Tag Archives: don garber

Determination by dolphin at MLS draft

Paul the Octopus is dead. Long live Willy! Or Flipper! Or whatever they call the dolphin who’ll be predicting the first pick at Thursday’s MLS Super Draft in Baltimore.

Anyone who’s read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy knows that dolphins are at least the second-most intelligent species on the planet, so you know the fellow with flippers be taking all the angles into account before deciding who the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps should select with the top selection. Plus, if he picks wrong, the team will send him to The Cove.

Toronto FC doesn’t have a dolphin, or even a first-round pick, in this year’s draft. The Reds have one second-round selection and two third-rounders, the 26th, 43rd and 44th picks overall. Expect our man Ryan to check back with an update on their selections in the next couple of days.

When they weren’t in training at this week’s MLS combine in Florida, some of Thursday’s potential picks were out in the Everglades looking for alligators. Among that boatload of  hopefuls was John Rooney, younger brother of Wayne, who’s over here looking for a job, and generating a bit of buzz. No idea whether they saw any dolphins down there.

In Florida, of course, the Dolphins and Gators generally play their football on the gridiron, not the soccer pitch. Despite a huge population of South and Central Americans, the state has had two failed MLS franchises and won’t be getting another until they can prove things will work out better, as commish Don Garber told a disappointed audience in Miami this week.

From strange animals in Florida to strange decisions in London, where Tottenham say they’d demolish most of the Olympic Stadium if they move there after the 2012 games. Spurs seem determined not to meet the requirements for moving into the venue, but would rather bolt the borough and save some cash by working with an existing site. Hard to see how the Olympic Park Legacy people won’t rule in favour of West Ham when they make their decision on January 28th. Even a dolphin would pick the Hammers for this one.

Ian Harrison

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MLS ponders schedule switch

I’m at the MLS Cup in Toronto, covering the game for the Associated Press. We got some news from The Don of MLS, aka Commissioner Don Garber, before the match. Here’s what he had to say:

Major League Soccer will add two playoff teams next season, expanding its postseason field to 10, and will investigate switching its schedule to align with the international calendar.

Commissioner Don Garber made the announcement at Sunday’s 15th MLS Cup game in Toronto between the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas.

Next year’s playoff format has yet to be determined, Garber said, but the goal is to avoid a repeat of this season, when two Western Conference teams (Colorado and San Jose) met in the Eastern Conference championship. Six of the eight playoff qualifiers this year came from the West.

The league will grow to 18 teams next season when expansion franchises in Portland, Ore. and Vancouver, Canada, begin play. The season will increase from 30 to 34 games and teams will play a balanced schedule with the same number of games against each opponent.

The addition of two western teams will require moving one existing team from the Western Conference into the East. Garber said no final decision has been reached on who that will be.

A 19th team, Montreal, is set to join the league in 2012.

Aligning with the international calendar would help avoid MLS teams losing players to national team duty during breaks for World Cup qualifiers and other exhibition matches. The league suspended play for two weeks during the group stage of last summer’s World Cup in South Africa.

Garber offered few details about how MLS, whose season currently runs from March to November, could better match the global schedule, which typically runs from August to April.

“It’s way too premature for us to go into any details of what it could look like,” Garber said. “What we’re basically saying is we’re going to do the research. We’re going to do a study, we’re going to take the time to get it right. There’s no rushing.

“The bottom line is we’re telling the world we’re going to begin taking a very serious look at this whole issue and what kinds of things we need to do to determine if it makes sense for us.”

With so many teams in northern climates, Garber conceded a winter break would be necessary to avoid playing games in frigid, snowy conditions. He said Sunday’s final, one degree warmer than the coldest final in league history, was “a pretty good test” for playing later into the fall.

Ian Harrison

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