Well there is a headline that I thought I would never be putting up, except on April Fools Day. Congratulations to the players, staff, and fans of the Colorado Rapids on winning the 2010 MLS Cup. These are going to be days that you will remember for the rest of your life, enjoy them and the victory.
It was an interesting match were both teams tried to stick to their style of play and in the end neither dominated, it is somehow fitting that the end of the match came on a own goal of a ball that wouldn't have posed much threat on it's own. In the end it was the kind of match that I think a lot of people at MLS HQ feared, it was a ugly match and MLS needs to take some ownership of that fact. I don't blame the players or teams, you push as far as you can and that is to be expected. It is a shame that no matter what type of match, the result or style of play that the play on the pitch won't be the long lasting story from the MLS Cup.
There are two things that will stick with me from Sunday night, and it is unfortunate that neither of them are the performances of the teams, rather the fact that MLS showcased how bad it needs real officials as anyone watching that match had to be confused as to what was and wasn't a foul. The only upside to the horrible job done by the officials is that they were bad both ways and neither team was put at a disadvantage as a result.
more after the jump
The second is the clear fact that "the Don" has lost his mind or that he is simply not worthy of being the spokesperson or leader of Major League Soccer. He announced before the match, and at halftime two things that simply show how disconnected from the millions of fans who buy tickets to MLS matches he is. He has expanded the playoffs to now include 10 teams (with some yet to be announced play in system) and heavily hinted that there would be no more moving teams from one conference to another for the playoffs. He deflected a lot of pressure that would have been placed on him by saying they aren't really sure and need 30 more days to work out the details. Sure you do, you already know but want the comfort of limited off season coverage to sneak your changes in.
Then he went even further in a clear case of pandering to FIFA and suggested that the league is looking at moving it's schedule to align with FIFA, and even mentioned a split season. Now almost everyone tells me this is just pandering in front of the awarding of the 2018/2022 World Cups which happens in a couple weeks, and I am not sure which would bother me more.
Is the leader of MLS willing to sacrifice his good name floating BS ideas in an attempt to gain international favor, does he realize that not only does that make him look bad but the league? This is twice in the last year I have heard him talk about this topic, and I don't think it is pandering at all. I think that he is out of ideas and listening to everyone and anyone who puts forth ideas to him on what might make the league better. There is an upside of following the international schedule, but when you add in the fact that the only way MLS could do it is with a split schedule, that should be the end of the discussion. I don't know any fans that favor a split season, and I believe if you want to kill MLS, then adopt it.
It is a shame that two teams put out every bit of effort, that thousands of fans came out in bad weather conditions to watch the match and while in Denver the talk will be of their first MLS Cup win, around the league, around the US, and in part around the world the talk will likely be on two topics that stole the show.
OFF MY SOAPBOX