MLS lacking in old-fashioned feuds
Police have pleaded for peace, fines have been meted out and sanctions issued. Enough controversy has been generated by outspoken coaches in Europe to make any fan long for similar drama in Major League Soccer. But sadly, it's unlikely to happen.
The game of soccer triggers fiery clashes among historic rivals. At times, the disputes between management of the top teams seem partly for show and entertainment. Whether calculated or genuine, however, the latest salvos from the likes of
It's juicy stuff, after all. In 2005, British police specifically asked feuding coaches Wenger and Ferguson not to increase "intensity and hostility" with their comments in the lead-up to a big match.
Mourinho is a master of using bombastic statements in the press to stir things up. He'll claim his own player is the best in the world, question another team's tactics and even prep the referees on what he wants them to pay attention to in a game. Countless fans line up on various sides of his quotes, arguing either his genius or his self-absorbed braggadocio.
It's another area in which MLS falls far short of the European model. There's very little in the way of any coaching feuds in MLS. That's a shame, because it robs the game of a certain amount of intrigue.
There are a few incidents in MLS history which rightly should have engendered a bit of bad blood in the coaching ranks. In '03, MLS had an unusual rule that allowed for a fourth substitution, but only for the goalkeeper.
D.C. United's coach,
This doesn't mean coaches don't get fired up in MLS. This past year, Chivas USA coach
Toronto FC coach
Carver actually has more of an ongoing feud with a referee,
The truth is that only an outsider foreign coach like Carver probably has a chance of shaking up the polite, diplomatic and utterly dull relations between MLS coaches, who are mostly Americans. Many of them are intertwined by bonds of loyalty and friendship. Galaxy coach
The collegial management environment of MLS may be nice for the coaches themselves, but it's boring for fans. If at least a few would make resolutions this year to stop tip-toeing around each other, it would be progress. MLS could use an increase in intensity. While no one expects the leaders of teams to talk trash, taking a page from the sharp remarks exchanged by the top European managers would, at the very least, add some spice.