Arena: MLS teams needs “not addressed at all” in friendlies

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LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has never been a man that bites his tongue, and on Wednesday he launched a rant about results in recent friendly matches between MLS and European sides.

On the heels of a 7-0 defeat for the Seattle Sounders to Manchester United, Arena launched into a scathing review of these types of friendlies. Many have criticized MLS teams for their poor performances despite the fact that the American teams are currently in mid-season while the Europeans are in many cases just starting their preseason.

However, after Wednesday's 1-0 victory for Arena's LA Galaxy, the manager stated that the odds that MLS teams face during these summer friendlies — in particular the World Football Challenge — are stacked against them.

"It's a lot more difficult in these games, the way they're set up in this format for the MLS clubs then it is for the visiting teams because the whole tournament is set up to accomdate them," said Arena on Wednesday evening. "Our needs are not addressed at all."

During the summer, MLS teams have fallen to European teams like United, Real Madrid, West Brom and Bolton. The Sounders defeat on Wednesday sticks out in particular after Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid labeled the match an "embarassment" when speaking to reporters after the seven-goal loss. Results like these have led to wide spread criticism of validity of such friendlies during MLS' congested regular season calendar.

The Galaxy went through their own difficulties with a friendly last weekend as the league leaders were soundly beaten 4-1 by Real Madrid. The gulf in class was apparent even though Madrid had been in preseason training for less than a week. While the European teams are much deeper than MLS squads, Arena believed that with the game format, it made it near impossible for MLS teams to compete.

"It's worst when you play an elite club that can play more players. When you're down 0-2 at half and you step onto the field and Ronaldo is there. If you tell these guys that they only have to play 45 minutes, then it's 45 minutes of hell," said Arena. "It's an advantage to these clubs when they can play all of their players because they obviously have better players, deeper rosters so it's difficult.

"Listen, I'm not betting the house on the fact that if we play regular rules and there are 3 subs that we're in much better shape, but I'd rather play in those conditions."

The Galaxy complete their run of friendlies on Sunday when Los Angeles face FA Cup winners Manchester City at the Home Depot Center.It is a match that will be Los Angeles' fifth in two weeks and one that will likely feature a heavily reserve line up for the Galaxy due to roster congestion as well as a series of injuries that have plagued the club recently.

Although Arena was critical of the friendlies, the Galaxy head coach admitted that it was valuable experience for young players to face off against some of the best players in the world. As Arena and the Galaxy now turn their attention to Manchester City, the Galaxy boss understands that team will face the gauntlet, but regardless of the result, positives can be found.

"I love any game that I can watch or coach in that I don't have to win and I don't get that many of them in my life and I enjoy that," said Arena. "I think [friendlies] are fun to play in and I think that's how the players should approach it and give their best effort. I enjoy them, I just wish they were spaced a little bit better.

"I know Man City is going to be eager to play because they had a bit of a fiasco in Vancouver with the field conditions so they're going to have their players ready to get 90 minutes on a field that's pretty good to show what they can do."

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115 Responses to Arena: MLS teams needs “not addressed at all” in friendlies

  1. Richmond Guy says:

    Garber please stop the mid season friendlies.

    Sincerely, The Fans

  2. Dale says:

    It’s not the worlds fault MLS decides to play when other countries have already finished their respective seasons…I don’t like how Arena is making excuses, there is no shame in losing….unless it’s 7-0

  3. Jeff Awesome says:

    I think friendlies are always more difficult for the weaker team because they can’t play physical and foul. Of course if Seattle is going to play well against Man U, they have to give the game 110%.

  4. RK says:

    That’$ not true, Arena! Their need$ are being well-funded.

  5. Chris says:


  6. Joe from El Paso says:

    MLS needs to get rid of the salary cap once and for all. Let owners, who are willing to do so, invest more $$ for better players and deeper squads. The league no longer need parity. Fans will pay to see a couple of dominant teams rule the league. The current situation is laughable and will harm the future of the league and soccer in the USA/Canada. Look people, people will pay to see big names (in their prime) play soccer here. Why can’t MLS have a truly talented team that is stacked. They need to start following the European model and give it a shot. If an owner wants to spend big $$$$, let him!!!!! It’s his risk not ours! If an owner wants to continue to be a cheapskate, then lethim assume that risk as well. Young domestic talent would only benefit from playing alonside international heavyweights, and not just against them once a year in a meaningless friendly!!

