The Oz Blog View about stuff while living in the Land of Oz

5Jan/12Off

MLS Schedule Ideas

In my previous blog I posted about the lengths of break that MLS teams take compared to other teams from across the world. Now coming up with a list of complaints and no solutions is useless and annoying to me. Below are two solutions that I have come up with that anyone would help the MLS. For any solution the first question raised is going to be the weather problem in MLS cities compared to Europe. (We will use the same teams as last time: MLS Teams: LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, Sporting KC; Manchester United, English Premier League; Barcelona, Spanish La Liga; AC Milan, Italian Serie A; Nottingham Forrest, English Championship; Tigres UANL, Primera de Mexico) As you can see below for most of the cities it is not that big of a difference in the winter months.

 

Monthly Average Temperatures:

 

TEAM

H/L

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

ManU

H

43

43

48

52

59

64

67

67

62

56

48

44

L

34

34

36

39

45

50

53

53

50

45

38

35

Bar

H

55

57

60

62

68

75

81

82

78

70

62

57

L

40

41

44

47

53

60

66

67

62

54

46

42

AC M

H

40

46

55

63

71

79

84

81

75

64

50

41

L

28

32

37

44

52

59

63

62

56

47

38

30

NF

H

40

45

50

54

60

65

70

70

64

57

49

46

L

34

34

37

39

43

48

52

52

50

45

39

36

Tigres

H

67

72

81

86

90

94

94

95

89

83

75

69

L

48

51

58

65

70

74

74

74

71

64

56

50

KC

H

39

45

56

67

76

85

90

89

80

68

54

42

L

22

26

36

47

57

67

72

70

61

49

37

26

SEA

H

47

50

54

59

64

70

76

76

71

60

51

46

L

37

37

39

43

48

52

56

57

53

47

51

36

LA

H

68

69

70

73

74

78

83

84

83

79

73

68

L

48

49

51

54

57

60

64

64

63

59

52

47

 

Now there are also some traditional MLS teams that play in colder weather cities. Below are two that I consider to be the worse for temperature to play soccer in.

 

TEAM

H/L

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

COL

H

45

46

54

61

71

81

88

86

77

64

52

43

L

18

20

26

34

44

53

59

57

48

36

25

17

MTRL

H

22

24

36

52

65

75

79

76

67

55

41

37

L

04

07

19

32

43

53

58

55

47

37

27

11

 

The two cities above, plus possibly more, make it very hard for the MLS to change their schedule to match that of Europe and the FIFA calendar.  That being said there are options available that can make the MLS more competitive in keeping the US talent and also bringing in foreign talent.

 

The first solution that I came up with was to stretch out the season a couple more weeks on each end.  This year MLS is starting around the second weekend in March.  If you move that forward to the end of February then you can add a game or two at the front end.  Now on the back end if you had the finals on the second weekend of December this would give you almost another month of playing time.  With the top five teams making the playoffs and a total of six needed game days.  Even with the added amount of time needed for the playoffs you can still add regular season games.  The whole purpose of stretching out the season would be to make the regular season a little longer and so that you can play a complete balanced schedule.  This will just add two regular season games but also give more time to play a few friendlies, take an off week every so often, and take a break when National Team tournaments come around, i.e. World Cup and Olympics.

 

The second solution that I came up with is the creation of a winter league in either Florida or Southwest or both.  This would be primarily for players that are not injured, able to secure a loan or transfer to Europe, or players invited to National Team camps. Just thinking about this off the top of my head you could start a week or two after the finals and run for about six to eight weeks, ending about the end of January.  Then take another week or two off and come back for preseason training.  This would allow teams to continue to be together and train together while giving the coaches a chance to look at their younger players in game situations that don’t count for the regular season or playoffs.  You can have a staggered start for teams also.  For teams that don’t make a playoffs (plus the loser of the first game) on one date then after the finals the playoff teams.  Play a total of just 10 games or so. Enough to keep the rust off but not so much that it hurts players and keeps them out of the regular season.

 

Major League Baseball has used the Arizona Fall League and Caribbean Winter League for years as chances to get younger players more playing time and help them work on their development.  Another good thing about this is that the coach would be able to see their players and know what players need a break here and there.  They know how hard the players work during the regular season.  If a player goes on loan or training with a European team then the coach does not know how much work they were able to get in.

 

For the long run I think the idea of a winter league in the US would be more beneficial. It will give the coaches and players more time together and improve the quality of play.  Even if two teams would like to combine forces and just produce one team then it would help all parties involved. The main idea is to keep the players playing and not taking such a long break between the end of their season and the beginning of the next.

