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Bruce Arena: no fan of MLS unbalanced schedule

Bruce Arena, coach of the Los Angeles Ga

Bruce Arena, coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy, speaks during a press conference in Manila on December 1, 2011, ahead of their friendly match with Philippines’ Azkals on December 3. Beckham’s sights are fixed on playing in the London Olympics next year, but the superstar said December 1, he was less sure about his future when his contract with Los Angeles Galaxy ends. The 36-year-old former England captain, in the Philippines as part of a week-long Asian tour by LA Galaxy, told reporters he still had to make up his mind about his future. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Looks like L.A. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena held his tongue on this year’s unbalanced schedule in MLS about as long as he could.

In 2011, every Major League Soccer team played an equitable slate of matches, one at home and one on the road against every other club. That’s a “balanced” schedule in the MLS vernacular.

But Montreal entered the league this year as a 19th franchise. League deciders didn’t want to play 36 matches (the sum of retaining a balanced schedule). So they concocted a system of facing conference rivals more often, while facing cross-conference clubs less.

There was grumbling here and there, mostly as the new way would affect the Supporters Shield, which is awarded for top club in the regular season. Now, “grumbling” has gone nuclear. What say you, Coach Arena?

I think the whole construction of the schedule this year with an unbalanced schedule is stupid. Absolutely stupid. To have a Supporters’ Shield for that, it’s stupid. I don’t know how that ever got through, but I can tell you that most people think it’s stupid.

“Without a doubt, the way to put together a schedule in this league is home and away. Period. End of story. And if they need somebody to help them figure it out, the coaches would be glad to sit down with the people in the front office of MLS and show them how to do it. We would be glad to do it.”