Editor's Note: While Pete and I are fading in and out this week due to travel, The Full 90 is opening the floor to its readers to answer some of the "big" questions that are hanging over the Kansas City Wizards, Major League Soccer and soccer in America. We value your input, so fear not expressing your thoughts on these questions.
Next year, when Major League Soccer expands to 18 teams, each team will play a balanced schedule of 34 games (17 home, 17 away). If a team qualifies for the CONCACAF Champions League/Super Liga, you've got a potential for a handful more games. The U.S. Open Cup throws in at least one more game per team.
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A schedule showing 40+ competitive games and 20-22 home games is a very reasonable expectation for a few MLS teams -- like Real Salt Lake, Columbus, New York, etc.
Here in Kansas City, where Champions League/Super Liga football is an unlikely but not impossible addition, there's the added factor of the brand new stadium and the bounty of international friendlies/exhibitions that are bound to come with it.*
*Using New York as an example, they've seen 5 additional friendly games (Santos, Juventus, Cruzeiro, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City) this season with their new stadium expansion. KC only has two international friendlies scheduled, a home-and-home series with Chivas de Guadalajara as part of the Omar Bravo deal. But the smart money would be several more games at home to maximize the profits at the new stadium.
With this many games potentially in play, the question is this: How many fixtures are too many? Can your wallet support 17 league games and 5-6 extra games at the new stadium?
With increased prices
More importantly, perhaps, can MLS teams cope with the fixture overload? Especially considering that MLS rosters as currently constructed only allow 24 senior players and up to 2 home-grown players.
Would expanded rosters help fix this potential problem? If so, how big should the rosters be? 30 players? 35? Unlimited?
Saying they expand the rosters, continue to develop the home-grown players and draw top-flight designated players... will an MLS team EVER beat a Mexican team on Mexican soil? A senior American side (national team or club team) has never beaten a senior Mexican side (national team or club team) in open competition. That's a combined record of 0-44-4. MLS teams are 0-21-3.* Winning in Mexico means a solid chance to win the CONCACAF Champions League. Winning the CONCACAF Champions League means playing in the FIFA Club Winners Cup. Playing in that Cup is the only competitive game an MLS team will get against a European powerhouse.
*Real Salt Lake and Seattle both appeared on the verge of getting the first W this year before collapsing (with potentially the aide of a referee) to Cruz Azul and Monterrey respectively.