World Cup Having A Positive Impact On MLS Attendance

ESPN has seen a 36% increase in its ratings compared to the World Cup four years ago as suddenly soccer became a sport that the mainstream media covered. But the question that Major League Soccer probably wanted answered was did the interest in the world cup translate to more fans going to MLS games? The answer to that question is yes.  had some MLS attendance data that nine out of 12 MLS teams to have hosted a match since the World Cup started saw attendance go up from its last pre-tournament figure. From the article: "The return of Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle to MLS action on Sunday also marked the LA Galaxy's first match since before the World Cup. Twenty-seven thousand flocked to the stadium to welcome the duo home from South Africa, a mind-boggling 37.5 percent increase over the Galaxy's 2010 average attendance coming into the match. On the field, the twice-teammates showed their camaraderie when Donovan assisted on a Buddle goal early in the 19th minute as the Galaxy improved to 11-1-3 on the season with a 3-1 win over Seattle Sounders FC. The hookup furthered Buddle's and Donovan's respective MLS leads in goals and assists, as each has ...
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2010 MLS Power Rankings: Week Two

MLS Power Rankings (March 31)—Last Week’s Rank in Parentheses 1. Columbus Crew (1): GBS proved he’s still got it in a 2-0 win over Toronto. 2. LA Galaxy (2): It wasn’t pretty, but a 1-0 win over NER keeps them at No. 2. 3. Seattle Sounders (3): They looked darn good, but they did play the Union. 4. Real Salt Lake (6): A 4-0 win? Maybe their road woes are a thing of the past. 5. Houston Dynamo (4): Dominic Kinnear’s bunch dug deep for a road tie against Dallas. 6. Colorado Rapids (9): A very nice win on the road for Gary Smith’s squad vs. CHV. 7. Chicago Fire (5): The Windy City took a tumble in NY’s new digs, so they fall. 8. K.C. Wizards (13): The week’s biggest climber put a 4-0 beatdown on DCU. 9. Toronto FC (7): Nobody puts baby in a corner, nor beats CMB at home. 10. FC Dallas (8): A tie vs. HOU isn’t bad, but it ain’t enough for the former Burn. 11. N.Y. Red Bulls (14): A win over CHI to open their new stadium was sweet. 12. N.E. Revolution (10): A tough Week One loss for a team that has injury problems. 13. Chivas USA (12): The Goats dropped a ...
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Seattle Sounders v. Philadelphia Union Kick Off MLS Season Tonight

Tonight marks the beginning of another Major League Soccer season when the Seattle Sounders take on the expansion Philadelphia Union. Seattle’s Quest Field is the toughest stadium to play in and it will be packed and rocking tonight; a real baptism of fire for Peter Nowak and his Union team. Nowak has taken a page out of Seattle coach Sigi Schmid’s playbook from last season in that he has built has team from the back. He has two good goalkeepers in goal, whether it is Chris Seitz and Brad Knighton, and with defenders Danny Califf, Shavar Thomas, Michael Orozco, Jordan Harvey and Dave Myrie, the Union should be solid defensively. And they will need to be. The Union are young; an average age of 23, and they play eight out of their first 10 matches away from home. This season could get ugly quickly in Philadelphia and that is why I expect Nowak to be very defensive minded against the Sounders. Look for the Union to crowd the midfield and frustrate the Sounders and try and take the crowd out of the game. So don’t expect tonight’s game to be a soccer classic. What I ...
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Men’s Major League Soccer: Pre-Season Rankings

With the labor situation all squared away, we are all set for another season of Major League soccer. The 2010 season kicks off on Thursday with a game between the Seattle Sounders and the expansion team Philadelphia Union. Pre-season rankings don’t mean a lot at this point in the season, but they give an early indication of who are expected to be the best teams this season. So, without further ado, here is my Week One MLS Power Rankings:   1. Columbus Crew: Two straight Supporters Shields, so I think they are No. 1 right now. 2. LA Galaxy: I can’t believe I have them here either. But, I think Arena will earn it. 3. Seattle Sounders: I like their chances of hoisting even more hardware in 2010. 4. Houston Dynamo: Sure, they lost a ton of talent, but this team is always tough. 5. Chicago Fire: They still have amazing depth, but do they have the desire? 6. Real Salt Lake: Will they defend their title? My magic eight ball says “no way.” 7. Toronto FC: The Reds are poised to push into the postseason with Preki. 8. FC Dallas: Can they continue last year’s streak of domination? I have no idea. 9. ...
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Major League Soccer: League and Players Union Reach Agreement on CBA

  The 2010 Major League Soccer season will begin on—time, after the league and its players union agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement on Saturday. The sides agreed to a new five—year deal. The highlights of the deals are guaranteed contracts, improved freedom of movement by players out of contract (not quite free agency) and improved compensation for players. MLS Players Union head Bob Foose said a majority of players will receive guaranteed contracts for the first time and there will be increased player rights within the league when contracts expire. Even with those wins, the players union still failed to achieve its goal of free agency. “From our perspective, these negotiations were always about players’ rights,” Foose said, with his members wanting to bring their rights “more in line with leagues from around the world. Soccer is a global game and we were adamant that these changes were necessary to make MLS as competitive as possible,” Foose said. Major League Soccer has been opposed to giving the players free agency, but they agreed to creating a re-entry draft for players whose contracts end, options are declined or who reach a certain age. “We think we have made some real improvements in players’ ability to move,” Foose ...
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MLS Strike Threatens Sounders Home Opener

