It is not difficult to find someone around MLS with the opinion that Rivalry Week, for all its attached awesomeness, arrived a little early.
It’s like a big, juicy, steak with perfect grill lines – but one served up a mere three hours after a huge lunch. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the product; it’s the timing that’s off.
MLS rivalry week in Round 3 of 34?
It is only March, after all.
Not everyone shared the opinion. And honestly, it didn’t bother me very much going in. While it might be nice to have this play out toward the back end of the record long regular season window, the playoff races typically carry September and October. Or that was my theory.
Looking at some of the crowd counts around the league on the first attempt at Rivalry Week, there’s some evidence that perhaps the timing could be better.
Crowds were fantastic in Montreal and Seattle. The grounds were full in Utah for Real Salt Lake’s Rocky Mountain rivalry.
On the other hand, plenty of dandy seats were available in Philadelphia (in fairness, a crowd of 15,689 in lousy weather wasn’t bad at PPL Park), New York and Dallas. Same for the game going on right now at the Home Depot Center outside Los Angeles.
Perhaps the season needs to steep a little more before we go biting into all the delicious acrimony and hostility of the league’s chief rivals. Applause to MLS for trying something. This is only the first spin of the Rivalry Week wheel. They deciders will have plenty of opportunity to adjust.