For a long time, Major League Soccer’s willingness to play through FIFA match days has been a sore subject. And this isn’t one of those issues that helps define ever-eroding line between Europe-first and MLS club fans. On both sides of that divide, you’ll find people who hate when leagues play through FIFA dates, while others prefer club soccer, uncomfortable with its occasional deference to the international game.
Regardless, picking on MLS for not falling in line with the world appeals to a standard that doesn’t exist. Besides, who’s against more soccer?
It’s interesting to note how the FIFA dates are perceived in other parts of the world. In Europe, there doesn’t seem to be much love for them, but it’s FIFA and UEFA, so what are you going to do? It is what it is. In South America, there’s certainly more of a resistance to letting some organization in Zurich tell them when they should and shouldn’t play games. And in CONCACAF, there’s more of a “you do what you have to do” vibe.
(If anybody can speak to Asia and Africa, please let us know.)
This weekend, Major League Soccer has a limited schedule: two matches on Wednesday; one on Thursday; one on Saturday. Liga MX doesn’t resume action until Sept. 14.
Look throughout the hemisphere, though, and you see Mexico is the exception, not MLS. Brazil and Argentina are playing, as are Uruguay, Costa Rica and Honduras, among others. Fans starved for club soccer will have have plenty of options:
On Saturday: Estudiantes vs. Vélez Sarsfield; San Lorenzo vs. Colón
On Sunday: River Plate vs. Newell’s Old Boys
On Wednesday: São Paulo vs. Internacional
On Thursday: Fluminense vs. Santos
On Saturday: Corinthians vs. Gremio
On Sunday: Santos vs. São Paulo; Internacional vs. Fluminense; Altético Mineiro vs. Palmeiras
On Saturday: Alajuelense vs. Herediano
On Saturday: Real España vs. Victoria
But if you just want to stay local, the international break’s not going to deter you from getting your soccer fix:
On Wednesday: New England vs. Columbus; Colorado vs. Portland
On Thursday: Houston vs. Real Salt Lake
On Friday: Jamaica vs. United States
On Saturday: Seattle vs. Chivas USA