Friday, January 2, 2015
EPL Shows MLS How Holidays Should Be Treated
A total of 33 goals were scored for an average of 3.3 goals per game. This is a half goal more than the normal game. Typically, an EPL match will see roughly 2.75 goals scored.
So, what caused this barrage?
I thought it was partly due to New Year's Day falling in the middle of the week. Preparation for all the clubs is different and play was probably looser, allowing for more offense. But, when I check the amount of goals scored for New Year's Day for 2014 on a Wednesday, my theory is proven wrong. There were only 24 goals for all ten matches in 2014.
The goals were outstanding yesterday, the games were skillfully played and the public in attendance at all the matches were packed and electric. The action was so good, I wouldn't be surprised to see plenty of lists of 'Top EPL 2015 New Year's Day Goals' popping up all over soccer blogs. But, the more important topic for American sports fans is how EPL was able to dominate a holiday, something MLS has not been able to do.
A day like this is needed for American club soccer. Especially, if the goals can come in masses.
MLS has failed in every way on every holiday available to them. Whether it is Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day or Veteran's Day, MLS finds a way to put itself in the background.
Each holiday needs to be treated by MLS with luster and desire. There should be a desire to make an imprint on American culture with these holidays. Veteran's Day could be the day of MLS Cup.
I expect EPL to look at the results of this New Year's Day (similar to last year-starting with one marquee match, followed by 8 matches starting at the same time and ending with one other marquee match) and to carry on its momentum for next year. This is basic marketing 101 and this is how traditions are started and maintained. EPL's Breakaway (this was a format in which any broadcast at any moment is interrupted and substituted for superior action or goals in a different match) on the middle 8 matches is a brilliant concept and one that MLS may want to consider for its future.
With 20 teams now, MLS has the same opportunity for 10 matches on the same day. MLS needs to do a better job of taking the holiday advantage and start planning a better way to get the public excited. Hopefully, when the planning is right, the goals will come in a big way too like they did yesterday for EPL.