April 2, 2009
By Michael Lewis
DON'T EXPECT CHANGES
MLS to continue to play on WCQ dates
Nashville, Tenn. -- Don't expect MLS to get out of the way of World Cup qualifiers -- home or away -- any time soon.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said the league's teams and owners do not want to give up lucrative Saturday dates.
"We've had that discussion many times and we've done a complete analysis," Gulati said at halftime of the U.S.'s 3-0 triumph over Trinidad & Tobago Wednesday night. "The thought of playing on Wednesdays and you look at what happens in the summer."
He was referring to lower mid-week attendances.
"The teams and the owners -- across the board, across the board -- and I mean with unanimity, think this is the better way to go. There are 34 weekends before it gets really cold in Boston, Chicago and Columbus."
After the U.S. underachieved in its 2-2 tie at El Salvador on Saturday, Gulati did not get into the face of coach Bob Bradley and tell him what to do.
"No, I don't do that," Gulati said. "That's not the nature of our relationship. We play 18 games in this process. We're not going to play some not as well as others. We had a bad game. I don't think we had many players who performed up to their capacity. It's never playing as we say all the time -- everybody says yeah, the U.S. will qualify easily. Those games in Central America. I think Mexico will find out again today."
Gulati was talking before Mexico's 3-1 loss at Honduras.
"Were we disappointed with the way we played? The answer is yes, of course. Were we disappointed we didn't get three points, yes. are we disappointed in the overall performance? Yes. has anyone panicked? The answer no. I don't get into Bob's face. We talked about it. But he's a pretty stable guy. This is a long process."
Gulati's governing philosophy will the National Team is let the man do his job. He is not the old George Steinbrenner, who seemingly was on the phone every time there was a Yankee loss or fired the manager when things went wrong.
"I don't own the team for one thing," he said. "It's a different set up. We had one coach for eight years. so obviously we don't coaches that often. The national team is very different. The answer is yes. I don't intervene and talk about players and say, 'This guy should be playing. We talk about those things. But it's never. I may ask 'Why are you doing that?' But its not, 'Why you're doing that! ' "