Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Random Soccer Thoughts-MLS, CONCACAF Champions League, ESPN Broadcast

Major League Soccer (MLS) kicked off it's 16th season last night with the Los Angeles Galaxy beating the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field 1-0. I'm thrilled that the season finally started!

The environment at Qwest, the Sounders home field, was fantastic. I'm sure the Galaxy are very happy getting 3 points out of the match. The MLS should be pleased with the opening match broadcast on ESPN, except for the fact that Real Salt Lake was playing the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals at the very same time on Fox Soccer Channel.

MLS executives have said many times that success in the CONCACAF Champions League is very important for MLS clubs. Real Salt lake is the first MLS club to reach the semi-finals in the current format of the league. They ended up winning at home against the Costa Rican club Saprissa, taking a 2-0 lead into the second league which will be played at Saprissa's home field on April 5th. I just don't understand why they would have scheduled the MLS season opening match on the same night as an historic match for Real Salt Lake.

Speaking of scheduling snafus...March 26th is a FIFA International fixture date. Several National teams around the World will be playing friendlies, including the US Men's National Team. Another problem. The MLS continues to schedule regular season games on International fixture dates. On March 26th, the Columbus Crew play the New York Red Bull at home and the Red Bull will be missing 6 potential starters due to various International call-ups. Obviously this is good for the Crew, playing a weakened Red Bull team, but as a season ticket holder of the Crew, I would rather see them play the Red Bull at full strength.

Another thought:

-Taylor Twellman has joined Alexi Lalas and Max Bretos as an analyst on the ESPN MLS broadcasts for the 2011 season. Alexi Lalas is over the top in his opinions, but fairly entertaining. Taylor Twellman has improved since I saw him last year on ESPN broadcasts. But both were extremely critical of David Beckham last night regarding his training regimen and for not joining the the Los Angeles Galaxy until late in the preseason. I actually agreed with some of their points, but I think both made it a bigger deal than it actually is. I'm actually rooting for David Beckham to have a great year for the Galaxy!
ESPN Broadcast Analysts Max Bretos, Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman

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