Never look a cash cow in the mouth. That’s the mantra in football these days, especially when everyone seems to want that little bit of the pie.
Sports Illustrated reported Friday that the MLS Board of Governors are considering increasing the number of fixtures each team plays next season from 30 to 34. Not only would this create a perfectly balanced schedule, where each team plays each other once both home and away, it always generates a lot more income for the League in the process.
Whether the impetus behind this move is more financial than alignment, I don’t really care. It would just be great to have the MLS looking that little bit closer to what a proper football division should look like. The word is that there will not be a single table at this time sadly, but that the Eastern and Western conferences would stay. It’s something I can live with for now, but would hope to see the adoption of a single table as being the next major change for the League.
None of this is certain of going ahead of course, as the final decision lies with the team owners and they will vote on any such proposals during the week of the MLS Cup in November. You would just hope that they would have enough common sense and football savvy to give the fans what they want though, with the added incentive of a few extra bucks likely to be the thing that swings it.
With there not being a desire to extend the season, for weather and media reasons, the next stumbling block for a move to an increased season is that of fixture congestion.
Some will argue that it will be hard to fit in the extra games, especially if those pushing for proper breaks when the World Cup and Gold Cup are on get their way, which I have to say is looking increasingly unlikely. The obvious answer is that of increased midweek games and that’s something I’d love!
There’s nothing better than a midweek game for atmosphere as far as I’m concerned and we’ve had some cracking nights like this at Swangard in recent years.
If we’re really lucky and the schedulers/fixtures computer are nice to us, some of these midweek games may allow us an epic road trip or two. It would be fantastic to travel down for a Californian double or triple header for example.
A couple of big stumbling blocks may scupper such dreams though.
All the Nutrilite Championship, U.S. Open Cup, SuperLiga and CONCACAF Champions League games also need to be scheduled in. I would hate for the Caps for example to downplay the Voyaguers Cup games and field weakened squads.
We’ve seen over the years how clubs in Europe seem to fight hard for their Europa League spots and UEFA Cup places before that. Then what happens as soon as they get into the competition? It becomes a giant pain in the ass for them and they field understrength sides and go out early. That’s always pissed me off. If they don’t want to be there in the first place, then let others in that do.
The nice alignment of it all wouldn’t last long either.
Montreal joining the MLS in 2012 would means that unless they add a 20th team at the same time (highly likely I would say), then we’re back to the odd numbers game. Even adding a 20th team will increase the fixtures further from 34 to 38 and that might not be too easy to get past the powers that be.
My solution for this would be to just keep the French fuckers out in the first place. Problem solved!
A 38 game season, with single table hopefully, may just be what we have though in 2012. It doesn’t do other Leagues around the world any harm and the more Whitecaps games I can get, the better.
November is going to be a very interesting time as it is in MLS world and this development just adds to it.