Respect Not Easily Earned For North American Leagues

Yesterday we were complaining about how football doesn’t get the respect, column inches and airtime that it deserves in North America.

When it comes to the respect aspect though, the Leagues don’t exactly make it easy on themselves.

You already have the world ridiculing the set ups in the MLS and USL.

Leagues that make the entire regular season seem pointless and worthless, as it’s all about the playoffs. Leagues that have most of their teams qualifying for these said playoffs. Leagues which don’t have relegation. The major league that doesn’t allow for youth development. The second league that seems to set their fixtures by way of a chicken walking across a map of the continent and makes teams play games on consecutive nights.

The list could go on for several paragraphs.

With the USL’s showpiece game(s) of the season imminent, those fans that consider them no better than “bush league” have been given something else to just sit and shake their heads at – the actual date and time of the Championship final second leg still appears to be somewhat of a mystery.

After Vancouver’s victory over Portland on Sunday, Fox Soccer Channel (Fox Sportsworld in Canada), who were showing the game live, announced the dates for the final (also to be shown live on the channels) as Saturday 10th October in Vancouver and Sunday 18th October in Montreal.

This was great news for those Whitecaps fans wanting to travel cross country to see their team win back to back Championships. It gave them the whole weekend to get there. Hopefully no fans booked their flights at that particular moment.

On Monday, Montreal announced that the second leg would take place at 2.30pm EST on the Saturday 17th October instead. From an initial look, this seemed like being due to the fact that the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team were playing at home that night and the city’s CFL side were at home the following afternoon. No other sporting clashes for them, should maximise their crowd.

It made sense, even though it disappointed the Vancouver fans that would be unable to make the trip now or even watch it live due to work commitments.

The Whitecaps front office though indicated that they believed this date was still under discussion as the USL seemed to want the game played on the Sunday.

You’d think that as the bosses, the League would have the final say but seemingly not, as on Tuesday both the Vancouver and Montreal websites stated that the second leg was indeed at 2.30pm EST on Saturday 17th October.

Well, that seemed to be the end of it. Yeah, right. In the USL, nothing is as straight forward as it seems.

Yesterday evening, Fox Soccer Report were plugging their coverage of the two game Championship final and announced that they were showing the second leg of the final live on Saturday 17th October, but at 8.30pm EST!

Wow. The whole piss up in a brewery simile seems made for the USL.

At the time of writing this, no one is 100% sure who to believe and when the actual match kicks off. The fact that Vancouver fans can’t book their flights and hotels until they know when they have to be there is scandalous. The longer it is before it is finalised, the more expensive the flights become and the availability becomes less.

Well done to the USL for seemingly making a complete shambles of proceedings. Is it little wonder that teams are looking to break away and form their own new League next season? if it isn’t the USL’s fault, they haven’t exactly helped matters by not making any public statement about this on their website.

Whatever the outcome is and whenever the game is, the message that comes across is that no one seems to give a toss about the fans. Way to win over a sporting public that doesn’t look favourably on football as it is.

Only in (North) America.

Authored by: Michael McColl

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Brian at 15:46

    “You already have the world ridiculing the set ups in the MLS and USL.”

    Really? The world ridicules them? I thought most of the world really didn't pay attention. I didn't realize there was all this ridicule. I guess that's why Don Garber and Sunil Gulati are at the Leaders of Football event. Makes it easier for “the world” to ridicule them after pretending to have them speak at a prestigious event.

    And MLS does not prevent youth development. It merely took longer to set up than some people would have liked. Teams are signing players straight from their academy sides now.

    But don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant.

  2. Jarrett at 15:51

    Seriously, how many fans of these two teams are going to fly across the country for a game that is going to be on FSC?

    A handful perhaps? But we're not talking about thousands of traveling supporters.

    Both Vancouver and Montreal are part of the breakaway TOA at the moment. They are probably just fracking with the League for the sake of stirring the pot.

  3. GoF at 03:59


    I should have probably said “fans worldwide ridicule them”. Coming from the UK, I know how the MLS is viewed by many football fans there and having friends in Australia and New Zealand, there as well. I admit that that's maybe not the entire world!

    Many think of it as a mickey mouse set up with less than passionate fans. The latter of which is clearly wrong and the subject of a blog later this week.

    As for youth development, I stand by my view that the MLS are not doing what they should and it was nearly a stumbling block for the Whitecaps entrance to the League. Their youth set up is worthy of adopting as the MLS flagship policy.


    Yeah, I totally agree with what you said. It's just frustrating that we have people looking to book flights and they were being given potentially troublesome conflicting info.

    The second leg has now been confirmed with a 2.30pm EST kick off though.

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