  7. RK says:

    Hey Fans,

    Stop putting money in their pockets and go to MLS games, instead.

  8. Jason says:

    KC Wizards 2010…beat Man U…down a man…2-1. Man U now has a chip. KC woke up a sleeping bear. If KC can do it can’t LA? Quit it Arena.

  9. RK says:

    Great, then DCU should rename themselves the Pirates and get ready to bleed money.

  10. Don Garber says:

    I like money.

  11. Allen23 says:

    Completely agree with Arena. MLS clubs like Seattle are in the middle of multiple competitions, including the MLS regular season, Champions League and Open Cup. They are playing these games on short schedules with teams that are not very deep.

    I look at the 1st halves of both the New England and the Seattle game and the MLS teams played well in both cases. Then they sub out their starters while Man U. brings in the likes of Rooney and Park as their “reserves”.

    These types of games just make the MLS look bad in the eyes of haters and are designed only to put money in the pockets of the league and the big clubs.

    We had the same problem with the SupeLiga. Mexican team with one thing to play for. They would play their first XI while we would play a combo of starters and reserves. Giving the unfair appearance that the Mexican League is superior to MLS.

    I think it would only be fair for MLS teams to head over to England in February and March, to play friendlies over there when we have nothing to loose and the EPL is in the final stretch, FA cup is wrapping up and they have Champions League knockout games to balance.

  12. hifivinmofos says:

    They’re friendlies. It is what it is. I don’t know why Arena is griping about getting results. Use it to evaluate fringe players. That’s what the European managers are doing for the most part.

  13. DAN says:

    dead on

  14. Cole says:

    I think MLS can allow spending based upon attendance/club profits , no point hindering a club like Seattle when they’re getting 36k or even LA, getting 24k a match. They could have a system that allows more salary to clubs that make more money, this to me would be interesting and would be a step in the right direction.

  15. PD says:

    Until regular season games are sellouts week in and week out MLS needs this kind of exhibition feature. Would Arena rather his pre-season or season ending squad face a mid-season ManU? Please.

  16. Will says:

    Eat my goal

  17. cole says:

    Also this would sort of force MLS clubs to focus more on getting people to the games.

  18. KevDC says:

    Oh stop. I’m no Galaxy fan but there is an obvious and huge advantage to a team with the talent and depth of a Real Madrid or Man U when they can take advantage of unlimited substitutions, especially when MLS teams are dealing with mid-season injuries and the need to rest players for games that matter.

    I get that these matches put money in MLS coffers, but on balance I’m with the camp that says stop this foolishness. All we’re doing is helping these big, rich clubs get new American fans.

    It’s shortsighted!

  19. Reid says:

    maybe these 7-0 and 4-1 results are needed to bring about change. I see nothing wrong with the friendlies except all the congestion. I’ve always thought that the season should start a couple weeks earlier and MLS should just try to play as many of those games in the south to avoid snow/freezing temps in the north.

    Hopefully a couple more games early on would allow for a week of friendlies in mid summer.

  20. hifivinmofos says:

    …and SKC drew NUFC 0-0 last night. So we’re 1-0-1 against the EPL. Point is Pardew and Vermes started a healthy dose of first-teamers last night, and mostly second-teamers in the second half. Don’t know if it was a “gentlemen’s agreement”, but they played the friendly the way it should be played. There were even a couple of yellow cards.

  21. KevDC says:

    NASL, early 80’s — look it up.

    MLS’ slow-and-steady approach is the right way.

  22. mistadobolina says:

    Cole, you are right on! The day they do this we will actually see some serious improvements in the league. The Free Market isn’t always pretty but it gets results for the strong and willing.

  23. maka says:

    It’s not the fans. It’s the Eurosnobs and ex-pats.

