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The SBI Show: Episode 173 (Talking CONCACAF Champions League, Previewing MLS Week 34, and more)


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Major League Soccer fans will endure a wide range of emotions this week as the CONCACAF Champions League failures of some teams come just as other teams prepare to take important steps toward the MLS playoffs.

Episode 173 of The SBI Show takes a look back at a disappointing group stage for American MLS teams, with just one of four advancing to the CCL quarterfinals after Sporting KC and Portland were eliminated. D.C. United join the Montreal Impact as the lone MLS representatives in the knockout rounds.

Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also look ahead at MLS Week 34, including the key Seattle Sounders-LA Galaxy clash, as well as the New York Red Bulls’ visit to Sporting Kansas City. We also discuss the season’s first edition of ‘El Clasico’, between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and more.

Give Episode 173 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:

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What did you think of the show?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. If we recognize there is a fairly global market for soccer and high degees of scouting and open knowledge transfer, then we can make assumptions about league quality based on budgets. The big Euro leagues are well ahead of MLS, as is Liga MX, but not by as much. That does not mean that MLS is inferior for fans, but that all things being equal leagues with higher budgets will have better players on average (there are some barriers to purely market based

    Movment, legal and cultural, which explains how countries like Argentina who sell players sometimes field strong club sides), but the market based argument is backed by facts on the ground. For exple, its clear that Liga MX teams are a step ahead in CONCACAF Champions League.

  2. Ives: Given the recent debate between Don Garber and Jurgen Klinsman and some of the comments you made on this podcast about how MLS compares (or doesn’t) to some of the other leagues, I would like to see an article that offers a criteria for ranking leagues around the world, or at least an explanation for how different partisans compare the various leagues. Now that there is some attention from casual fans after the World Cup, I think a lot of them are befuddled by the question about why soccer people say MLS does not compare to leagues like the EPL, why we want US players playing in Europe, what makes the European leagues so much better, and for example, why the Dutch league is a step behind the Bundesliga. Also, as a podcast listener, I would like to hear your perspective on how you rank the various leagues.

    • Mr. Skywalker,

      MLS do not play euro teams in anything resembling serious competitions with both teams in mid- season form ( something, for example, you do not see in CONCACAF champions league ).

      Unless that happens, making comparisons is futile.

      The best way to compare leagues is to have their teams play each other in meaningful competition. The UEFA coefficient, which ranks the various Euro leagues, is based on the various UEFA sponsored competitions such as the Champions League and the Europa cup.

      Are there a fair number of MLS players who could play and do well in the top euro leagues? Sure, but there always have been and that does not necessarily tell you that much about comparative strength of the leagues. Individual players are one thing, teams are another. Weaker leagues consistently provide players for the top clubs in all sports.

  3. It is sad the Ives has has to rant on snobbery and radical fandom in soccer. And he hits it right on the head. Why can’t people just enjoy the sport? Why can’t we just say, ” Hey, I love MLS, EPL, El Classico, Concacaf, etc.” without prejudice? I do not care if people judge my soccer sensibilities, because in the end I am happy just being able to consume a whole lotta sawka. If football is global, then its OK to expand one’s horizons and enjoy different levels of soccer. If I had the time, I would be interested in looking at more Asian and African soccer. Would I be a soccer hipster for that?


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