MLS Managers Survey: The verdict on Copa Libertadores
MLSsoccer.com polled the head coaches of each MLS club, who were provided with an anonymous survey featuring an array of questions that many fans have always wanted to ask. In the first article, MLS head coaches elected their 2012 preseason Supporters' Shield winners among other topics.
There's more from where that came from (14 of 19 managers completed the survey). What follows is the second installment of responses which includes managers’ thoughts on the Copa Libertadores, the team that plays the most attractive soccer in MLS, the next boom market for international players and the most desirable American player based abroad.
Would you be in favor of MLS participation in the Copa Libertadores?
Bring on São Paulo and Boca Juniors. That’s what an overwhelming majority of MLS managers said in the recent MLSsoccer.com survey.
A total of 78.5 percent of respondents say they want a piece of Copa Libertadores action with three of those managers seeking a schedule change to go with entry into the premier South American competition for clubs.
Only three managers who completed the survey indicated they were opposed.
Which team plays the most attractive soccer?
It’s always interesting to see how managers rate the playing style employed by their colleagues. In this case, the managers surveyed were not shy in naming Real Salt Lake the team that plays the most attractive soccer. In fact, 39.2 percent of respondents went for RSL.
The Seattle Sounders came next in line for 17.8 percent of the voting field, followed by four MLS squads that received one vote each: FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC and LA Galaxy.
Two managers decided not to follow the rules with their responses: “All teams play excellent at different times of year,” said one. Meanwhile another decided to make an attempt to predict the future: “Will be Colorado.”
What is the next untapped player market for MLS clubs?
The influx of Colombians has been well-documented. Where will the next gold rush for players come from? A total of 42.8 percent of managers in MLSsoccer.com’s survey identified Asia and Paraguay as the next hot spots for MLS talent.
Another 28.5 percent pointed to Eastern Europe and the continent of Africa.
Italy, Chile and Brazil each received a single manager’s vote, while another went with “other.”
What is the most difficult stretch of the MLS season?
No surprise here. MLS managers point to the dog days of summer as the toughest part of the campaign.
A total of 50 percent of respondents say that July-August are the most trying two months of the year, possibly because of international friendlies and CONCACAF Champions League group action.
The next least favorite time of the year? September-October according to 21.4 percent of the managers that filled out the survey.
Who is one American player based overseas that you’d most want to bring to play for your team?
Despite being provided 17 names of Americans playing abroad, there is only one name here that captures the imagination of MLS managers: Clint Dempsey. A whopping 78.6 percent of respondents fancy a return of the Fulham FC forward with their club.
Only two other players attracted managerial interest. No. 2 on the list of Americans most wanted was Glasgow Rangers defender Carlos Bocanegra (14.3 percent) followed by another veteran, Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard (7.14 percent).
Are you in favor of MLS players embarking on offseason loans or offseason training stints at overseas clubs?
Despite the uproar that surrounded the Omar Gonzalez injury while he trained at FC Nürnberg in January and the high-profile loan injury to David Beckham at AC Milan, a majority of MLS coaches are in favor of European loans and training spells for MLS players.
There were 78.6 percent of respondents who were in favor of both loans and training, while there was a single head coach who was only a proponent of loan deals.
Two MLS managers pronounced themselves against both loans and overseas training for their players.