The topic of international friendies is always a divisive subject among MLS fans. While some see the value in exposing the league to soccer fans who may not come out to regular MLS fixture, and relish the often heightened atmosphere at these matches there are a raft of naysayers who find the exercise pointless and the attempt to convert fans of foriegn leagues futile. Usually these matches occur during the height of summer, but that is starting to change.
On Nov. 8 Columbus played host to Olimpia (whom they defeated 2-0) in a game that was so low-key that you would have had to have exercised the Freedom of Information act to find out about it. Who knew there was another game being played the week of MLS Cup?
Today Soccer 365 is reporting that Chivas USA will be playing Necaxa in Mexico on Dec.1. Could this be the Chivas USA debut of former Red Bull star Amado Guevara? Doubtful but this could be interesting for other reasons. As the season is well over this type of friendly is a great oppurtunity to allow a team to retain some of the momentum the may have felt late in the season, stay connected, train, and discuss some of the changes for next season; it's sort of like a corporate retreat for the club.
Think about a couple of the low profile friendlies from the past year; would it be more beneficial for Red Bull New York and Columbus to play clubs from South America or northern Europe/Russia that are also in summer leagues in the off season instead of playing Bayern Munich and Everton to near-empty houses in the summer? I don't claim to have the answer but a winning team will put people in the stands more consistenly than a poorly promoted one-off appearance by disintertested European millionaires on summer holiday.