  24. mistadobolina says:

    i agree that just letting ever debt run team in the league spend as much as they think will make them viable might be a bad idea but allowing the salary cap expand based on higher revenue (attendance, TV viewers, etc) should be allowed. Don’t hold back the winners because NE or Chivas can’t compete.

  25. giaco says:

    of course there were YC’s–it was a match that involved Newcastle.

  26. DCUPedro says:

    Ok, fine… but its hardly useful for the Arena to evaluate his fringe players against the top 18 of Real Madrid. You can’t very well evaluate an MLS reserve player against Ronaldo. That’s why he is saying they are useless.

    However, for all the fans complaining about these mid summer friendlies… STOP GOING TO THE GAMES. Clubs will keep scheduling them as long as they keep getting 60,000 people in the stands. I long ago quit encouraging the DC United front office by paying 100 bucks a pop to see exhibitions with other euro snobs. Barca is playing Man United next week at FedEx, and poor S.O.B.’s are forking over 2-300 bucks a pop. This is just a scrimmage, folks. It is barely a level above practice for these guys. The real match was two months ago.

    And now DCU wants me to fork over money to go see us play a team like Everton? Really? Other clubs are asking premium prices to see their clubs play the likes of West Brom? What a joke.

    The funniest thing is when you go to these matches, or see them on tv, you see a bunch of dudes wearing jerseys from various European teams that aren’t even in the match. If you wear a Lazio shirt to a match between in Philly between Club America and Liverpool — you might be a eurosnob.

  27. EastBayGrease says:

    MLS is a product for soccer fans. It’s not a non-profit that exists so professional coaches can exercise their tactics. Who doesn’t want to see the best clubs in the world in person, especially when they come to you. The only thing more exciting than that is seeing your favorite local team play against the world’s best clubs.

    It is a huge luxury that we get to see the best clubs in Europe and Mexico square off in our backyards every summer. Boo on anyone who says that it’s a bad idea,

  28. Goat Boy says:

    Exactly- Manchester United played the whole game with a line up that wouldn’t have been blinked at in an EPL game (against a mid- to lower table opponent) or a group stage Champions League game. The Sounders starters played a good first half, only down 1-0 and creating a few chances. In the second half, Sounders bring in the bench/reserves and get killed by Rooney, Park, Anderson, etc.

    I think Sigi’s comments are more about the fact that the bench didn’t play like they had something to prove. THAT, more than the score, was what was disappointing.

    That being said, I don’t like these mid season friendlies against top 10 teams. To tough on the smaller MLS teams.

  29. Shane says:

    The european model doesnt work!! Period. Look at the financial reforms UEFA is imposing, read how many owners want a salary cap. Listen to the rants of ManU and Liverpool fans about the debt their clubs are in.

    The MLS teams all did well in the first half of their matches. It wasnt until the sescond and third stringers were having to go up against Ronaldo and Rooney that things went downhill

  30. John says:

    What is Arena complaining about? Just because he can make whole sale changes at the half doesn’t mean he has to. He could play hi starters longer if he wants. Watching Seattle play their C squad at the end of the Man U game with guys who nobody even knows or cares about is a disgrace.

  31. mistadobolina says:

    MLS alleviate the congestion:

    1. push the USOC to a pre-season (Jan-March) or post-season (Nov-Dec) turny
    2. allow profitable teams to spend more; more player depth for a longer deeper season
    3. if necessary keep pushing the beginning season earlier. I’d be on board with games in early March. instead of having 3 games per week all summer.

    these friendlies are a distraction from league play and with CCL and USOC its tough operating under a small budget. But the fact that big Euro clubs want to play games here should be taken advantage of. Huge opportunity here…

  32. ExtraMedium says:

    96 97 99 04. DC also has one of the better youth systems and is a top 10 market with one of the richest populations IN THE WORLD.

    link to

  33. ExtraMedium says:

    Name ONE European country with a league system that has collapsed.

