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Bruce Arena on MLS scheduling: “As the league continues to expand, it’s impossible to play everybody”

When asked about only playing two Western Conference opponents this season, Bruce Arena stated that moving forward that is just how MLS will work.

New York Red Bulls Vs. New England Revolution At Gillette Stadium Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

It looks like Bruce Arena will be able to narrow his focus to just Eastern Conference opponents when it comes to MLS regular season play.

The 2020 season will forever be a moment where soccer in the United States changed. Due to COVID, MLS descended all the way to Disney to get their season started and once clubs were able to return to their home stadiums (well most of them), clubs played a select number of teams.

That has continued in 2021 as the New England Revolution will only play two Western Conference opponents this season. Sunday will be one of their two matchups as the crayon flag journeys to Dallas.

On Friday Bruce Arena was asked about the scheduling and for him it looks to be the way of the future for MLS.

The Head Coach and Sporting Director said, “If you aren’t aware of it, and I think I’m correct in saying this, every team in the league only plays two games against opponents in the other conference. So, the league is now becoming a league where it’s just conference play. So that’s going to be the case as the league continues to expand, it’s impossible to play everybody. The league’s going to a scheduling structure that’s pretty common, say, in baseball. Well, not even baseball since they play outside the league, but we’re going to be playing basically in our conference probably on a very regular basis and very rarely will we see teams from the other conference. Is it good not playing those other teams? I don’t care one way or the other, to be honest with you. If we play them, we play them. But right now, in the near future, it’s likely that we will play literally only two games a year against teams in the Western Conference.”

The last “normal” MLS season was in 2019 and New England faced more than 10 Western Conference clubs.

MLS is still growing as two teams in the near future will be added to the league with the additions of Charlotte DC and St.Louis SC.

As long as New England keeps on winning, Arena and fans won’t be worried at all about who the Revolution face week in and week out.