Saturday, January 13, 2007

Enter the SuperLiga!

Okay, I guess they had to call it something. Major League Soccer and the Mexican First Division unveiled their long-awaited Champions League-style (or that's what they're calling it) joint competition today. In theory, at least, this eight-team tournament is intended to deterimine "the best club in North America." (I'm sure Costa Rican teams like Alajuelense and Saprissa are watching the mail for their 2008 invitations. And why isn't Joe Public included? WHY?)

Besides imposing a two-countries-plus-Toronto definition on "North America," the SuperLiga seems a few return legs short of a full tournament. To wit, the four teams in each of two preliminary groups will play each other only once, with no matches at all taking place in Mexico. (Even the all-Mexican fixtures will be played in US stadiums.) That's an implicit admission that fans in Mexico probably wouldn't exactly flatten the ticket booth to see, say, the Houston Dynamo. And it just doesn't strike me as particularly "Super." If you're going to launch a competition, launch it. So far, this venture has "exhibition season" written all over it.

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