  34. fifawitz1313 says:

    This is right on! Plus I prefer parity. The last thing we need is MLS to turn into the MLB and have a few good teams at the top and the rest stuggling to make money. They are following a system similar to the NFL which is the most lucrative sports league in the world. It will be a slow process but if MLS keeps this strategy it will eventually become a top league. The European Leagues cannot sustain their debt levels forever and eventually the players demanding high salaries will be forced to look at where the most stable, viable, and strong league are located. The MLS is very slowly (maybe 40-50 yrs away) headed in that direction. Remember it took the NFL many years took become the giant it is today. Of course we all want to watch the best league with the best players but shoot it’s going to be a while so just sit back and enjoy watching growing process

  35. ExtraMedium says:

    Pay attention. American soccer fans want superclubs…so why not give us superclubs in MLS? We’ve shown we’ll show up for them year after year.

  36. Eurosnob Apologist says:

    Why so much hate against the eurosnobs? I mean yeah I’d be great if they supported their local MLS side like the rest of us, but at least they have an interest in the game and usually support the nats. Also for a lot of people who don’t live near an MLS stadium it’s not really practical to regularly make it out to games.

  37. Angel FAN of USA says:


  38. RK says:

    How about teams, instead? Plenty of those.

  39. RK says:

    I’m in MLS-less Atlanta, where these friendlies should be played (had 50k for ones like AC Milan-America).

  40. Angel FAN of USA says:

    I think if MLS want to keep a Salary Cap is fine, but please keep it in a Mid Level Salary cap somewhere as the like of European Team that are Mid Table. Some team like Bolton, West Ham or Athletico Madrid etc. salary or maybe like Club America from Mexico, their roster goes up to 20-30 million. So Keep it somewhere like 20mil – 40mil that will bring better players and more dept in team to choose from the reserved roster and that way they can compete with the Mexican league in the Concacaf Champion.

  41. jamesey says:

    It’s Earth’s fault. Weather in North America wouldn’t be kind to an MLS season that has matches from October to March. Any team north of texas would have numerous snowed out matches.

  42. Angel FAN of USA says:

    By the way that last comment I post reply to me it was on actually in reply of Joe From El Paso…LOL sorry my bad.

  43. RK says:

    Parity Pete Rozelle would disagree.

  44. blah says:

    Screw parity! I want to see good soccer. Why do we have to watch some mid table team get lucky (probably due to some bad MLS reff call)
    make the playoffs and then actually have a chance because of parity.

    Teams like Seattle have 36k fans that fork over the cash each week to end up seeing a bunch of reserves who Rooney wipes his *** with their jerseys, just for the sake of parity.

  45. slyboy says:

    This thread really let the brought out the morons.

  46. says:

    So glad this clown is not in charge of the Us Natl team anymore now we just got to get rid of the other clown in charge.

  47. Catenaccio says:

    It’s not the leagues. It’s clubs. Many go into bankruptcy because there is unlimited spending. To name but a few: Valencia, Leeds, Queens Park Rangers, Portsmouth have all had to declare bankruptcy. Heck, even the BIG clubs like AS Roma, Barca, Man U and Liverpool (which had to be saved by the Boston Red Sox ownership, oh the humanity!) have all had debt trouble. Lots of it can be pointed at mismanagement but much of it is due to unregulated spending. The thing is, European law will never allow for a salary cap. And for a country like ours that is so gung ho free market, I find it funny we become all communist when it comes to our sports. I think the NFL is terrible because of the cap. I do think bigger markets would probably do better with less regulation but soccer is a team sport and as we have seen year in and year out, even with spending $$$’ on good players, a certain big market team (Red Bulls) never can field a winner even when they spend money.

  48. Hopper says:

    I agree. With their starters in, Seattle actually played well in the first half and was unlucky not to have scored a goal thanks to United’s goalkeeper pulling off a number of great saves.

    Then Sigi put the scrubs out there for the second half, like even a couple of guys I had never seen before (Mrisho Ngassa?), and it was Massacre City. So it ended up being the Seattle Sounders Scrubs against the likes of Park, Rooney, Ferdinand, Obertan and Nani!

    I went from being proud of the Sounders’ first-half performance, after which it could have easily been 1-1, to being completely embarrassed by the end of the game.

