The MLS has a serious problem.
As the league continues to attract top talent, teams are often finding themselves without the services of their best players as they are routinely called up for duty with their respective national teams.
Portland will be without Nigerian star Fanendo Adi, who has been good for a goal a game this season.
Check out this laundry list of MLS players with national team caps to see what I’m talking about.
All other major leagues in the world shut down periodically throughout the year to allow players to travel for international duty. During these weeks – in late March, early June, early September, early October, and early November – the world’s focus shifts from club soccer to international play.
Fans are caught in a pickle. Obviously you want your country’s best side out there in a World Cup qualifier – World Cup trumps all. But you don’t want your club team to start the JV squad either.
Under the current system, everyone suffers. No one pays to see the second team out there. Clubs don’t shell out millions of dollars to have their stars miss games because the MLS doesn’t know how to use a calendar.
As the talent level in the league rises, these scheduling conflicts will only get worse.
Get your shit together, MLS.