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Bruce Arena sounds off over Gold Cup, MLS schedule

Jun 25, 2013, 6:40 PM EDT

Bruce Arena, coach of the Los Angeles Ga Getty Images

I get so doggone conflicted when Bruce Arena opens his mouth.

On the one hand, the Galaxy’s sense of entitlement has always started at the top (I mean, way up top, as in upper management), but often gets inflamed by Arena. The Galaxy manager does complain with a certain reliability when things don’t go the team’s way.

On the other hand, his complaints are often valid. Because of his past success, Arena has enough power and influence that he can say things that so many players, coaches and officials are thinking and not fear the repurcussions. So in that way, Arena’s comments can serve a good purpose.

So it is with his latest statements on the upcoming Gold Cup. The Galaxy and quite a few other MLS clubs could lose important players for two or three weeks during the regional competition.

What Arena said.

That’s what this league is. This is the way the league operates. When you can’t be in sync with an international calendar, that’s the reality of things. We’ve been well aware of [the Gold Cup] before the year started. It’s crazy. It skews the competition in the league, but it is what it is. What are you going to do?”

Arena said that no decision has been made on Landon Donovan, but chances seem quite strong that his team’s second-best attacker at the moment (Robbie Keane is the man around the SyubHub Center right now) will be called into Jurgen Klinmann’s national “B” team.

Either way, Arena ain’t happy – not after seeing his top defender (by a long, long way) miss almost a month of matches. Omar Gonzalez was away during four MLS matches and a U.S. Open Cup loss.

I think the whole thing is foolish, to be honest with you, coming off the players disappearing for a month with the World Cup qualifying as well. It’s a major problem we have with scheduling in the league, and it damages the competition. We have to find other ways to fit the schedule in where teams are not impacted due to the FIFA calendar.”

  1. talgrath - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    I didn’t like Arena’s previous grumbling about the Open Cup, but I think he’s spot on in regards to international breaks and competitions. I realize that, due to the unique nature of the environments teams play in compared to Europe and South America, the MLS can’t follow the same schedule as other national leagues like the EPL. Trying to play in late October and early November is dodgy as it is in the US and Canada (for example: A playoff game in RFK stadium was snow-delayed last year), I can only imagine trying to play games in the winter months of December, January and February would be impossible, particularly in places like Toronto and Boston. However, MLS season could be slightly shortened to allow players off for the international breaks or more double-game weeks could be played to keep the season length, in terms of games, even; if MLS could get the Open Cup to agree to it, Open Cup games could get played during these breaks (maybe even televised through MLS?) which would work great, it could be a chance for the younger MLS stars to strut their stuff.

    • randomhookup - Jun 26, 2013 at 9:44 AM

      Actually the snow delayed playoff game was at NJ.

      • talgrath - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        Ah, my mistake, either way, I understand why the season is scheduled the way it is, by and large.

  2. tylerbetts - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Euro calendar? No.
    Regional calendar with Apertura and Clausura? Yes.

    Playing games during international windows cheapens the regular season and puts teams at a competitive disadvantage. Especially during Gold Cup, when more MLS players are impacted, due to the nature of CONCACAF nations feeding players into MLS.

  3. dfstell - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    MLS’s schedule is just stupid. There is simply no way for the league to be big-time when it does things like this.

    I do tend to like the suggestion of a regional calendar. Let the northeast teams play in the spring/summer/fall. Let the southeast teams play in the fall/winter/spring. I know they can’t play in Toronto in January, but they shouldn’t be playing in Houston in July either. And….there should be no games ever going on during our regional international tournament. Let the winners of the various regions play in a kinda American Champion’s League or something so people can get their precious LA/NY matchups.

    I really appreciate what MLS did to provide a stable platform for soccer to grow in this country, but more and more, I think MLS’s structure will hold us back. I think a series of regional conferences makes absolute sense, but I can’t see how MLS would agree to dissolve into that because the various regions won’t want to give up their revenue sharing from the TV contracts in the bigger markets or the expansion fees for future teams coming into the league (which is probably the leagues largest source of revenue).

    Can you imagine the NBA having games during the Olympics? Or MLS playing through the World Baseball Classic?

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