    So it was sort of a trade-off: Sigi made a miscalculation in giving everyone on the roster a chance to play because the final score, at home no less, was an embarrassment. On the other hand, we came out of the game without exhausting our squad and without any injuries, so the focus is still the MLS regular season, US Open Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League, which is exactly where it should be.

  49. Mr. Garber – these friendlies are good for us.

    The revenue is good too.

    They provide an excellent benchmark of where our game is relative to the best in the world. It just proves we have more work to do.

    As a coach, I pledge to help our players technical abilities, while helping them speed up their decision making to compete in the world game.

    Kudos to Seattle’s first half. They were fun to watch. 2nd half? Not so much.

    Sorry for all these whiners. Everyone wants respect without the effort.

  50. Fanboy says:

    How about we take baby steps and just improve it to 6k, that would be more than double what it already is… really puts into perspective how low it currently is.

    I was telling my dad yesterday, that the reason the sounders were losing is because if you combine the salaries of all players on the field in the second half they still make less than any player you name on the field for Manchester.

  51. CA says:

    Does it make sense for Sigi to run his starting 11 ragged for 90 minutes in a mid-season game that doesn’t count for anything??

  52. Nate says:


  53. Oranje Mike says:


    Would you attend a game in Chicago, Toronto, Boston or Harrison in mid January after a snow storm?

    Would players have fun running around in shorts and trying to kick a ball around on a frozen surface?

    We’re not the only country to play this schedule. My only beef is not honoring FIFA dates. This is a great disservice the the league and fans.

  54. Poo says:

    + 1000. The mystique is gone. Dont need ’em Dont want ’em.

  55. hogatroge says:

    NE 1, Man U 4
    SJ 2, WBA 1
    VAN 1, Man City 2
    SKC 0, NUFC 0
    HOU 0, Bolton 2
    SEA 0, Man U 7
    POR 2, WBA 3

    MLS against EPL, this season, is more like 1-1-5

  56. Rod says:

    This is a great way to find out your areas of weakness to prepare for transfer market signings.

    LA has no offensive depth because Arena hangs on to marginal players that can only provide defensive pressure. Once again, they will get knocked out of competitions by younger, quicker offensive talent. Arena is a kidding himself if he thinks he doesn’t have to improve the roster because he is in 1st Place.

    Seattle should realize that they need to get another finisher and central defensive depth.

  57. hogatroge says:

    I think moving the USOC could work, but it’s not without its issues.

    If MLS wants to see better results in these friendlies, they need to clear some calendar space so teams can face the European powerhouses at full strength.

  58. hogatroge says:

    I doubt Man U players get any benefit from steamrolling Seattle’s reserves.

  59. Rick says:

    the American born ones are the most annoying people anywhere…if you support the national team, then you should support your league. They go hand in hand regardless of what they might tell you.

  60. Cavan says:

    Not to mention Philadelphia, Washington DC, Columbus, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Denver, and Montreal. Our winters are much worse in DC than they are in northern England! Not even close. We get much more snow and And we’re the least cold of the cold-weather teams.

    If we move to a winter schedule, we’d reschedule every game in those cities because the field is buried in snow or it’s frozen solid and unsafe. More importantly, they’d lose their fanbase as no one wants to sit outside in sub-freezing temperatures at night multiple times a year.

  61. fifawitz1313 says:

    I think your problem lies more in the playoff format. I don’t see how anyone could argue that parity is bad for a league. Greater competition breeds higher standards and constant improvement.

  62. Cavan says:

    We get that. But until United can get out of RFK, they will bleed money. The factors you mentioned make United a wonderful long-term investment. In the near term, it’s a money sink due to paying big rent on a too-big stadium that’s outdated.

  63. Union says:

    You know, I have mixed feelings on these MLS games. On one hand, the embarrassment of losing 7-0 cannot be understated and while I’m very critical of the talent in the MLS, I understand that MLS teams have a responsibility to win meaningful games and thus they have to sub out starters at half time. By that same token, the top teams in the Premiership and La Liga tour all over Asia and you just don’t see results like this. Fans of the MLS (which I am not) have to realize that the gap in talent is large. When Ives goes on Twitter and does his typical “You fans don’t know anything!” rant, he thinks the joke is on everyone else. Sorry Ives, the jokes on you and anyone else who likes to take on MLS hater saying they don’t watch the game.

