Sunday, August 5, 2018

RANK: Which games matter, MLS

[1] CONCACAF Champions League - The games matter, it's difficult to gain entry and the upside to getting results is big for MLS teams.

[2] US Open Cup games - it's a straight up knock out tournament and the only thing linking together both US soccer history and the fractured pyramid.

[3] Pre-Season Tournaments - I regularly attend these. Orlando, Charleston. They are some of the most competitive games I have seen. Also, they get lower league and foreign teams involved, making it more exciting.

[4] Summer Friendlies - these games are usually good and feature most of the MLS starters. Contrary to popular belief, the players from MLS do try hard in these games.


[5] MLS Cup, Conference Finals - getting here is a slog in MLS, but doing so puts you on the map. Both legs important, the second leg most important.

[6] Regular season games, Sept-October - last push to finish the year strong. Usually get a better effort from players.

[7] MLS Cup Final - it's a well-earned match for the teams that make it, but by the time it comes - after a Swiss cheese playoff format, coaches and the media are ready for the season to end. Cup finals across the world can sometimes be dull, this MLS version usually hit's that mark.

[8] Playing ESPN MLS extra time on the PS2 - only league specific video game made. It's fun and features Crew Stadium and tarped off stadiums in the rest of the league.

[9] Regular season, March-May

[10] Regular season, June-August - dog days of MLS. You have oppressive heat as well as various international tournaments pulling the better players away. Older stars often just take time off.

[11] Games involving New England Revs, Houston Dynamo and the Colorado Rapids.

[12] When a team from the eastern time zone plays out west late at night. I looked at this a couple years ago. It's basically the away side starting a goal down. East teams win about 1 in 10. It's a ridiculous advantage and players just want to hear the final whistle.

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