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MLS World Cup break ends; where do Western Conference teams stand?

Saturday 23rd June 2018

Major League Soccer’s brief nod of respect towards the World Cup concludes today. The league went on hiatus on June 13th. In previous World Cup years, MLS has suspended play for the entire group stage. Not this year.

When you consider the two critical factors, the decision makes sense.

First, the World Cup is in Russia, which is 7-10 hours ahead of the United States. During the tournament, the earliest scheduled weekend games in MLS are set for 4:30 EDT. That is 11:30pm in Russia. Late World Cup games will just be concluding when the matches stateside kick off. MLS can pick up viewers who have just watched an international match and have an appetite for more.

Second, the United States did not qualify for the World Cup. With the Americans not participating, only 19 MLS players from 11 franchises were summoned for World Cup duty. Given there are 23 teams in the league, less than half are shorthanded during the competition. The numbers can change if any of the five players on call for their countries are needed, but at worst it would be a minimal increase.

Thus, most teams [should] have been using the 11-day break to heal various knocks, work on their shape and make any tactical adjustments coaches might deem necessary to rescue a spiralling season.

Here’s what’s on the minds of Western Conference sides.

Martin Palazzotto

The former editor of World Football Columns, Martin authored the short story collection strange bOUnce. He appeared in several other blogs which no longer exist. Old, he likes to bring out defunct. If outdated sport and pop-cultural references intrude on his meanderings for It's Round and It's White, don't be alarmed. He's harmless.

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