Editorial (July 2, 2017) – Last weekend, Major League Soccer hosted Heineken Rivalry Week 2017. It was fun but it was incomplete.
MLS Rivalry Week 2017 Was Incomplete
MLS had all the big rivalry games of the week on National TV. The Texas Derby kicked it off on Friday night with the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas playing to a 1-1 draw. On Saturday, New York City FC got their first ever win at Red Bull Arena. They defeated the New York Red Bulls 0-2. On Sunday night, the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders played to a dramatic 2-2 draw, with Clint Dempsey scoring at the death.
Each of these games had their moment (though I thought the Houston-Dallas match was a bit dull). All of them were good for MLS as a promotion of the league and the game on National TV. But there were eight other games on the weekend, none of which were true rivalries. There were also four league games on Wednesday night, none of which were rivalry matches either.
I can understand the league not wanting to put a rivalry game during the week. But they still could have scheduled teams with bad blood together. The Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy played on that Wednesday. They met in the playoffs last year, so that’s kind of relevant.
Still, when it came to the weekend, where was the Rocky Mountain Cup? What about matching up two of the Canadian teams? Or some random pair of the Northeastern/Midwest teams that have a natural regional rivalry? Say, New England Philadelphia followed by Kansas City and Chicago. I never thought I’d be desperate for a Trillium Cup match now that I think about it.
I can understand not having the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes on that weekend, given the Cali Clasico was schedule for one week later at Stanford Stadium.
Still, other than the rivalry match ups that got big TV coverage, it wasn’t really Rivalry Week. It was three big rivalry games and a regular weekend of MLS fixtures elsewhere. The 2017 MLS Rivalry Week was incomplete.