Bruce Arena: no fan of MLS unbalanced schedule


Looks like L.A. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena held his tongue on this year’s unbalanced schedule in MLS about as long as he could.

In 2011, every Major League Soccer team played an equitable slate of matches, one at home and one on the road against every other club. That’s a “balanced” schedule in the MLS vernacular.

But Montreal entered the league this year as a 19th franchise. League deciders didn’t want to play 36 matches (the sum of retaining a balanced schedule). So they concocted a system of facing conference rivals more often, while facing cross-conference clubs less.

There was grumbling here and there, mostly as the new way would affect the Supporters Shield, which is awarded for top club in the regular season. Now, “grumbling” has gone nuclear. What say you, Coach Arena?

I think the whole construction of the schedule this year with an unbalanced schedule is stupid. Absolutely stupid. To have a Supporters’ Shield for that, it’s stupid. I don’t know how that ever got through, but I can tell you that most people think it’s stupid.

“Without a doubt, the way to put together a schedule in this league is home and away. Period. End of story. And if they need somebody to help them figure it out, the coaches would be glad to sit down with the people in the front office of MLS and show them how to do it. We would be glad to do it.”