gay4soccer MLS Schedule Mini-Roundtable
The MLS Schedule was released yesterday, setting Twitter into its usual flurry of comments surrounding the many changes featured. It’s the premiere of the Montreal Impact, who will get their season started against cross-country rivals the Vancouver Whitecaps. It’s the longest MLS schedule ever, with the MLS Cup Championship game pegged for Saturday, December 1. It’s a return to an unbalanced schedule, creating some interesting rivalry match-ups that seem ready-made to be featured as part of MLS’ return to broadcast television as part of the new deal with NBC Sports.
So what does our slate of gay4soccer writers think of the schedule and how it affects their team. Check out some of their thoughts after the jump.
Adam (New England Revolution) - Selfishly, it’s nice to see that Revs fans will be able to travel en masse to each of our closest rivals this year (New York, Philadelphia, and Montreal). The last few years, it’s seemed that MLS managed to schedule our away rivalry games on Wednesdays and Thursdays, making big road trips impossible.
I will be interested to see if the unbalanced schedule helps or hurts the league as a whole. No, the Northeast won’t see the Galaxy coming to town at all, but we’ll have loads of opportunities to beat up on each other. The Revs’ last eight games are all conference opponents. It’s like September in MLB – you can only get into the playoffs by kicking the crap out of your neighbors.
Tommy (LA Galaxy) - I’m mixed on the concept of an unbalanced, region-based schedule. On the one hand, an unbalanced schedule provides teams a relaxed travel schedule that may go far in maintaining on-field quality. This is also a boon for fans on the coast and the Great Lakes region – more chances to travel “locally” to support your team on the road. This is also a good thing.
On the other hand… 2012 is setting up to look like a repeat of 2011 in terms of conference dominance. The Western Conference is primed to field the arguably stronger teams in the league. Unlike 2011, however, this will not be reflected in the standings, the top three teams in the league – Galaxy, RSL, and Seattle, will play each other more than twice. And most of the time, someone will lose.
This doesn’t even take into consideration two of the above still competing in 2011/12 CCL play, resuming in March… and all three representing MLS in the 2012/13 edition, due to start in late summer. These teams’ priorities, mixed with an unbalanced, heavyweight schedule, may disproportionately reflect upon the league’s table.
Meanwhile, a team like New York or Philly will run roughshod over their weaker schedule and compete for a Supporter’s Shield they probably wouldn’t otherwise deserve.
The net result? An unbalanced 2012 schedule will set up for some shocking playoff inclusions and some even more shocking playoff omissions.