31Dec/11Off

MLS Length of Season

On October 10, 2011 US Men National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann made comments about the length of the current MLS season.  I didn’t think too much about it until news keeps coming out about MLS players going on training stents with European teams or just working out on their own.  Sporting Kansas City’s own CJ Sapong said as much during his interview with Yanks Abroad about his call up to the USMNT.  Now why is Sapong working on improvements taken from the USMNT coach own his own or at the max with just a few people?  For the development of the league and US players something needs to be done.  I did some comparisons of MLS Teams (LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, and Sporting KC), European Teams (Manchester United, English Premier League; Barcelona, Spanish La Liga; AC Milan, Italian Serie A; Nottingham Forest; English League Championship) and Mexican Team (Tigres UANL, Primera de Mexico).

 

Below you can see how much difference the number of games and length of breaks taken throughout the world is and why it seems that MLS players take so much time off. The first thing that many people know is that FIFA’s world football calendar runs August/July to April/May. MLS does not run this way but they are the only major league. Mexico runs two separate seasons with the top eight teams going into a home and home aggregate playoff.  They take a small break in winter and a longer break in summer.

 

Calendar year 2011

 

TEAM

GAMES PLAYED

LEAGUES

DAYS BREAK

LAST GAME/ FIRST GAME

ManU

62

Barclays Premier League, UEFA Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, FA Community Shield

70

UEFA Champions League/FA Community Shield

Nott Forest

53

English League Champions,  FA Cup, Carling Cup

87

English League Champions/English League Champions

Barcelona

60

La Liga, Copa del Rey, UEFA Champions League, Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup

77

UEFA Champions League/Super Cup

AC Milan

50

Serie A, UEFA Champions League, Super Cup, Coppa Italia

75

Serie A/Super Cup

Tigres UANL

42

Primera de Mexico

76

Primera de Mexico (Clausura 2011)/ Primera de Mexico (Apertura 2011)

 

FIFA Season 2010/2011

 

TEAMS

GAMES PLAYED

LEAGUES

DAYS BREAK FROM 2009/2010

DAYS BREAK TO 2011/2012

ManU

60

Barclays Premier League, UEFA Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, FA Community Shield

90

70

Nott Forest

53

English League Champions,  FA Cup, Carling Cup

87

81

Barcelona

60

La Liga, Copa del Rey, UEFA Champions League

104

77

AC Milan

51

Serie A, UEFA Champions League, Coppa Italia

105

78

QPR

49

English League Champions, FA Cup, Carling Cup, Barclays Premier League

96

97

 

MLS

 

TEAMS

GAMES PLAYED

LEAGUES

DAYS BREAK FROM 2010

DAYS BREAK TO 2012

Seattle

49

MLS, CONCACAF Champions League, US Open Cup

127

126

LA

46

MLS, CONCACAF Champions League, US Open Cup

120

107

Sporting KC

39

MLS, US Open Cup

146

131

 

As you can see from this small sample size the MLS teams play a significantly fewer games then their European counterparts and take a much longer break in between their seasons.  Even if a team is playing in the MLS Playoffs and CONCACAF Champions League their break is still long.

 

What is there to do about the significantly long breaks for many players? Is this something that the MLS should be worried about? Does it affect the players that are off for 140 days or so? Does it ultimately hurt the League in the way of prestige, talent, competitiveness? There are so many questions that can be asked and solutions that can be guessed on.  Some of the more fortunate players are afforded the opportunity to train with a European club or even go on loan to a European club.  But are those few players getting the most for their time or would it be better spent with their club here in the MLS?  This is a problem that MLS will need to look at sooner rather than later.

 

11Nov/11Off

Veteran’s Day – 2011


Veteran's day is upon us and it is time for those to honor veterans whether they be young or old.

It has seem that people the last decade have really taken an appreciation for veterans and given them the respect that they deserve. It would seem like it should be that way but it hasn't always been that way for some reason. Yeah more then half the veterans might not of actually put their life on the line but 99% of people don't even serve in the armed forces, so take that into consideration when you might see someone who did serve but didn't do much and you jus blow them off or show them disrespect.

When I was was younger it just always seemed like the only veterans I possibly knew we're my grandpa's age when in reality they are all over the place and as I get older I find that out more and more each year but a lot of them don't always go on and on about it. They figured they were just doing their job and why should they receive praise for that.

