Thursday, April 20, 2006

MLS All-Stars vs. Chelsea on August 5th

The announcement has been made and Chelsea will indeed play the MLS All-Stars, however, the match will be on August 5th instead of July 29th. The problem with this is simple, there are already 5 matches scheduled for the Aug. 5th weekend.

The good news is three of those matches are in SSS (Chicago, FCD, Chivas), so it shouldn't be that hard to move those up a weekend. The other two games in Houston and Salt Lake might be bit harder to move since their fields may already be promised to someone else. The news conference gave no word on the new times of any of these five games.

Moving games is a pain, but that wasn't the strangest part of the announcement. Since they are moving the game, it will not air on ABC. Instead, the game will be on ESPN (they specifically said ESPN not ESPN2).

The reason for the change of date is an English football union rule that states no player "may participate in a match for at least 30 days after the World Cup." If I understand this rule correctly, that means that players who reach the third or first place matches in the Cup will not be able to play in Chicago since those games take place less then 30-days before Aug. 5.

This is a very interesting move by MLS. They are betting that the inclusion of Chelsea in the game will trump the lack of coverage on ABC. This is probably correct, but there is another gamble going on here. What happens if the MLS team sinks it up against the Blues? That bet is not as risky since most people will expect that to happen. As long as the make a game of it, the MLS will look alright.


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