Cross-country travel marks early going for Revolution
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The handwringing over the 2011 MLS schedule started from the moment the league released it on Thursday afternoon.
Just don't expect to find too much of it in New England.
“Every year, you deal with the hand you're dealt,” Revolution vice president of player personnel Michael Burns told MLSsoccer.com. “If you ask every team in the league, they'd probably want to tweak it just a little bit. It is what it is, and we'll deal with it.”
Most of the tweaks for the Revolution would likely involve altering a travel-intensive opening five matches. New England kick off their season in Los Angeles on March 20 before returning to Massachusetts for their home opener against D.C. United on March 26. The next week sees the Revs make a midweek trip to Vancouver (April 6) in between two home dates against Portland (April 2) and Real Salt Lake (April 9). That’s two West Coast trips in two weeks.
Scheduling intricacies and stadium availability issues make it impossible to cobble together an ideal schedule for each club, but Burns said he'd like to see the league find a way to adjust the transcontinental scheduling.
“You could get some of those pairings where you're able to play a couple of games on a West Coast trip,” Burns said. “It just cuts down on the amount of travel for our guys. Over the course of a long season with 34 games, it takes its toll.”
Those concerns likely mirror similar qualms harbored by other teams in the league about various peccadilloes within their own fixture lists. The scheduling process doesn't leave any club with an ideal slate, so each team is essentially on a level playing field.
“At the end of the day, it's pretty similar for all of the teams in our league,” Burns said. “It washes itself out.”