Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
  Let's get Real
Ok, I promise that'll be my last "Real" pun...honest.

I've been pretty negitive about yesterday's game in Madrid between a bunch of selected MLS players and Real Madrid. I was already to post a blog that was negitive about the whole thing...but then I read this piece from Jamie Trecker.

I can't believe I'm now going to defend what happened yesterday.

I don't care how good the players are, how can you expect them to perform jet lagged, after only one practice together against a team that is made up of some of the best, most expensive players in the world who just finishing up their preseason getting ready to play in one of the toughest leagues in the world? Did I punctuate that correctly?

Seeing Don Garber sitting next to the Real Madrid president during the match made me think there was more to this match than just the 90 minutes on the pitch.

I don't think the players really wanted to be there. Yeah, only a couple of MLS players looked good, but players like Landon seemed like they were just killing time until they could get on the plane and fly home. It's not like he didn't ask to be left off the squad. His teammates are playing a much more important (to everyone expect the league) tonight. I'm sure he'd much rather be in San Jose helping his teammates move closer to a trophy.

The timing of this match sucked and it wasn't a wise addition to the schedule. The players didn't embarrass the league or the sport in this country. The people who call the shots (Don Garber) did.

Now, I'm sure Garber will have some kind of spin like "it shows how much we still have to grow" for this. But if it hadn't been played at such a bad time, I have no doubt that the MLS players would have performed much better.

Anyway, that's it for the meaningless friendly's for this year. I honestly hope Garber has learned a lesson after yesterday's match...but if the match brings in a few bucks, it probably will just mean the MLS season and Open Cup will still play second fiddle to displays like we saw yesterday.

UPDATE:A much better analysis of Trecker's piece (of junk)

Passing off a series of personal attacks and vague innuendo as analysis is by no means a solution either to the league's problem with a lack of general media coverage, or of an absence of informed, measured commentary. What few tangible points appear in Mr. Trecker's article are buried beneath the flood of petty jabs and the kind of take you expect just before the commercial break on too many radio and television shows.

Wish I could have said it that well.
 
Comments:
it was a friendly of a team comprised of players who have played together for years and another of players who play against each other.

but there is no denying the difference in class, it was also made evident when real came to LA. one team in the middle of its season and the other using the match as a pre-season warm-up.

it does raise an interesting question regarding the "ranking" of the mls. the writer brings up scotland, belgium, and poland. i would expect a group of players from those leagues (not the international teams, since their better players play in england, germany, holland, etc.) to get worked as much as the mls players.

my feelings are the mls would probably be in the belgium and poland category. difficult to say with the scots, the old firm would run away with the league but the falkirks and dunfermlines would not do well and would probably struggle against some a-league teams.
landon is an example of how the bundesliga is quite a bit above and many of the players who go to england usually sign for "championship" teams or premier relegation teams would indicate that the mls lies between the championship and league 1.
 
While I'm not going to disagree with you Daz...over a single 90 minute game, anything can happen.

Ranking leagues based purely on performances in friendly's without taking everything else into consideration is hardly a good way to measure anything.

I've always asked, how can you compare teams in leagues who play in different weather conditions (seasons), travel situations (bus vs plane) and player budgets?

For me, I'm happy watching an entertaining competitive match between two teams that care. The quality of players isn't always watch makes a match worth watching--well, I am an Ipswich fan. Unfortunatly, half the MLS season isn't important so there are far too many meaningless games in MLS (in addition to all the meaningless friendly's)

Real Madrid play in one of the best leagues in the world...with some of the best players in the world and most of the players in white last night make more in a year than entire MLS squads. How can you expect any MLS XI to compete?
 
they cannot compete. but they got to play at the bernabeu which has to be considered an honour. since the majority of mls teams play in football stadia, they play a season that doesn't coincide with the euopeans so when they play european teams there will always be an inequity of fitness levels and mental approach to the match.
 
An honor,yes...but when it looked most of the players looked like they would have rather been anywhere else. ;)
 
Junkie --

Totally with you on this one. I also think that yesterday had nothing to do with how good MLS is right now. Which is why I'm so mad about it. Everything in the deck was stacked in such a way as to make the MLS side underperform as much as possible. If this had been with a week off and like the all-star game, maybe a different result.
 
Trecker is a huge dick, and I sent him an email telling him that.
 
Ah yes, I forgot you're an Ipswich fan. How on Earth did your boys get beat by Yeovil in the Carling Cup?
 
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An American who fell in love with soccer while living in Europe.

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