    I want the MLS to succeed, but what is the point of the league? Has that been established yet? Garber wants it to be one of the top leagues in the world, but how exactly does he see that happening? No one has explained that to me yet.

  64. Andy Zilis says:

    Personally, I don’t care much about these friendlies, but I used to get annoyed when these big-name teams came to the US only to play each other rather than MLS teams. I’d much rather see a game between ManU and an MLS team than ManU and Real Madrid, for example.

    I have zero interest in exhibition games between 2 big-name European teams.

  65. Cavan says:

    Again, remember the NASL? It had a superclub. What ever happened to that league?

    The EPL has superclubs. What ever happened to their competition like Leeds and Portsmouth? What would have happened to Liverpool if it wasn’t bailed out by the Boston Red Sox owners? What would have happened to Real Madrid if the friggin’ city of Madrid didn’t bail them out.

    Now do you get why we don’t want superclubs? American soccer fans want soccer. Only a few Eurosnobs on message boards want superclubs. Then they’d make up a reason not to watch a hypothetical MLS superclub so they could bask in their Eurosnobbery. It’s a losing proposition. Ignore it.

  66. Xavier says:


  67. Big Dog says:

    philly won too

  68. Spencer says:

    One big problem…Arena doesn’t utilize the transfer market. He only goes for old US nationals looking to retire.

  69. Ed says:

    Please increase the salary cap a bit so there is actually some kind of depth to compete against other countries

  70. hogatroge says:

    Ah, yes…

    PHI 1, Everton 0


  71. rusty shackleford says:


  72. Simps says:

    so scatter the starter like the foreigners do….it would help.

  73. Bart says:

    If MLS B & C sqauds are hanging with mid-level EPL squads like Everton, NUFC, and Man City…then Garber is doing something right. Man U and Real Madrid are completely different beasts. Funny how American coaches havent realized that they should put some of their starters in in the 2nd Half against the super-clubs

  74. Roger says:

    until it blows up and then you can blame it on somebody else, right?

  75. Oliver says:

    Of course, but when you have devoted fans like the MLS now has, you have to loosen the purse straps a bit more

  76. Appi says:

    Double would be just fine

  77. mike says:

    and the gold cup and concafcaf league crap and confiderations cup the only tournament players should be allowed to play in is world cup if the nba let players play in the fiba crap during the season u think the fans would like tha?

  78. mike says:

    no man the only way mls should play these teams is if there is som kind of tournament with meaning behind it who the f cares if sounders play man u in a friendly? friendlies r like nfl and nba preseason (crap)

  79. Pablo says:

    + 1,000,000

  80. RK says:

    There’s a half-built stadium in Valencia available for cheap.

  81. MLSnob says:

    By your logic no one should watch college football or college basketball (or Women’s World Cup or any leasge outside of the big 4 in Europe) because they don’t represent the best performances in their respective domains. So whether or not there is a large talent gap is sort of irrelevant to people’s interest. People who cite that as a reason for not watching MLS are looking for reasons not to watch it.

    On a separate note, the reason the drubbings happen is that MLS clubs are subbing in their second and third stringers in the second half. Look at the first half performances in the games you’re bitching about. The MLS clubs do reasonably well. So ultimately what you’re saying is “there’s a huge gap” between Man U/Man City/Real Madrid’s second stringers and MLS second stringers. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    The point of the league is that I get to watch and support a soccer club that I can see in person on a regular basis that plays half way decent soccer. On a personal note, I also like that the champion of the league isn’t already determined at the halfway point of the season. I guess it doesn’t compare to the excitement the past few years of Man U, Chelsea, Man U, Man U, Man U, Chelsea, Chelsea… but I guess I’ll just have to live with that.

  82. MLSnob says:

    Yeah, I mean he must have done such a terrible job because he got the U.S. Nats the furthest they’ve gone in the modern era, right? Clearly a clown.

