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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The *kinda* International Break
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, with popularity in every continent. The World Cup is the second most watched international competition, only beat by the Olympics. Soccer is essentially year-round as their are domestic leagues running throughout the whole year. The European leagues generally run from August to May, while America's MLS runs March to December. Other leagues schedules vary.

FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, sets 4-5 international breaks in the year so the national teams can play their competitions and meet in friendlies. The problem is the MLS and some South American leagues choose to play on these weekends. The MLS loses many of their top players that leave to play in the international games. The LA Galaxy's Robbie Keane, reigning MLS MVP, left to join Ireland, and the Galaxy also without Americans Gyasi Zardes and Omar Gonzalez for their match versus DC United. Overall 58 of 560 MLS players were with their international teams instead of playing with their club teams.

Seattle Sounders M Clint Dempsey was among
several Americans on international duty this past
weekend. (World Soccer Talk)
Orlando City manager Adrian Heath appeared to be disappointed in the non-observance of the break, but pushed ahead with the team available. With injuries, Orlando was out 12 players. Heath said to, "It is the smallest squad I can ever remember having for a game. You don’t ever imagine being in this situation when you have 28 on your roster. We have brought everybody who is fit but we have been saying since Monday about thinking positive and just controlling the controllables.". The Orlando squad only had 5 players on the bench, relying on veteran Brazilian midfielder Kaka to carry the team. Kaka scored the late equalizer last Saturday for a 2-2 draw against Montreal. Most MLS managers and fans are keen to eliminate these overlapping games, as it causes the best of the league to miss 5-6 games a year.  MLS needs to fix their scheduling if they want higher ratings and attendance.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! "58 out of 560 MLS players were with their International teams instead of playing with their club teams." That is about 10%! I agree, that MLS needs to fix their scheduling if they want a more popular league. One thing that is definitely helping the league's popularity is old players finishing their carers with the MLS, such as David Beckham, Thierry Henry, and now Kaka and David Villa. I also heard that Puyol might come back from retirement to play in the MLS. Overall, good post, and I hope the MLS will become more popular.