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MLS considers clustering in Orlando & pay cuts, and more: Freedom Kicks for 5/12/2020

Everyone is planning on something

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DC United v Colorado Rapids - MLS Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

After many days of modest news, let’s breeze right past the small talk (I didn’t do much of note yesterday, it’s for the best) and get to two pretty big stories as far as MLS’s return from the coronavirus shutdown goes:

MLS proposing all 26 teams come to Orlando to resume season this summer | Washington Post
Why one location? With the wide variance in positive tests in different markets, it’s a “weakest link in the chain” sort of scenario. If the league plays in every market, they might as well all be playing in the city with the highest rates of infection. Getting everyone in one place and quarantining players and staff is a huge ask — players leaving their families potentially for months, etc. — but it does expand the calendar the league could theoretically have to play some games.

Why Orlando? Well, Steve Goff has some good explanations here. I’m personally still a bit dubious on the idea, given that these games are probably going to be in the summer, which is to say the league wants to play a condensed schedule in its most humid market. But I’ll be the first to admit that there is not going to be a perfect solution here. I still have major doubts about even closed-door games under quarantine being truly safe until 2021, but it’s worth at least considering and planning in case actual experts say it can be done.

Major League Soccer proposes 20 percent pay cut to players’ association | ESPN
20% across the board is probably not going to go over that well with the players given that they know the guys at the bottom of the pay scale are going to have a difficult time making that work. But it does possibly give us a window into how many games MLS wants to play in their (presumably) truncated season.

Some quick back-of-the-envelope math: if MLS plays every Wednesday and every Saturday, and starts on Wednesday, September 2, they can get 27 games in by Wednesday, December 2 (or, if you take Thanksgiving off, it moves back to Saturday, December 5). Just speculating here, but maybe this is the plan?

How a five-sub rule could impact tactics, preparation when MLS play resumes | The Athletic
When I said two big stories, maybe I should have said three? MLS hasn’t said what they’re going to do on this front, but the stodgy old timers at IFAB have allowed for it (5 subs, but to use all 5 you’d have to make a couple of double subs), and MLS is usually aggressive on that front. We’ll see.

Anyway, coaches are already thinking about the positives and negatives within games.

What if the LA Galaxy had won the 1996 MLS Cup? | LAG Confidential
Did Eddie Pope’s goal accelerate the coaching career of Sigi Schmid? Probably! Would the Galaxy have been able to dominate like D.C. United did in the early days? Given that no one else has ever come close to 8 trophies in 4 years, I’m going with a loud, grinning “nope!”

Armchair Analyst: Defining moments for the biggest rivalries in MLS history |
It’s not actually Rivalry Week, and MLS has largely tried to pretend that United’s rival for those games is Philadelphia, or New England, or some other random team that isn’t our chief rival. But nonetheless, Matt Doyle talked Atlantic Cup, and he included the highlight package that we’ve linked to more than any other.

Hell, let’s do it again!

The best possible resolution for the USWNT and USSF in equal pay case | The Athletic
If you’re not up on your 54(b) Certifications, Meg Linehan talks you through it here. Interestingly, there’s the conflict between the players and federation, while there’s also potentially ground for them to team up and go after FIFA.

How we’d fix soccer: Homegrown rule, academies would be great for NWSL — and USWNT | Yahoo Sports
NWSL homegrown players is an idea that has been kicked around once or twice a year, and it’s apparently got some backers within the league’s ownership groups. I’m not sure it’s THE fix for a league that still has some major structural issues, but it’s certainly one item on the “to do” list.

Locally, the Washington Spirit went from having two different DA clubs (one in Maryland, one in Virginia) to the Alliance Development Program.

Moving on, the USL Players Association is considering a proposal from the league on a possible pay cut and plans to return to play:

Premier League restart: Clubs hope season can be finished at own stadiums | Sky Sports
Oh yeah, English soccer! There’s a lot of “could be” and “considering” going on with the Premier League, which feels like something that we’re all going through.

And that’ll do it for me. Enjoy your Tuesday! It’s looking like a decent (if windy?) day for a long walk, so I’m going to grab a mask, throw on a hoodie, and knock out a couple of miles.