The Friday news dump is a tactic used by dodgy organizations to release unfavorable news items while minimizing scrutiny. Major League Soccer (MLS) recently implemented this approach to announce that its clubs will not be participating in the US Open Cup next season. Instead, MLS will send its MLS Next Pro teams, essentially the youth teams and the third division within the country. The reason provided was to alleviate fixture congestion, citing an example of LAFC playing 53 games last season. However, this reasoning falls flat given that MLS and Liga MX were the ones who scheduled the Leagues Cup. Furthermore, 53 games is not a ridiculous amount, especially for successful clubs.
MLS’s decision to withdraw from the US Open Cup reflects its tendency to prioritize cheapness, hoarding everything for itself, and separating itself from other soccer leagues or organizations. This attitude is also evident in how MLS treats the USL and controls its broadcasting. Additionally, MLS’s restriction on salaries and rosters is another aspect that contributes to the burden on teams competing in multiple competitions.
The underlying message from this move is that MLS believes it is superior to other competitive soccer outlets in the country. This mentality contributes to the continued unlikelihood of promotion/relegation within the league and the enduring slog of the regular season. MLS’s insistence on maintaining control and limiting fan desires tainted the perception that it aims to be one of the world’s most significant leagues. In reality, its primary focus seems to be solely on maximizing revenue without regard for the product or fan engagement.