CARSON, Calif. – The new changes to the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs won’t only affect the format of the playoffs themselves, they’ll also affect the Supporters Summit and all the myriad events held in the lead-up to the MLS Cup final.
“Candidily, I think it’ll change,” MLS executive vice president Nelson Rodriguez told reporters ahead of Sunday’s MLS Cup final between the LA Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo at The Home Depot Center. “We actually think the changes will be for the better.
“While these events are spectacular and MLS Cup for the past 16 years has proven to be a meeting place for the North American soccer community to come [together] – and we’ll miss that – but the focus is going to now be entirely on the match, which a lot of people should argue is what the championship should be about.”
Although the league believes that the lack of extracurricular events will be a “very big positive” in terms of creating an absolutely thrilling environment for the match, Rodriguez reaffirmed that these events, especially the Supporters Summit, are highly important and valuable for MLS. Therefore, the league will look at the SuperDraft, First Kick and the All-Star Game as possible homes for these events.
“Well find another place in the calendar to celebrate the sport and celebrate our league season,” Rodriguez said. “The All-Star Game has been massive and has been growing in the last few years. That’s one. We’ll refocus more attention towards First Kick, and then we’ll see if there are other events or other games at which we can build events around in the future.
“We could look at a lot of things,” he added. “I could see trying to make [the Supporters Summit] a part of the [SuperDraft], where the supporters have come out in numbers and supported our draft in previous years. It could be just a stand-alone event that we look to do postseason. We’ll look at all those things.”
Whatever MLS decides, Rodriguez stated that they’ll take the supporters’ opinions into consideration.
“We’d like the input of the supporters,” he said. “They should clearly have a say in what might work best for them or how they think it should best be handled.”