Beckham's arrival begins to show its face in attendance statistics, albeit at a more muted scale this time around. For example, his game this week was at Kansas City and it wasn't held at Arrowhead. Instead, the match was held at an expanded Community America Ballpark (about 1500 more seats than normal). Notice that using the 09-08 difference plot we see that RSL has recovered to about the same attendance average as last year. Colorado is also recovering. Further, these two teams have not had the Becks circus come to town.
No Becks in MLS this weekend. Instead it's a sold out Rose Bowl for Galaxy vs Barcelona. A quality match for sure. How come we can't get these huge numbers to turn out for MLS matches? The World Football Challenge with Inter, AC Milan, Chelsea and Club America drew no less than 50,000 each for the games played. If we could get a good 10-15% of these true football fans then MLS would surely get a boost.
Another area that MLS should be working on developing is the Concacaf Champions League. DCU managed no more than a tie against lowly Firpo from El Salvador. An early exit... again? More on that on a later post.
Finally, to round this week's MLS discussion is the current MLS schedule. Whilst I question the setup (spring to fall instead of fall to spring as is done in Europe and most regions of the world), we also have to keep in mind venues like Colorado, Chicago and Toronto. These are usually in deep freeze from December to February. Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, recently discussed MLS's schedule and why it wasn't attracting better players. Interesting points except for the obvious points mentioned above (Chicago, Toronto). He advocates a fall to spring season. Then again, there are plenty of leagues in Scandinavia, Russia, among others, that have a sizable break during the winter. This is something worth considering. You can catch Blatter's discussion below.
I watched the entire United-Firpo match. Aside from Moreno and maybe Szetela, that was the 'B' team out there. Commentators focused on DC's busy schedule lately that has included US Open Cup matches in addition to MLS matches.
The return leg will be most interesting, since DC will be fully rested off the All-Star Break, and will send out the first team. Not getting a result would be devastating.
DC scraped through on penalties last night in El Salvador, but TFC did not survive the USL's Pto Rico Islanders. We'll see what the Red Bulls can do in their return leg, home to their T&T opponents.
Meanwhile, Cruz Azul and Pachuca are crushing their Central American opposition.
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