Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Copa Panamerica, so where was MLS?

I was pretty shocked to be reading reports of a soccer tournament being held in Glendale, Arizona at the University of Phoenix Stadium (UPS). According to the website for the tournament, it was a pre-season tournament that had the following participants:

- Club America
- Boca Juniors
- Cruz Azul
- Alianza Lima
- Caracas
- Deportivo Cali

The tournament had two groups of three with the winner of each group playing each other in the final. Cruz Azul knocked off Boca Juniors 3-1 and claimed the trophy and the $250,000 championship purse. All of the matches took place at the UPS.

As I was under the impression that all international soccer matches that occur in the US were under the guidance of SUM, I am trying to figure out why there wasn’t one or two MLS clubs taking part in this tournament? It’s not like it is a foreign concept to have MLS clubs take part in international tournaments during the regular season, the Galaxy just finished one and four other clubs are gearing up to start the SuperLiga tonight and tomorrow night. So why didn’t SUM/MLS get any of the MLS clubs in on the action?

I honestly think that this would have been a very good opportunity for MLS to get its clubs more international experience, much better than the All Star Game provides. They could have sent the Chicago Fire and Red Bull New York. The Fire could have used this tournament as the introduction of Blanco as well as the Sunday home match against Celtic. Blanco could have played his first match in a Fire jersey against his former club; that would have packed in the fans at the UPS.

Having this type of tournament in the US is the exact type thing that MLS/SUM should be working to avoid. If these two groups are trying to use the SuperLiga to try and convince the US Latin American community that the MLS clubs are worth watching, why have a tournament that showcases six non-MLS clubs on US soil? Why showcase the very clubs that the US Latin American community points to as the clubs they support?

I think that an even bigger question is why have the Copa Panamerica held in the US so close to the SuperLiga? If the Copa Panamerica is not going to have any MLS clubs participate, hold it in Mexico. Better yet, have the two tournaments merge and have the SuperLiga clubs and the Copa Panamerica clubs all fight it out for the $1 million dollar purse, giving the runner up the $250,000 for second place.

I like the idea of the Copa Panamerica and if I still lived in Phoenix, I would have been attending all of the matches. I don’t like that it was held in the US without any of the MLS clubs participating nor do I like that it was held so close to the SuperLiga. Having the tournament in the US is fine, just have one or more of the clubs from the first division in the US participate, namely MLS.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

True True good point

10:44 AM  
Blogger dunl said...

Around the same time (July 27th and 29th), a "Chicago Trophy" tournament was held in Chicago. Teams were Sevilla FC, Wisla Krakow, CD Toluca, and Reggina Calcio -- no Chicago Fire, even though this was held in Chicago. Chicago Trophy organizers said the Fire's not being included was the result of scheduling conflicts -- maybe same issue as with Copa Panamerica? Of course this raises the question of whether these tournaments could have been moved a week earlier or later to fit bye weeks.

12:33 PM  

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