Why are we playing this weekend?
Around the world, club soccer teams are taking a break in order to mark the international break. Teams across Europe are trying to qualify for the 2020 Euros, Africa has started World Cup Qualifying for their smaller nations, and in North America, the League of Nations is kicking off for the first time in history.
Since there is so much international play going on, the top leagues across the globe have taken the week off so the competition doesn’t take a hit. Of course, MLS has decided to play through this international break, not thinking about the consequences. And boy, does that look stupid now.
Since it’s such a big international break, clubs are required to release players that have been called up to their national teams. Teams become so depleted, it would create a disparity between club sides, especially good ones that have a lot of their starting XI gone. But MLS just simply does not care.
There are going to be MLS teams this weekend who are going to be missing five or more players from their starting 18. Orlando City, LAFC’s next opponent, will be missing five players, four of which are normally in their starting XI. LAFC though will be missing a total of seven players, with four coming from the first-team. Walker Zimmerman (USA), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Canada), Eduard Atuesta (Columbia U-23), and Brian Rodriguez (Uruguay) have all been called up
Think about that; teams are going to be missing between 30-50% of their team this weekend, and a majority of these teams are still in the hunt for the playoffs!
Every year, MLS makes strides to become one of the top leagues in the world. With more and more players making comments they are interested in coming to MLS, the league needs to make they function like other top leagues around the world. One of the first steps to getting their includes taking the big international breaks off. The product on the field across MLS is going to suffer this weekend and fans will rightly blame MLS being selfish in their scheduling. It is conceivable that a team in the Western or Eastern Conference that needs to pick up points will lose out, and in the end miss the playoffs. It’s not fair to the players, the organizations, and most importantly, the fans. If MLS is going to legitimize themselves, they need to take international breaks off.