Monday, July 19, 2010 | View Comments
July 18, 2010.Georgios Samaras  of Celtic FC converts a penalty kick for a goal as Jordan Jennings  of Sounders FC dives the wrong way in the 32nd minute at Qwest Field in Seattle, WA..Celtic FC defeats Sounders FC 2 - 1.George Holland / Cal Sport Media.

From Dave of Sounder at Heart comes a novel concept: clubs should be promoting cup competitions that actually matter over meaningless friendlies that do nothing but stretch resources and pack already bursting schedules.

The Sounders lost to Celtic yesterday, in part because keeper Terry Boss was sent off for a foul on Celtic forward Georgios Samaras. Samaras actually managed to put the ball in the net despite the foul, making the decision by referee Paul Ward to award a penalty and red card to Boss an odd one. It was a friendly after all.

It's unfortunate that the entertainment value of the match was destroyed by Ward, and it highlights the problem Dave is attempting to bring attention to. Sounders fans pay for these friendlies as part of their season ticket package, while matches in non-league competitions like the CONCACAF Champions League and US Open Cup are left out and shuffled to auxiliary facilities that hold 6,000 fans. It's encouraging that 45,000 Seattlites showed up to watch Scotland's legendary club go up against their beloved Sounders, but it's disheartening that so much more importance is given to exhibitions than to games that can lead to the club winning trophies.

The reality of the matter is that these friendlies bring in money. MLS teams are hardly doing so well that they can turn their nose up at the case when clubs like Celtic and Man United are on annual summer tours and would like to stop by. While the Sounders can draw impressively no matter the opponent, other clubs need the name draw to bring in the masses and augment their bottom lines. It's not a matter of profit in most cases, it's a matter of offsetting losses.

Dave is suggesting this for everyone, though his obvious concern is the Sounders. He happens to support a club that has no excuses when it comes to promoting meaningful matches over friendlies. The Sounders don't need the name of Celtic to put 30k+ in Qwest Field.

By including CCL and Open Cup tickets in a season ticket package, the club gives the fans a reason to go to those matches. By not including them, the club is making it imminently clear that the games hardly matter, that the tournaments are extraneous the rest of the season, and that there's little reason for their most committed fans to attend. How can we expect fans to care about cup competitions when the club sends the message that they're not important?

There are practical reasons for MLS clubs to invite teams with massive fan bases and big names to the States for a tour of friendlies; but the longer theses games are given precedence over tournaments that should mean something, the harder it will be to build interest in those tournaments. Dave thinks clubs should start giving the fans a reason to pay attention.

This is a first step. For me, the end game is to no longer need summer friendlies with third stringers from Tottenham and experimental sides from Celtic to makes ends meet. That may not be possible for the foreseeable future. and even if these games always happen, Dave's point stands: promote competitions that matter, include them in the season ticket package, and leave the friendlies to the tourists.

I'm fully behind #trophiesnotfriendlies.
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