successive years. This date doesn’t work as well as it should for MLS Cup and ESPN. Then again, given MLS’ recent expansion, its decision to break for some internationals and commitment to not playing Thanksgiving weekend, few other dates were available.

Lost in all the excitement about MLS Cup and the World Cup Draw was the strategically timed announcement by the NASL, North America’s second tier that the Virginia Cavalry will not begin play in 2014 as previously announced. The suburban Washington DC side sports local ownership in Loudon County Virginia has fallen victim to delays in stadium construction and a recent management shuffle. The concept of the team is one I wholeheartedly support which is to place teams in suburban areas of big cities in MLS markets but to work towards complementing not competing with the local, established MLS teams. This is a model that other aspiring minor league owners in bigger markets should seek to emulate.

Twitter exploded with lots of question marks about FIFA’s decision to move the Italy-England game from 2am UK time to 11pm UK time. This was a logical decision by soccer’s governing body. Television rights in the UK and Italy are hot properties for soccer’s premier event and losing a marquee matchup outright in both countries was not either in the short-term or long-term interests of the sport.

Many pundits have chosen to focus on the flimsy credentials of Switzerland’s seed in the World Cup. I agree that several European nations based on recent tournament performances and historical pedigree deserved that seed ahead of the Swiss. However, this analysis has often failed to break down how strong Switzerland’s current side actually is. Under the leadership of Ottmar Hitzfeld, one of the most successful club managers of recent times, the side has been transformed. Xherdan Shaqiri gives captain Gökhan İnler a dynamic midfield partner and defensively in Hitzfeld style the side is very well organized and rarely loses its shape.

Newcastle’s French core showed its tactical flexibility and big match ability in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford against Manchester United. The French core of the side has been clicking for weeks with one-time want away Yohan Cabaye’s reintegration into the squad critical for the developing cohesion. Cabaye has played in various roles since the Magpies good run began, and on Saturday played higher up the pitch pushing Moussa Sissoko into a more expansive role. Loïc Rémy, whose time at QPR was marred by injury and rape accusations, has shown a top drawer finishing ability earlier in the season and a remarkable commitment and work-rate in recent matches.

It’s been good to see Joe Allen again in Liverpool’s plans and making an impact recently. As the season wears on and the Reds depth is tested, Allen could play an even more critical role.

In Sunday’s top of the table clash at the Emirates, Roberto Martinez repeated the midfield tactic that brought expansive play to Everton’s game that he had used Wednesday in the shock win at Old Trafford. For whatever reason, Arsene Wenger did not tactically adjust to this setup for 70 minutes and the Gunners themselves looked disinterested in the match for the first 35 minutes. Everton’s domination of the proceedings early seemed almost effortless. Despite this, Arsenal should have grabbed all three points and the inability to wake up earlier and cope with Martinez’s tactical setup will be remembered in May if the title race comes down to just a few points.

Fulham gave perhaps the best effort they have given on Sunday in the past two or three seasons. In particular, the aging Giorgos Karagounis was buzzing around the pitch with great enthusiasm and energy. Steve Sidwell not only scored a goal but got forward with more regularity than I can recall in any match since he joined the Cottagers. What is even better is that the most volatile players on Fulham — Bryan Ruiz, Adel Taarabt and Darren Bent — did not need to be called on for the comprehensive 2-0 victory over Aston Villa.

Spurs’ performance on Saturday was the most comprehensive we have seen from the troubled North London outfit in sometime. Moussa Dembélé controlled the tempo of the game in a way he has not since last season and made some important challenges in midfield to regain possession as well.

Bayern’s 7-0 win over Bremen on Saturday was just the latest chapter in one of the most dominant chapters in modern major European club football. Bayern not only won a treble last season but only dropped 11 points the entire season. This season the Bavarian giants are on an even better trajectory. Barcelona had a great run from 2009 to 2012 but never quite with this level of flat out dominance.

Kevin Nolan’s sending off was disappointing from a veteran player. With West Ham collapsing and depending on the always injured Andy Carroll to provide a spark upon his return, the actions of the Hammers captain in being sent off for a cheeky frustration induced foul was baffling.
In Sunday’s top of the table clash at the Emirates Roberto Martinez repeated the midfield tactic that brought expansive play to Everton’s game that he had used Wednesday in the shock win at Old Trafford. For whatever reason, Arsene Wenger did not tactically adjust to this setup for 70 minutes and the Gunners themselves looked disinterested in the match for the first 35 minutes. Everton’s domination of the proceedings early seemed almost effortless. Despite this, Arsenal should have grabbed all three points and the inability to wake up earlier and cope with Martinez’s tactical setup will be remembered in May if the title race comes down to just a few points.

Fulham gave perhaps the best effort they have given on Sunday in the past two or three seasons. In particular, the aging Giorgos Karagounis was buzzing around the pitch with great enthusiasm and energy. Steve Sidwell not only scored a goal but got forward with more regularity than I can recall in any match since he joined the Cottagers. What is even better is that the most volatile players on Fulham, Bryan Ruiz, Adel Taarabt and Darren Bent did not need to be called on for the comprehensive 2-0 victory over Aston Villa.

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

3 Responses to Freezing Weather Conditions and Clashes With College Football Mar MLS Cup Again: Monday Soccer Insider

  1. Brad says:

    The upcoming might be the best time to play the final in MLS. November and the first of December are the worst time to schedule a final in MLS because of all the NCAA and NFL games. But I did watch the final on Saturday.

  2. CTBlues says:

    The MLS should have the MLS Cup final the week after all the college football conference championships are wrapped up.

  3. gillyrosh says:

    “Many pundits have chosen to focus on the flimsy credentials of Switzerland’s seed in the World Cup. I agree that several European nations based on recent tournament performances and historical pedigree deserved that seed ahead of the Swiss. However, this analysis has often failed to break down how strong Switzerland’s current side actually is.”

    THANK YOU! I heard so many pundits – both UK and US – downplaying Switzerland’s chances, all I could think was that these folks have not seen Switzerland play recently!

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