Major League Soccer’s regular season is slowly but surely coming to an end, with the playoffs being on the horizon. There are many, many teams littered across both conferences that are in with a pretty good shot of making their way into those playoffs, but not all of them are going to get what they want.
That much is obvious, but above all of that, the increased exposure and quality of the league is what they need to start hanging their hats on. Of course, that much kind of goes without saying, because the better the league is, the more likely it is to succeed and draw in the numbers that we all know they desire.
The funny thing is that these two reports don’t really focus in on the points that we want to take a look at all too much, because instead, they look at the wider picture of two games that took place in the MLS recently.
Sporting Kansas City 2-2 Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes. That’s it, that’s the headline – in their minds, anyway.
In ours, it’s the fact that all four teams in this absolute circus of a weekend received a red card. Those kinds of statistics just aren’t good enough in any kind of properly functioning league, and they certainly aren’t good enough for a league that claims to be as progressive as the MLS.
Finding the answer
The worst part is that there is blame to be dished out on both sides here, because it’s not like there is one simple answer to this. On one hand you’ve got people getting sent off for the wrong reasons, therefore leading to some serious miscommunication and anger from the fans. Then, you’ve got the people who actually are sent off for the right reasons, but the lines have been blurred so much that it’s hard for the fans to understand or even care.
Wayne Rooney has been the voice of reason above many others with his comments on the state of the refereeing in North America, and even then he is ridiculed. Why is he ridiculed, you ask? His reputation, really.
Either way, though, something needs to be done about this. Some will suggest that the challenges are too hard and there is definitely a case to be made in favour of that ideology. Others will say the referees are too soft and, again, you could definitely see where they’re coming from.
But above all else, we just need to address the issue. The overall quality of the league in the West and the East is one thing, but you can’t just paper over the cracks by calling it ‘unpredictable’. What is the point of being unpredictable if nobody values you enough to watch?
There are certain steps that need to be taken and we dread to think how badly they’re going to botch them.