Superliga 2009: SUPERSHAM
I wanted to say a few words about the Superliga Tournament put on by SUM this season. I’ve previously made two critical points about this event which has turned my previous enthusiasm for it into indifference bordering on hostility. The first is the timing and second is the fact that the FMF participants all missed the playoffs in the most recent season/tournament. It’s almost laughable that an event including Mexican teams would be held in June. When the event was held in late July it was the Mexican pre-season which was acceptable. MLS teams were in better form and hosted every match but it still had some degree of legitimacy.
But this season the tournament is being held just four weeks after the conclusion of the FMF season when any veteran player with a secure contract is either on the beach or spending time with ones family. Thus we see youth sides trotted out by the FMF participants this week. Despite this obvious fact, some MLS fans have hailed this weekend’s victories by MLS teams as some sign that the two leagues which are miles apart in quality are somehow equals. In the last CONCACAF CL, USL-1 actually had a better record vs. the FMF than MLS, as crazy as that sounds.
But my real issue with Superliga2009 is that MLS in its arrogance had the audacity to schedule this tournament while the USMNT is participating in a major international event. Of course it took something akin to the parting of the Red Sea for the USMNT to advance out of the group stage but that isn’t realty the point. It’s bad enough that MLS schedules matches to start right in the middle of USMNT games (I have previously pointed out that while I feel MLS needs to break for internationals, if they cannot they need to at the very least work to ensure the USMNT has exclusive windows where soccer fans aren’t conflicted between watching club or country) but playing a largely meaningless money making tournament during the USMNT’s second biggest event behind the World Cup is plain insulting.
But why should Don Garber care? The USSF doesn’t seem to want to call MLS off on any of these abuses. I can only imagine the number of New England and St Louis soccer fans who missed the dramatic events of Sunday afternoon because they were headed to the stadium to watch an exhibition tournament against Mexican youth and reserve sides. To force those dedicated fans to make a choice between their clubs no matter how minor the match and their national team is just plain wrong.