Jan 2, 2014, 8:28 PM EDT
Perhaps we have our regular “Should MLS switch to FIFA calendar” debates at the wrong times. Seems like we speak of this coming transition – men on high keep saying it’s a matter of “when,” after all – around FIFA fixture dates or around MLS All-Star game.
And plenty of those dates occur in far more pleasant weather, in times when we may sip cool beers beneath starry skies in scenes Vincent van Gogh himself could best appreciate.
But let’s poke this bear once again – because I do so love poking this calendar bear:
Anyone want to go see some MLS soccer this weekend?
This is the question that MLS officials must answer as they consider a realignment to a season that more or less follows FIFA’s annual calendar: How in the world would an MLS season work in this weather?
Have you seen what’s coming to our poor friends in the Northeast? Or the preposterously cold weather
Yes, MLS commissioner Don Garber has told us that a realignment – Major League Soccer currently kicks off in March, runs through the spring and summer and ends with MLS Cup roughly in the first week of December – would require a winter break. And, yes, we would be presumably be smack in the middle of the winter break right now.
But our land of less predictable weather can get this kind of cold, nasty unpleasantness anytime from November to early March. Remember what was going on last February?
Everybody remember the MLS playoff game postponed for a day at New York’s Red Bull Arena (pictured below)? That happened in November. Or how about the unforgettable Snow Clasico, the United States vs. Costa Rica match in World Cup qualifying? That happened in March. Late March!
Bottom line here: the window of bad weather in this country stretches further than any reasonable “break” could possibly extend. Anything longer than six weeks or so is not a “break,” it’s a stinkin’ off-season!
And let’s be clear about this: the argument that “NFL goes on” or that “NHL’s Winter Classic” happens just won’t fly. Fans will bundle up to brave dangerously cold weather for special happenings (like the NHL’s greatest annual moment) or NFL playoff games. They certainly did in Kansas City for MLS Cup 2013 – and here’s to ya, heartland faithful!
But a regular season game in MLS? Too many fans will play it smart and take a pass.
The alternative is worse: it only takes a couple of postponements in the tightly packed soccer calendar to seriously screw up the entire scheduling works.
I’m not saying this thing is never going to happen: just saying MLS has a ton of work ahead to make this thing even possible.
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