Philadelphia Union Get Done Dirty by Their Own Clown League

Major League Soccer has worked throughout its 27 years of existence to not be seen as a clown show. To some extent, this effort was not an MLS fault. In the early 1990s, few Americans followed football at all. This sport is still seen by many as belonging to Europe, South America and Central America. Yes, many Americans thought sports were soft.

Smash cuts until 2021, and football has made previously unimaginable progress in the American sports consciousness. It was once said that whoever invented gambling was clever, but whoever had the idea of ​​forcing people to gamble with chips instead of actual cash is a genius. Along those lines, whatever TV CEO has woken up to realize that the English Premier League A) has Anglo-named teams from Anglo towns, and B) played their matches in the American weekend morning window where no other sport is played domestically.. . genius.

MLS has proven the old adage that high tide actually lifts all boats. Part of that was fortune – Atlanta United drew 43,000 people per game at least in part because their ownership group spent so much money off the jump and because the city didn’t have an NHL franchise. But MLS has also wisely built beachheads in cities like Portland, Seattle, Columbus, and Salt Lake City — places where most of America’s major sports leagues don’t exist. Major League Soccer is a viable league now, with a bright future.

Which makes what MLS did at the Philadelphia Union this weekend is completely incomprehensible.

Al-Ittihad hosted New York City FC in the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday. Earlier in the week, the betting odds for this match were basically dead – something like Union +160, tie +220, NYC FC +180. These two equal teams were poised to deliver a captivating and highly competitive game to determine which team would travel to Portland to play in the 2021 MLS Cup. By Friday, though, all that excitement dispersed like moist air from a roaring cushion.

Because on Friday, the union could no longer really hide what he proposed to cancel their practice on Thursday – the union had a COVID-19 outbreak on their hands, which is bad. How bad? (via ESPN) –

The Philadelphia Union He will have to put up a pretty weak side in Sunday’s Eastern Conference Final against New York City FC Because of putting 11 players in the league’s health and safety protocols.

The menu includes the usual appetizers Alejandro Bedoya Who is the captain of the team? – The goalkeeper Andre Blakeleft back, Kay Wagner, heart of defense Jack Elliott and the back Jacob Gleesens. There is also a reserve goalkeeper on the list Joe Bendick, straight ahead Corey Burkemidfielder Ilsinhodefender Alphas Powell, straight ahead Sergio Santos And a midfielder Queen Sullivan.

This is bad. The Federation had to sit five Rookies (Bedoya, Blake, Elliott, Gleesons and Wagner) in the Conference Championship Final, and hearing Federation manager Jim Curtin say it, no one can really say why:

So… why did Al Ittihad have to sit down to eleven players in a conference title match, at home? Why did the league not postpone the match until Tuesday or even Wednesday? Let me help you with that.

As much as MLS is proud to have clubs like Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake “evolve the game”, don’t fool yourself. The Portland/Philadelphia MLS Cup will attract a small portion of the viewership that the Portland/New York FC game will generate. When in doubt, follow the money.

The league’s decision not to postpone this match isn’t explicitly stated as regarding ratings, optics, or the league’s preferred final, but don’t let anyone pee in your head and tell you it’s raining. The precedent for postponing matches in major American sports leagues to protect the integrity of the competition is everywhere and everywhere if you’re looking for it.

Last week, the National Hockey League postponed two New York Islanders games due to the COVID outbreak. Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens had a game scheduled to be played on Thanksgiving night, moved by the National Football League to the following Tuesday due to COVID issues. The National Basketball Association postponed and rescheduled dozens of games last season due to the Corona virus. Major League Baseball has postponed several games in 2021, including one in late July featuring the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, due to COVID issues. Mind you – these were all regular season competitions. These were not playoffs.

MLS did not owe Philadelphia or the Federation to postpone Sunday’s game. Major League Soccer owes that to itself. If a league is to be crowned a champion and is taken seriously in doing so, that league needs to do anything reasonable within its control to ensure that winners receive the award at the level. New York City beat the Union without five of their eleven regular players, including an outstanding goalkeeper and both central defenders, making it a travesty of the Eastern Conference final.

MLS is still trying to get rid of the clown league label. In this case, though, if a bright red nose and oversized shoes are appropriate….

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