How Many Games In Mls – The new season starts on Friday and doesn’t end until December. It’s part travel, and part geography – but TV also complicates things
New York City FC couple David Villa and Andrea Pirlo. The best player in MLS can expect to play up to 40 total games during the season. Photo: L. Argueta/ISI/REX/Shutterstock
How Many Games In Mls
P atrick Vieira, the coach of New York City FC and former Arsenal legend, likes to tell stories about flying across America with his team. Major football teams are only allowed to take private jets four times a season, so players and staff often travel to away games on commercial jets with us.
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At one point, Vieira’s team was stranded at New York’s LaGuardia Airport for eight hours when a flight to Kansas City was canceled. Anyone who has ever flown out of LaGuardia will know that the hours at its crowded gates are enough to keep most people from flying again. After a long wait at the gate, Vieira’s team were told to return the next morning. A replacement plane had been found – but no crew was flying it. Another time, at a game in Montreal, NYC FC players spent 90 minutes going through Canadian customs.
The 2017 soccer season begins Friday night, but the bad news for Vieira as he prepares for Sunday’s opener between New York City and Orlando City in Florida is that if things go well this season, he will have to endure a nine-month wait for the stadium. gates for the MLS Cup Final. For MLS and its schedule, the demands of TV reporters take up more time than any travel issue.
Brad Pursel, the club’s vice president of services and programming, explains: “Each TV partner has its own needs and priorities. “We build a timeline with them and they finally sign off when they’re very comfortable with the planning process before we go to the final plan. Our media partners are part of the process and it’s a very collaborative process.”
Pursel is already preparing for the 2018 MLS season, a complex exercise that not only covers ESPN, Fox and Univision in the United States, and TSN and TVA in Canada, but also has to consider the calendars of Concacaf, the U.S. Soccer Federation. Confederation football in Canada. Teams offer select dates for home games and potential home stadiums that create clashes, but are below the exact order when it comes to scheduling.
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“The teams don’t have much say in the final result,” says Pursel, who has coached the past 12 seasons in MLS. “Imagine you have 22 teams telling you everything they want – it would be an impossible process.”
Matching the paper to the calendar dates, Pursel feeds his measurements into a computer program that outputs the schedule. MLS drivers and broadcasters are checking their boxes to provide the final schedule. The results, in part: Friday night the Portland Timbers hosted MLS newcomers Minnesota United in their first game of the season.
He is not wrong. This season, with Atlanta United and Minnesota United entering the league, they will see each team play 34 games – 17 at home and 17 away. To complicate matters a bit, Pursel has to host two MLS conferences. The result is that teams play each of the 10 opponents at least twice – home and away – and play each team in a different conference at least once: five or six games at home and five or six away. If you’re not confused, the schedule now changes with teams playing three extra games between meetings. One team from each conference will play one additional non-conference game.
Ultimately, the top six teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs. It is worth noting that the 12 teams that qualified for the knockout tournament are not necessarily the best teams in the league. In 2016, the Portland Timbers of the Western Conference would have finished 12th overall in the league standings, but two mini-league systems saw the East Philadelphia Union enter the playoffs.
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Importantly, the playing system also means a slow start to the season rather than the demise of a team competing in the traditional winner-takes-all league seen in most of Europe. In eight months, the regular season can be quickly forgotten if the team’s coaching staff, luck and good times see the team through the summer.
Last season, the Seattle Sounders began a three-game losing streak, fired coach Sigi Schmid in July, lost star players Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins to heart problems and China, entering the qualifiers on a 14-game losing streak. won the MLS Cup.
Early season illness is definitely a thing for champions. In 2015, when Portland finally won the title, they won just twice in their first 11 games. In 2014, the LA Galaxy didn’t shoot until the end of the season, while Sporting KC won just five of their first 11 league games in 2013, but lost just twice in their last 13 games.
In MLS, time seems to heal all wounds, and time can seem like a race between the tortoise and the hare. Starting in March and ending (last season) in Toronto, which was suspended in December, soccer meets the other major national teams – as well as the FIFA and Concacaf (and in 2016, Conmebol) summer tournaments.
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On the other hand, Jürgen Klinsmann, the former coach of the US national team and professional fighting expert, when he said that the time of MLS is too short. Klinsmann wanted the national team to compete for 11 months of the year and for the players to play competitive games during that time.
The European Championship usually plays 38 matches plus cup competitions. The first player in a successful European team can expect to play between 50 and 60 games in a season. In contrast, the first baseman of MLS’s best team will play up to 40 games during the season during the playoffs, US Open Cup games and the All-Star game. MLS has a huge footprint, but rarely matches up during the year. There are reasons for this: geography and time.
“We’ve talked about it, but I think we’ve found a good place to start and finish our season,” Pursel said. “Depending on the weather and time, fans will attend the games and the right number of games in our league – 34. The schedule offers more weekend games, but also up to five mid-season games for each team,” he said. .
Major League Baseball and the NBA can fill a shorter season with more games, but they also don’t have to compete in championships and international breaks. from March to December.”
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Which brings us to November, the so-called playoff streak that in 2016 took 50 days to play six games. The 16-day MLS World Cup qualifiers have grown, well,
“It’s difficult to see FIFA’s November window fall in the middle of the play-offs and it’s something we look at every year,” says Pursel. “It’s something we have to deal with and we’re looking to see if there’s another way to deal with it and not affect the flow of our games,” he said.
If Vieira’s New York City FC is still alive by October, when the playoffs begin, he will still have to deal with airports and Canadian customs officials, an impossible challenge. MLS is the only professional sports league in the United States where teams do not use charter flights. Most teams save four flights for the postseason. Taking commercial flights, the LA Galaxy flew over 38,000,000 miles in 2016 and the Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo flew over 40,000 miles.
Former Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who is now in charge of the US men’s national team, told the LA Times last year that he instructed his players not to wear Galaxy-branded jerseys during the tournament.
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“I’m ashamed to travel that way. I don’t think it helps the name of our league. It is time for our league to enter the modern era of professional sports. Travel affects competition. “
MLS commissioner Don Garber said charter travel is at the bottom of the league’s list. Pursel says the geography of the United States — and the league’s conference schedule that limits domestic travel — is a factor in the competition.
“It’s difficult in America because it’s a big country and we have four seasons,” he says. “There’s not necessarily a long, cross-country trip. It’s something we’ve put in place to reduce the burden of travel, but it’s impossible to completely avoid it,” he said.
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