The MLS Players Union is getting ready to strike next Monday if a new collective bargaining agreement is not reached. A Monday strike would come four days before the 2010 MLS season is supposed to kick off in Seattle with the Sounders facing expansion side Philadelphia Union and increase pressure on Major League Soccer with interest in the sport at an all-time high. MLS players are prepared to strike by the league’s May 25 opener. Players are asking for more guaranteed contracts and free-agent rights. Major League Soccer is a "single entity" league, which has a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) governing player contracts, salaries, and legal status. Contracts are owned by the league rather than individual clubs. The players' union wants major changes to that structure, which it has called a cartel that restricts freedom of movement. Basically MLS players want the same freedoms as football players around the world. When their contract is up they want to be able to go sign for whoever they want. John Wolyniec, New York Red Bulls player rep, said this on about the union's position: “What we’re asking for is reasonable, essentially player rights that most players ...
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MLS Preview: Seattle Sounders Prepare for Portland Timbers Game

The Seattle Sounders FC will host the Portland Timbers in its only home preseason match on Thursday, March 11, at the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. Kickoff is 6 p.m. PST. The Sounders will be looking to extend its preseason shutout streak which is up to 293 minutes after the 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend. More than 13,000 tickets have been sold to Thursday's game. Qwest Field gates open at 5 p.m. In the Vancouver game, the speed of the Sounders attack was obvious and Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid spoke about that yesterday when he met with reporters. “Obviously we are a team that is built around quickness and speed, especially on the offensive part of field. The essence of our game with Ljungberg, Montero, and Zakuani and people like that is their ability to get isolated and use their quickness and use their individual skills and abilities to create space and make plays that way. When things are going well for us it means the ball is moving quickly and it means we are getting the ball early to our front runners and giving them some time and space to take people on.” For the Timbers game, Schmid spoke about ...
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Sounders Draw 0-0 With Vancouver

The Seattle Sounders are now 3-1-1 in preseason play after drawing 0-0 with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. The Sounders bossed the game but are not yet in regular season form, as the nine offsides in the game attest to. If the Whitecaps game is any indication on the Sounders approach this season, it is apparent that the Sounders team speed will cause MLS teams a lot of trouble this season.Sounders Notes:Roster Not Trimmed: The ongoing MLS labor situation means that the Sounders have not cut down their roster since returning from Europe. The Sounders still have around 30 players in camp, and this has to be impacting the teams preparations as that is about right players too many. Kasey Keller looking to extend his contract: It looks like once the MLS Labor Situation is resolved that Sounders keeper Kasey Keller will extend his contract for another year. "We've talked about it," Keller said this week upon return from Spain, where Sounders FC held part of preseason training. "We've started talking about it, about extending my contract one more year. We're trying to get the CBA sorted out right now, make sure things goes off without a hitch this year, and ...
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Why the Seattle Sounders FC Will Continue To Be the Hottest Ticket in Town

  The Seattle Sounders FC are set to once again be the hottest ticket in Seattle this summer. The Sounders announced earlier this week that the home opener on March 25 against first—year side, the Philadelphia Union, has been sold out. Additonally, the Sounders May 8th game against the Los Angeles Galaxy is sold out as well. With a capacity of 35800 set for MLS games and with 32,000 season tickets already sold, the Sounders have a very good chance of selling out every home game this season. While the Sounders have the best fans in MLS, the question is whether the second year Sounders can be as successful on the park as they are off it? Making the playoffs again is expected and the addition of Dutch FC Twente and Swiss international star, Blaise Nkufo, will help with that. Nkufo, who will join Seattle in mid—July after this summer’s World Cup, where he will be playing for Switzerland, will bring some maturity and experience to the Sounders' attack. At six—foot—two inches, Nkufo has scored over 200 career goals in club and international play. “He’s a proven goal—scorer who has had a good run with the Swiss National Team in their ...
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MLS Must Fix Labor Problems

The threat of a strike looms large over Major League Soccer and if the players strike, the blame must lie at the feet of MLS Commissioner Don Garber. For soccer in the U.S. to continue to grow, the league must fall in line with FIFA guidelines and regulations. I understand why the league wanted to own all the contracts but that time has passed. Use a salary cap and let players negotiate with the individual teams, like every other league in the U.S. Players must be allowed to move to other MLS clubs when their contract expires. Today even is a player’s contract is unilaterally terminated by a club, that club continues to hold such player’s rights and he is prohibited from signing with another club in the league. Europe has the Bosman Rule and in the U.S. we had the Curt Flood baseball ruling. A league cannot sign players to contracts that contain multiple unilateral one-year options that may only be exercised by the league. The salary cap needs to increased so that players are the bottom of the rung can make enough money to live on. Professional soccer players in ...
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