Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber has announced that for the first time in its history, MLS will not play League games during the group phase of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Fantastic, though I think somebody over at MLSNet should reread that sentence and realize what it's actually saying...Yes, MLS will not be playing during the 2010 World Cup group phase, and that technically is the first time they will be doing so, but it's also the last and the only time since the 2010 World Cup group phase should only happen once (FIFA HQ shenanigans notwithstanding).
Pedantry aside, I think we'd all agree that this is the right decision, though here's hoping it's but the latest step in MLS HQ's slow, plodding progress away from scheduling league matches on international fixture dates.
The second announcement might be even more interesting, even if it's not unexpected. With 16 teams in the fold next year, MLS will play a balanced, home-and-away schedule, with each club playing each of the others twice. And that begs the question...What will become of the conferences? I suppose you have to keep the conferences intact if you plan on maintaining the current playoff format. That said, seeding the teams 1 through 8 might make for a more interesting playoff structure, ensuring that the top two don't meet, potentially, until the final, and the top sides get the most favorable draws, regardless of arbitrary geographical concerns.
So let's take a bet on what Garber and his minions do with this one...