  83. Pablo says:

    Comparing MLS teams to the Man U, Barca, Real Madrid’s, et al., is unfair and impractical at this point. And so is panicking just because Man U and Real pasted MLS reserves. Most neutrals will quickly move on and the Eurosnobs and Man U fan boys who make a big deal of it are being disingenuous.

    Instead I’m more interested in how MLS teams do against mid-table EPL or teams from other countries like Mexico, Argentina, etc.

  84. Clark says:

    Man U ran up the score on MLS reserves and embarrassed their hosts who rolled out the red carpet for them. Man U can stay home next year.

  85. Pablo says:

    Do these Asian teams play B and C reserves? Am I supposed to believe that you’re a so-called expert on Asian football too? Let’s get some perspective.

  86. rusty shackleford says:

    Well put, sir!!!

  87. Clark says:

    or the excitement of a relegation playoff.

  88. MLSnob says:

    +100000 This is why CCL is awesome. Both a good test of MLS and actually meaningful competition.

  89. CA says:

    Last night was a total catastrophe for us here in Seattle. People who didn’t watch the game are only gonna see the score, and not be aware of the first half. I’m also concerned that our confidence has been damaged somewhat.

    Having said that, I DONT blame Sigi. It would have been irresponsible to run all our starters for 90 minutes in a meaningless game. Wouldn’t be surprised if the FO doesn’t schedule any friendlies next year.

    Last night sucked:(

  90. Larry B says:

    True, but if you just watched the 1st Half…Seattle outplayed Man United. Seattle isn’t that far off from legitimately having a chance at Champions League or MLS Cup.

    Sigi has to know he needs a replacement for Nkufo and a Center Back like Baudet for depth. The defense always seems to fall apart when Hurtado goes down.

  91. Mario says:

    So you do what they do and use some straters in the 2nd Half…sigi has to take some blame for the final tally

  92. Ren says:

    These are guys fighting for playing time, I dont blame them. MLS should have saved a team like Man U or Madrid for the All-Star Game. Even a Chelsea or Arsenal doesnt have the depth of a Man U or Madrid.

  93. Yuli says:

    The Asian teams are using the All Stars of their country, not 11 C squad players. They have yet to face a Man U or Madrid either. You could only put Barca up there with these 2 teams.

  94. Warnio says:

    I will not listen to anything Arena says until he finally realizes that Barrett, Magee, Birtchall, Kirovski, Jordan etc are not MLS caliber starters and draft picks are not transfers.

  95. Myles B says:

    If TFC has done one thing right, it’s the elimination of these friendlies. The coach and fan don’t care and they listened for once.

  96. CA says:

    Our starters genuinely gave ManU a run for their money in the first half. But most people are only gonna see the score. That’s why this situation is so crappy.

  97. TGA says:

    I would much rather see games like Real v Chivas from last night. MLS sux. Washed up Euros and No Name Lations. MLS sux.

    The Man u v Barca match will bring monster ratings and a massive crowd. Lets have more of those.

  98. Roddy says:

    your mom sux

  99. Malty says:

    most people like who? the eurosnobs? who cares

  100. Rod says:

    that stadium blows

  101. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    I’ve no problem with mid-season friendlies (so long as we don’t play more than one) and no problem with the Sounders or any other team getting trounced by Man. Untd.

    What I would like to see though, is a system that guaranteed all these profits are turned around and invested in something meaningful. A league-wide kitty to help fund youth development, a residential academy, stadium improvements, etc.

  102. Energy B says:

    Arena, please retire from American soccer….you have now turned the USA and the Galaxy into boring teams…mission accomplished!

  103. Seriously says:

    International soccer and international basketball are two completely different things. I agree that we should not be messing around with friendlies in the middle of the MLS regular season, but to say we should not allow players to play for their national team sides and equating that to international basketball is a bit ridiculous.

  104. abc says:

    Well said!

  105. abc says:

    And then in 2006?

    If Arena gets the credit, he also gets the blame, right?

