Another Friday, another match day Caps fans. Not only is it an inter-Canada derby but it’s also the much ballyhooed celebration of the 1979 NASL Championship team, so much to look forward to tonight at BC Place.
In the meantime, there was a news story from earlier this week that caught my eye (as they are wont to do). MLS and Liga MX announced a joint tournament, the Leagues Cup, between 8 teams of the two competitions, which will rotate in and out from year to year.
If you’re having a hard time keeping track of these continental tournaments, you’re not alone. This comes in addition to the Campeones Cup, between the winners of the Liga MX Clausura and MLS Cup (which is weirdly not sanctioned by CONCACAF, while the Leagues Cup is). And both are on top of the more legitimate CONCACAF Champions League, in which Mexican teams generally have no problem beating their American counterparts like a drum.
And therein lies at least one of the motivating factors in the tournament. MLS is reportedly frustrated that their teams have fared so poorly against Mexican opposition and rather than changing the spending rules to, you know, let teams bring in better players, they’ve conjured up a tournament that will conveniently also make themselves a decent bit of money.
The weird thing is I’m not sure how much money will be generated by this shindig. The MLS teams participating are Real Salt Lake, Houston Dynamo, Chicago Fire and LA Galaxy. My best guess for how these teams were picked is either a) areas with a significant Hispanic population, plus Salt Lake City so the Mormons wouldn’t feel left out, or b) by throwing darts at a map.
Two of these markets already struggle with attendance (Houston and Chicago) and while I’m not doubting the interest amongst Mexican-American fans to come see their given Liga MX team, I’m also not sure what amounts to a glorified friendly will really generate the whiz bang effect MLS is looking for.
The other problem is fixture congestion. All 4 teams have weekend matches immediately preceding and following their Leagues Cup tilts. Houston has all but admitted they will use players from their USL side and you would imagine Real and LA would likely follow suit. This means the competition won’t even deliver on the ulterior motive of proving that American teams can compete with their counterparts south of the border. One can also imagine Club America, Cruz Azul, Tigres and Tijuana will not want to risk an important player in such a match either.
MLS/SUM starting cash grabs is nothing new. But what’s shocking is how half baked this one is. Allegedly, the teams will rotate in the next couple of years, meaning Vancouver could theoretically be included in the competition. I would encourage fans of whatever markets are involved to not support this weird, unproductive stab at making a quick buck. If MLS wants to compete with Liga MX, I can instantly think of a dozen better ways to do so.
Onto the links
Shameless Self Promotion
As mentioned, tonight the Caps face off with Toronto FC and I preview the match here. Meanwhile, Caleb breaks down some USL hidden gems who could be the next Maxime Crepeau-esque find in Vancouver’s transfer dealings. And don’t forget to get your lineup predictions in!
Best of the Rest
JJ Adams discusses tonight’s battle of Spanish midfielders: Alejandro Pozuelo and Jon Erice
The Timbers’ long road-trip nightmare is over, as they return home to the renovated Providence Park. And, well, it looks pretty spiffy, [stares longingly into the distance, wishing for a new stadium]
As a Spurs fan, we have a bit of a big match tomorrow and Rory Smith of the New York Times previews it by taking a look at the super-stardom of Son Heung-Min. A great read
Have a lovely weekend Caps fans and I’ll see you (virtually) at the match tonight!