I am a lot like that. I personally served six plus year in the Marine Corps Reserves with a year of that being activated during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. I didn't do hardly anything besides what was asked of me and I tend to not go out seeking rewards or praise for what I did. I most times don't really know what to do when somebody finds out I was a vet and thanks me for my service because as soon as they do my mind immediately goes to the men and women that actually gave their lives for our country.

Even people like my great uncle who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor when he was stationed on the U.S.S Oklahoma and was thrown from the ship during the attack as he was headed towards church service. He was also later involved in the Midway Conflict. he survived all that was just recently passed away this year.

It is people like him that all of us, even other veterans, that I think we should be celebrating and honoring the most. But that isn't the way things work and it is still a great honor to be recognized on days like this.

21Aug/11Off

Two and Two: Real Madrid – Barcelona FC (Copa Del Ray, 2nd Leg)

2-2-madrid-barca

Well I am convinced that Spain just wants Real Madrid and Barcelona to play each other at least once a week. Granted the games wouldn't always end up being as good as the ones we get, but the ones we do get typically turn out to be pretty freaking incredible. The 2nd Leg of this Cope Del Ray game was no exception. 90 edge of your seats viewing pleasure that was near becoming a 120 + Possible PK game.

REAL MADRID
- Seemed to do very well attacking when controlling the ball. Not to say that they didn't control the game that well, but it is obvious that Real Madrid seems to be on a mission this year to do even better then last year and make a major push on Barca for the league title.

- Were playing at Barcelona's Home Stadium. Which put Real Madrid at a huge disadvantage. It would be like a top NFL team going to Kansas City Chiefs stadium when they are doing good and adding about 10K - 20K more fans. Yes that is about how big some of these stadiums are over in Europe. Some people tend to think that all the stadiums are only like 20K total people. While that is a typical stadium that is not accurate for teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Man U who has more history by themselves then probably all of American NFL. So like I was saying it will always be hard for Real Madrid to play football(soccer) at Barca's stadium and visa versa.

BARCELONA
- Obviously played like Barca does and dominated the ball. For the most part and although might not of shot nearly as much as Real Madrid made each of those important runs, especially in the first half being up 2-1.

- Defense allowed to many close calls. They cannot completely rely on their GK who I am not convinced is really all that great, well at least compared to some of the really good ones like Cassillas but even he has his bad moments. Real Madrid got quite a few well placed shots off squar on target but most just missing or the GK just getting a hand on it. If any of these other teams can expose that more so then RM then Barca could potentially have a problem, but they do score a lot too, so it is probably noting to worry about.

15Aug/11Off

2 and 2: Real Madrid – Barcelona FC (Copa Del Ray, 1st Leg)

2-2-madrid-barca

Real Madrid and Barcelona are probably two of the most storied teams in the world and they happen to play in the same league and country. With that being said you can only imagine that when these two teams play each other a lot gets put on the line. Well the La Liga season hasn't quite started yet but these two teams just played each other in another great match for the 1st Leg of the Copa Del Ray cup which Real Madrid won last year and are obviously looking to retain.

REAL MADRID
- Started off really good and was obvious they really pushed themselves in preseason. I guess that kind of goes with out saying if you watched any of their games against the MLS during the World Football Challenge. I was nervous that they might of started letting up and relaxing but it didn't really look like it.

- Almost seem to let up for a little while after Barca scored their 2nd goal and first part of 2nd half. at least it seemed like it but when these two teams play each other weird things tend to happen and maybe they were just trying to change the flow of the game because they were able to eventually tie it up 2-2 which then they were able to hold on to till full time.

BARCELONA
- Didn't seem to start of very strong but barca has that tendency to start off really slow. Granted Barcelona usually seems to start off slow and by the end o the game are past full speed but there just seemed to be something different about this start. Maybe it was because they were play at Real Madrid's stadium or maybe they just didn't have as good a preseason as Real Madrid but something seemed off for a while even allowing Real Madrid to score in the 12th minute of what would be a 2-2 draw.

- Seemed to push very well up to a point and then went into a defensive stance. They then allowed Real Madrid to come back to tie it up and still didn't seem to push back much until 15 or so minutes left in the game. Only problem was that Madrid had momentum swinging in their direction and it was a little to late. Luckily they did at least get the draw and they will play each other again in just a couple days at Barcelona this time.

Real Madrid could of really used this victory because it is just as tough to go into Barca's stadium and if they tie then I believe the game goes into extra time and possibly PKs if still tied at the end of that. Regardless it should be an interesting match and I really look forward to the end result. Then La Liga starts on the weekend and we all get to watch Spanish Football.