  106. Brent McD says:

    elapsed time to first Fire Bob Bradley comment:
    impressive restraint folks

  107. marco says:

    Whether Sigi was right or not to sub-out everyone at halftime, is irrelevant. His intentions were known and his assistants needed to have those scrubs ready, at least to know where they’re playing and their marking responsibilities. Sigi’s assistants failed miserably, as any point in the second have video will show.

    Arena is right, the coach had other responsibilities to think about and so subbed out a very good starting 10. When I watched the game the second time it was easy to attributed 6 of United’s goals to just three Sounder players. But the assistants were more to blame.

  108. RAMONE says:

    “They provide an excellent benchmark of where our game is relative to the best in the world. It just proves we have more work to do”


    I’d agree with you if it was starters vs starters (which would take buy in from the traveling clubs AND scheduling accommodations by MLS to accomplish). As it is, these are a couple of MLS starters vs 50-75% traveling club starters with ridiculously liberal subbing in.

    These are exhibitions and not taken seriously. The only people who take the results seriously are fans who don’t pay attention to who actually played and just see the team names and result.

    I take nothing from Portland’s 3-2 loss to West Brom last night. The Timbers started only 3 of their regular starters, took 1 off at half and the other is suspended for Saturday’s MLS match due to card accumulation with the third coming off a card suspension so was ready to take on a little extra playing time.

    I don’t need reserve heavy (both sides) exhibitions with teams in vastly different parts of their season readiness to tell me that top European Clubs (ManU, Arsenal, Chelsea, Ajax, Barca, Real Madrid, etc.) are better than anything in MLS has to offer (I just need a roster and my own two eyes). But are we to believe that last year’s mid-table EPL teams are the same as Portland (1 goal win in the 91st minute) and San Jose (freak 1 goal loss) … bottom dwellers in the MLS? If the gulf between the top and middle of the EPL would contain nearly the entire MLS, then the EPL is in sadder shape that I thought with its disparity.

  109. RAMONE says:

    His risk, not yours … until multiple teams fold and take the league down with it.

    I think the time is coming where the salary cap needs to be significantly raised in order to raise the overall level of talent and if that means teams who are struggling to fill their stadiums (Columbus, New England, Dallas … looking at you) have to move (either to a better located stadium or elsewhere) to compete then so be it. However, completely eliminating the salary cap would create mutually assured destruction as one or two clubs would accumulate all of the wealth and the rest would be mired in also ran status and eventually fans would tune out (the lesson of the NASL when Cosmos was king and nobody could compete … they did such a perfect job of it they folded the entire league).

  110. Adam Smith says:

    Friendlies are ripoff!

  111. RAMONE says:

    Oh, I think they realize it and would love to play their best. But when you have a plane to catch the following morning to fly across the country to play a MLS game that actually counts for something 3 days later, you rest your starters.

  112. TimN says:

    There’s a few issues that some people here who long for a European season schedule don’t seem to get. If MLS played from September to March, they would be competing for TV coverage and TV ratings with college football, NFL football, and college basketball, and they’d lose, hands down. I’m as avid a supporter and proponent of soccer as anybody on this forum, but I’m also realistic and acknowledge that it will NEVER EVER trump sports like football and basketball in the U.S. Playing in the late spring through the summer allows them to mainly compete with baseball and the late stages of the NBA season, which is manageable.

    As well, the weather in cities like NY, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia in the winter months would be brutal, and would result in many game delays and cancellations.

    Lastly, Arena makes a good point regarding the format of these games. They should play regular rules, particularly in regard to subs. The European teams are MUCH deeper, and are at a distinct advantage in these matches with unlimited subs. MLS teams may obviously still lose to powerhouses like ManU and Real Madrid playing the 3 sub rule, but perhaps would be able to keep the scorelines more respectable.

  113. Charle$ says:


    YE$, They do

  114. Mike32123 says:

    You make these comments but what makes you think MLS teams can even afford to raise the salary cap at this point? Their TV contracts are nowhere near that of European clubs and neither is merchandise sales. Only 2 teams made a profit last year. RBNY went and got a bunch of big name expensive players and can’t even fill their seats. Keep the salary cap and move slow. Right now the league just needs more exposure which is what these friendlies provide.