Raining on my SuperLiga

Keeping with the day-late tradition of this site, I'm only getting to Ken Pendleton's latest column, in which he accuses Major League Soccer (MLS) of thinking small for building the SuperLiga when a perfectly good and prestigious tournament already exists. That tournament would be the Copa Libertadores, of course.

Even a semi-frequent visitor to this site would know by now that I've drunk plenty of SuperLiga Kool-Aid, just gallons of the stuff. As such, it pains me to admit the man has a point. Especially, here:

"MLS commissioner Don Garber "envision(s) having a Mexican first division and MLS version of the Champions League," but this will never materialize because the Copa Libertadores already serves as the Champions League for Mexican clubs."

And can't you just picture seeing, say, the New England Revolution's name somewhere in the Copa Libertardores grid, squaring off against Internacional (BRA), Velez Sarsfield (ARG), and Nacional (URG). (No? Try another MLS team and see if that helps.)

Pendleton does concede MLS may have a hard time gaining entry to the tournament due to the relatively low esteem in which our little league is held. But he's also largely correct in saying the effort should be made. Then again, I'm one of those people who'd rather see the U.S. qualify in a combined CONCACAF/CONMEBOL "super-region," consequences be damned (hmmm...records of this position may have evaporated with one of the many blogs I've killed).

For all that, SuperLiga is what we've got. And, who knows? Maybe it will take off, courtesy of the wonderful animosity between the U.S. and Mexico. And I still think the SuperLiga has as good a chance of growing the game in the States as anything that's come down the pike, due mainly to accidental awareness MLS will gain when Mexican fans tune in to see their teams. But I'd be lying if I didn't say Pendleton's column doesn't take some rattle out of my noise-maker.

UPDATE: Brian Garrison from An American's View wrote a comprehensive defense of the SuperLiga in response to Pendleton's piece. Excited as I remain about the SuperLiga, I still think Pendleton's overall point holds - even if MLS clubs don't experience any success even in Superliga. But I'll join this discussion over on Brian's site; that he put more effort into his post makes that seem appropriate. Pop over and join the fun if you're interested.)

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