Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Sunday, August 01, 2004

Maybe it's just me, but for some reason I just couldn't get excited about any of the games on offer this weekend.

Yeah, ABC had the MLS All-Star Game in DC, but so what? Watching a bunch of guys who, for the most part, have never played on the same team together knock the ball around for an hour and a half. Sorry, but for a "showcase" event, I find it very difficult to care.

Of course, I could switch to Fox Sports World and watch some ChampionsWorld Series matches. But while it involves some of the top clubs teams from Europe, it's preseason. As is the case with the biggest clubs these days, most of the players on show are still learning each others names. They are on this trip for two reasons, 1) to start building a team for the upcoming season and most importanly, 2) to make money so they can buy more players who will need time to work into the line-up.

What is really amusing is how MLS chiefs managed to really blunder the All-Star Game. They'd been in talks with Spanish Giant, Real Madrid about coming over and playing against the MLS All-Stars. Real were interested and MLS moved the date of the game back a month (competing with the ChampionsWorld matches) in order to make it possible. The Spanish side then changed their mind and went after a money deal which takes them to Asia and more money than MLS could offer. So, MLS was then left scrambling to set up a second match between MLS vetran sides to make the even more attractive to ticket buyers. Sadly they still only managed to pull 27k at RFK and the "Old Timers" match (which I thought sounded more entertaining) wasn't even on TV.

Perhaps it's time for MLS to rethink their need for an All-Star game in the middle of the season. But they won't.

As for the ChampionsWorld matches...well, they do sell tickets. But stadiums this year haven't been as packed as they were for the events last year. Many ticket buyers in Chicago were upset when Manchester United fielded a line-up of second string players. I was more disappointed when the half-hearted nature both teams played the match with. But it is preseason, what do you expect? However, most of the matches have been somewhat entertaining though there hasn't been anything to really grab my attention. Certainly not interesting enough to pay the ticket prices being asked even if there was a match here in LA.

Thankfully, MLS will resume next week as do the lower divisions in England (c'mon Ipswich!!) so I guess one weekend a year of no decent footie isn't the end of the world.
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An American who fell in love with soccer while living in Europe.

Location: Hoosierville, IN, United States
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