US Soccer Dominates MLS: A Spectacle of Entertainment

We get pretty used to sports leagues doing whatever they want, and whatever they want is usually not in any interest of the fans. It’s almost always about control and profit, And that runs in direct opposition to fans’ desire to see competition, accessibility and the game remembered that got everyone here in the first place.That was MLS’s aims when it announced on Friday afternoon (of course) that they were going to exit from the US Open Cup, the country’s oldest soccer competition and the one time MLS has to act like it’s part of an actual soccer universe instead of its own island where it can pretend it invented the domestic version of the game. Well, US Soccer seems to have pulled them back in, reminding them that in this case, they don’t get to make the call.Because US Soccer runs the Open Cup, MLS needed to clear their intentions with them, and you see how that went. This still has a long way to play out and it’s unclear how US Soccer would prevent teams from running out youth teams if they so choose when the competition kicks off next year.But the key word in there is “choose.” If LAFC or Columbus wants to keep their powder dry for CONCACAF Champions Cup aspirations, that’s up to them. We see this being played out by teams all over the world, prioritizing what competitions they roll out the first 11 and picking where they get that 11 some rest. But if some teams want to take the competition seriously and try to win it, because fans enjoy when their teams win silverware (shocking, I know), then they should be allowed to do so as well.The attempted high-tailing out of the Open Cup was merely about keeping everything involving MLS teams on Apple TV where they can profit. Don Garber can boast about a lot with the league. It has the kind of TV/streaming deal that very well may become a model for other, bigger leagues some day soon. He’s gotten a host of cities to build soccer-specific stadiums/real estate deals that look cool on TV.It’s also likely that Garber and his owner cronies feel they don’t have to do much to market the game, with Lionel Messi already here. The Copa America and World Cup will arrive in the next two and a half years. MLS can just sit back and ride the wave.