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Fixture Congestion be Damned: Impact Impress Again

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Roberto Brown was not good enough for Fernando Clavijo. But he’s been good enough for Montreal of the second flight, USL leading the Impact to the league semifinals and now more importantly scoring two goals to give the Impact a huge road three points in Honduras against Olimpia in the CONCACAF Champions League. This was the third game in a stretch which will see Montreal play six games in eleven days, all the matches being either Champions League or USL playoff games. This point is precisely why when MLS fans complain about fixture congestion I cannot help but laugh at them.

Throwing out the result of a dispirited and quite frankly completely overmatched DC United team who right now is the laughing stock of the Champions League, Matchday three was very good for MLS and USL sides. (DC did play much better tonight than they have in the previous two Champions League matches but I recall a time not so long ago where DC would automatically get a result at home in an international competition. Besides Cruz Azul was playing its second eleven) Houston became the first MLS team ever to get a result in a competitive match in Mexico City with a 4-4 draw at Pumas. Puerto Rico continued an unbeaten streak of 17 games with a hard fought 2-2 draw in Guatemala against Municipal, and as discussed above Montreal beat Olimpia on the road.

Back to Brown. For my money he was the Rapids most dangerous player early last season. I saw him in person at DSG Park and was amazed by his skill off the ball. But for whatever reason, after making a big deal about signing him, Clavijo let him go after about 10 matches. Rather than go back to Panama, he latched on in USL with Montreal (as by the way many quality foreign players who get waived in MLS have in the past) and he has made a remarkable impact, no pun intended on the Quebec based club.

As things stand now, three MLS/USL teams have a very good chance of advancing to the knock out stages of the event. That’s something we all can be proud of.

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  1. Footballer

    March 22, 2009 at 1:09 am

    undrafted: What are you trying to say? That some teams don’t prioritise their continental tournament? That would be rubbish. The ConcaChampions is the premier North American tournament. The Islanders and Impact outlasted ALL the other “Major League” teams. And now the Islanders are 90 minutes away from the final. So the UL>ML. Their football has been better in 2007-2009.

  2. undrafted

    October 3, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I know USL does it to save money. I still don't like it. In NCAA either.

    It's rare in Europe to not have 2 off days. Usually games are rescheduled or managers put out reserves for 1 of the games.

    MLS needs an excuse only if you think this tournament is worth the effort. I'm still not convinced that its time has come. For some teams to win it will take something like 14 games (assuming the elimination rounds are 2-legged). That's half a pro season right there. When exactly did MLS redefine its business model to account for that? The games draw squat and don't pay for themselves. Mexican teams are putting out reserves too. The market just isn't anywhere close to justifying such a prolonged event. And it's not going make any difference in the next MLS player going to Europe (Edu, Altidore, Guzan did just fine without this “showcase”).

    Someone tell Seattle the're going to the wrong league already …

  3. Bishopville Red

    October 3, 2008 at 5:51 am

    UNDRAFTED – I'm not sure how getting battered with two games in short succession actually prepares you for more battering. You do not “get used to” being knackered. USL doesn't use that as a strategy for success in additional events; if they could afford it, they'd pace out their schedule much differently.

    Besides, there are many cases of Premiership and other European club sides getting a Sunday – Tuesday / Wednesday – Saturday run due to Cup or European commitments. It happens all over the world. It's usually considered a trapping of success. If you don't want that frequency of matches, it'll be taken away from you quickly. Additionally, don't US colleges follow a weekend-heavy schedule? And isn't that where a large number of MLS players come from? This isn't new to any North American player!

    MLS has no excuse for their poor showing compared to USL clubs. From earning the opportunity to represent their country, to group qualifiers, to the group stage itself, USL sides have consistently earned results; MLS sides have consistently embarrassed themselves.

    KARTIK – Time to change this to USL TALK. Turns out the “a League” is the real “A” League in North America!

  4. Louis

    October 2, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Roberto Brown was effective with Colorado but cooped an attitude and was waived.

    Clavijo made a mistake. Is this shocking considering he did nothing but make mistakes in his tenure?

    Montreal also has Matt Jordan who was quality for many years in MLS. He saved the game last night for the Impact.

  5. undrafted

    October 2, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Funny how noone ever responds with substance.

    USL has shown well. The players have taken advantage of this exposure. But I couldn't help to point out that playing off of one or two days rest is nothing new for these teams. Something virtually no other fully professional league does on a regular basis. Any win on the road is impressive (ask Panathinaikos and Chelsea) and these Central American teams can be dangerous, but I'd bet Montreal has a higher payroll, something few here seem to have in perspective.

    I don't know where you think I'm getting this stuff. Maybe MSL should pay me to give them talking points? 🙂

  6. Lawrence

    October 2, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Undrafted has got it!

    Fixture congestion helps USL. They are more used to it!

    So the results they have achieved are illegitimate. They are not professionals. Only MLS players are pros. So the fact that they have less money and theoretically should have less depth helps them!

    Maybe MLS should lower the salary cap?

    Man I hope Garber compensates you well. You are like Baghdad Bob.

  7. undrafted

    October 2, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    USL is a Friday/Sunday league. That's not very professional but it does prepare teams for this sort of congestion.

    Roberto Brown was out of shape and isn't missed in Colorado. They're happy with Conor Casey.

  8. LR

    October 2, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Montreal and Puerto Rico are both deeper and more talented than many MLS teams. I don't know why you insist on continuing to compare the leagues. We get your point that USL is under appreciated. Now can we just talk about the games?

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