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Help Wanted: Have cleats? Call TFC


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John Carver is looking for some soccer players, any soccer players.

In a story widely-reported in Canada, Carver’s Toronto FC will have to take on Chivas USA on Saturday missing nine players due to international duty. Toronto petitioned MLS to have the match re-scheduled, and the Toronto Sun reported that Chivas USA was not opposed to a re-scheduling, but MLS rejected the request.

Why? An MLS spokesman stated that MLS did not want to set a precedent by re-scheduling and felt it was unfair to other teams that might be missing players.

That response is acceptable for a team missing two or three players, but forcing a team to play without nine players is ridiculous.

The main issue isn’t the league’s decision to reject the request of re-scheduling the match. The issue is the league’s continued insistence on playing a full MLS schedule on an international fixture date. MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis told media this week that the league is looking hard at trying to work around international fixture dates but that the limited number of available dates makes avoiding them all impossible.

For now, Toronto FC will have to get by without most of its best players. Here is who is missing:

  • Amado Guevara (Honduras)
  • Greg Sutton (Canada)
  • Jim Brennan (Canada)
  • Marvell Wynne (USA)
  • Carl Robinson (Wales)
  • Julius James (Trinidad & Tobago)
  • Carlos Ruiz (Guatemala)
  • Tyrone Marshall (Jamaica)
  • Jarrod Smith (New Zealand)

Just how bad are things for Toronto? The club is trying to sign the team’s chief scout, Tim Regan, to a one-day contract so he can be made available for the match. Regan spent parts of five seasons as a defender in MLS before taking a position in the Toronto front office earlier this season. (UPDATE-Sources tell SBI that Regan has been cleared to play for TFC, which is also signing Toronto Lynx defender Rick Titus for the match.)

Those of you who think Toronto should just bite the bullet should consider that the decision to play the game has an impact on more than just Toronto and Chivas USA. It could impact the teams in the Western Conference that are fighting with Chivas USA for one of the likely three playoff spots in the Western Conference.

So what do you think of Toronto’s situation? Specifically, what do you think of the league’s decision to deny Toronto’s request to re-schedule the Chivas USA match?

Share your thoughts on this issue in the comments section below.


  1. Posted by: Justin O | September 06, 2008 at 08:16 PM

    You sadly really couldn’t be more wrong about the climate. The winter temps in the US and Canada are FAR harsher than they are in Europe. Even Scotland is a good 6-7C higher than the upper Midwest/Southern Canada in the winter. That’s a big difference as anyone who has gone through the ‘pleasure’ of freezing their asses off in the middle of a blizzard can attest. 😉

  2. Gazidis needs to stop shoveling that line of crap. Every team plays 5-7 IN SEASON friendlies a year. Wipe ALL of those off the schedule and you have most of the dates you need right there. (save for WC years)

    I’m sorry but playing during FIFA dates really turns me off to the league sometimes. I die a bit inside for coming back to watch again.

    I wish the TFC fans would file a class action lawsuit for false advertising because they paid for a pro match in the top tier league and got 9 scabs who are playing in USL 5 and a dude who was filing papers in an office 6 hours before the match started.

    Posted by: Justin O | September 05, 2008 at 09:22 PM

    The Fire had a big dip at the gate this weekend due to the international date. All of the Blanco fans stayed at home and watched El Tri instead of the Fire. Thus why there were only 16-17k there. Not a horrible number but far less than what they have been drawing.

  3. I’ve just read dozens and dozens of posts and comments regarding this “MLS & Don Garber” ignoring International Fixture Date” issue and not one person has identified the real problem for the MLS scheduler – namely that the MLS is at a huge disadvantage in scheduling because the majority of their teams do not play in stadiums exclusive to their respective teams.

    Not having the flexibility that comes with having your own stadium is a killer when it comes to scheduling. Want to why the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, etc. don’t have this problem? All their teams play in their own stadiums. Here, the Dynamo play at the University of Houston, San Jose plays at Santa Clara University, NYRB play in the Meadowlands, etc., all of which have other (main) tenents and events scheduled.

    Thus, the MLS scheduler (truly a tough job) is forced to make some very hard choices because of this handicap. And those hard choices include being forced to ignore the International Fixture Dates.

    Granted, a few things could be done to improve the MLS schedule – I think starting the season a couple of weeks earlier would help – but it will take a few more years and a few more stadiums before this problem is totally alleviated.

    I’m a Galaxy fan and it’s frustrating, but until there’s at least more stadiums in the league where an MLS team is the main tenent, this is just something one has to adapt to.

  4. I know I’m just repeating the opinions of many other people when I say that MLS shouldn’t play on FIFA dates, but that it would still be unfair for the league to set a precedent by allowing TFC to reschedule their game.

  5. Umm Justin – what are you talking about?

    In Russia and Scandinavia (places close to Canada east of the Rockies in weather) they play during the summer.

    England is nothing like Toronto, nor is Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece, Turkey, France or Holland.

  6. Matt M – If you look at the US/southern Canada and Europe as a whole, the climates are in fact fairly similar. It’s not the climate. It’s the fact that US/Canadian fans will not put up with weather that European fans put up with.

  7. I think it would set a bad precedent to reschedule the match because TFC is missing so many players. However, TFC wouldn’t be in this position if MLS didn’t schedule matches during FIFA’s international schedule. MLS asked for this themselves. Then again the precedent was already set last year for LA while they were waiting for Beckham though when the league helps out LA it’s not a precedent because everyone knows they won’t do that for anyone else. Will they push all RBNY’s matches back next year while we wait to sign a DP in June?? MLS needs to get with the program already… how many more years?

  8. On a secondary note:

    How the bleep is Toronto in last place if it has nine internationals on its roster? That doesn’t even count EDU in Glasgow.

    I think MLS must be better than people think for such a “Loaded” team being so crappy compared to the rest of the MLS east.

    Other teams specifically target second tier players from Brazil/Argentine/etc whom are just as good (or better) that what Toronto is offering and they never miss a game.

    Should Toronto be rewarded for such poor foresight? Did they not know that this would happen?

    On the other hand, MLS rosters should be expanded from 18 to 22 “senior” players to compensate for this.

    I hate seeing mediocre rookies on the field when they obviously aren’t ready. Moving three or four good USL players from their current teams to fill these extra spots may not be sexy (props to Alexi Lalas) but it would make a difference in times likes these when a solid professional is actually on the field.

    And they wouldn’t cost overly much. Note that this was not an invitation to start a “Why doesn’t MLS just PAY MORE for their players” rant which I’ve come to know in love.

    I’m sure some idiot is already thinking “You know who would have helped Toronto today? Ronaldihno and Thiery Henry! They would have helped!!!

  9. Northzax is right.

    People, here a shocker:

    North America is NOT Europe.

    The climate is different. We have a minimum, that’s right, a MINIMUM of four months a year in northern US and Canada where no one will be playing soccer unless MLS is willing to lose 50% of its players to hypothermia by April.

    But thank god we have Europeans “Not Respecting” the league. Now we can follow their advice.

    We can take the six to eight week summer campaign off like they demand (after all, no European has to play in July/August, it’s silly that an Americans/Canadians should have too).

    Then we can take the six to eight (or however many) international dates off as well.


    I look forward to next year’s twelve week schedule.

    That will be exciting.


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