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Mixed feelings about LA Galaxy-Club Tijuana friendly

Jan 31, 2013, 12:05 PM EDT

Mexico Soccer Fans

I love the idea of MLS-Liga MX friendlies – but only where they make sense.

Chivas de Guadalajara or a couple of the other clubs that have healthy fan bases in the United States? Sure, those make (dollars and) sense.

Even the middle-weights of Mexico can draw a crowd and give a good game to MLS clubs in Texas or California where the Latino populations are large enough to have reasonably sized fan bases nearby.

Or, catching the flavor the moment in these friendlies represents a solid plan, too.

So I’ve got mixed feelings about the LA Galaxy’s upcoming friendly against Liga MX champions Club Tijuana. Just announced yesterday, the nearby neighbors meet Feb. 19 at the Home Depot Center.

Formerly obscure Tijuana is an amazing story in regional sports, having just won the Liga MX Apertura title, punctuating a rags-to-riches rise that we just don’t see very often on highly financed soccer.

In this one, Bruce Arena is likely to deploy his starters for at least a half. That’s different than what we often get in mid-summer friendlies that feature MLS-Liga MX matchups. In the stack-up of league matches, Open Cup contests and game in CONCACAF Champions League, some clubs have no choice but to run out a team of reserves.

It’s a real ticket sales conundrum, because fans are asked to support a game devoid of stars – and are sometimes stuck with a portion of the bill when their season ticket series includes “International Game A” and “International Game B” and so on.

The problem then becomes this: Where does the match fall for the Mexican club? Here, the answer for the Xolos is “In the worst possible place.”

Club Tijuana actually has a Copa Libertadores match the same day! And that is a far, far more important match for such a tiny club.

  1. tylerbetts - Jan 31, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    The only thing I don’t like about it is the timing. On top of a Libertadores match is just wrong. No other way to put it. It means there’s about 0% chance Xolos will field anything resembling their top choice club. It means the fans going to the game won’t get to see a true representation of these teams. And it means some fans are going to be stuck paying full price tickets for a less than marquee contest.

    But …

    Count me among those who would like to see more of this sort of thing. More matches between Liga MX and MLS. In fact, this exact match is something I’d love to see – and by that I mean the MLS Cup Champ vs. The current Liga MX champ in a setting like the “Community Shield” type matches we see in Europe.

    • XoloSd - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      For more xolos news visit http://www.xolosd.com

  2. dfstell - Jan 31, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    I’m not opposed to these sorts of things. It’s a free country and clubs can work out whatever they want, but…..don’t we already have a Champion’s League for MLS/FMF games?

    • tylerbetts - Jan 31, 2013 at 7:08 PM

      There is, but current CCL group stage structure prevents Liga MX-MLS matches in the group stage (minus the Canadian entrant)

  3. sevsarkissian - Jan 31, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Steve,

    If you read the LA Galaxy press releases regarding this event, you’ll see the game is attendance capped due to agreements with the facility, university, etc…

    You’ll also know this pre-season friendly is also being opened to STH’s for free. Thus, your “ticket sales conundrum” isn’t really one. It’s a friendly to have fun between two champions, exhibit players and get some real runs in before the season starts.

    • Steve Davis - Jan 31, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      The part about season ticket holders wasn’t about this one. It’s about matches in July against Mexican competition (or anyone, really) when the MLS clubs simply cannot afford to deploy their best due to schedule congestion.

      And the attendance capping doesn’t have anything to do with anything here; that’s a Cal State Dominguez Hills policy that applies (as you say) to many Galaxy weeknight matches, always in place pending a special exemption.

  4. charliej11 - Jan 31, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    I like the games between MLS/FMF and is one of the best rivalries in sports.

    I really want the All Star game to go this route. All Stars versus All Stars.

    TJ and LA could be playing each other for real in CCL next year too.

  5. pensfan603 - Jan 31, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    If it helps Tijuana fans learn about the mls im ok with it, but what i took from this is that the galaxy are above the rest of the mls, while they are all going to train against eachother la is going to play real competition like Tijuana, It kinda reminds me of the World football challenge and the teams that come to america to play. Also when you look at how those have went for america its all good, players from stroke city learn hwo good america can be and at the same time the clubs learn that the american players are good and are more likely to have americans on transfer.

  6. drewvt6 - Jan 31, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    This COULD have been huge if Xolos had a full squad.

  7. XoloSd - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    This is not going to be very good with Xolos in Bogota. For more Xolos news visit http://www.xolosd.com

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