MLS Expansion vs Rebuilding

Cleaning out the digital voice recorder from vacation…

After the Seattle Sounders-Galaxy game I asked Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid the same question: Is it more difficult to create a brand new MLS team or rebuild a bad existing one?

Here’s what Arena said:

“I think building an expansion team is easier. Ironically, no-one in the press has a clue about that. I laugh when I see your guys’ opinions.

“They give you more money, they give you more draft picks, they give you more ways of getting players. It’s very much an advantage to start fresh than maybe trying to rebuild a team that’s already there. Having said that, you wouldn’t argue having to do it, say, (without) David Beckham.

“But I do think there’s many more resources for an expansion team, financially, and just your ability to get players. And I think the league has made some big errors in how they’ve allowed an expansion team to come into the league. I think it’s been wrong and it’s not fair to existing teams. … They have more resources to build a roster and they have more access to players – having rights to players in then A-League, to having the number one picks in all the drafts and all the numbers they have – they have a much easier way of getting players.”

Here’s Schmid’s response:

“His answer is it’s more difficult to rebuild a bad team. (Laughs).

“I’ve been on both sides. I think it is more difficult to rebuild a bad team especially when you’re financial resources have not been used appropriately, so therefore your hands are tied a little bit.

“But an expansion team is also difficult because you’re guessing in a lot of areas and you’re trying to get a group to play together in a short period of time so it presents a different difficulty than a team where you’ve got maybe four or five parts that are already working and you’re just adding some parts. You’ve got no parts you know are working at an expansion team and you’ve got to try and get it working as quickly as possible.”

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  • Studs Up

    Clueless in Seattle….and LA.

    Sigi ruined the Galaxy and lucked out with Guille to save his butt in Columbus and was handed a team by Henderson in Seattle.

    Arena lucked out with a championship in the first MLS cup and then proceeded to mess up in NY despite all $$ spent and has done nothing in LA so far.

  • Ben

    Starting with a blank page (expansion team) requires excellent and early planning (what players, formations do I prefer) and is more work as you really have to start with ZERO, however you don’t have bagage of a previous GM or Headcoach.

    So far Schmid has done a very good job in Seattle, sadly I can’t say the same for Arena in LA, despite him as well having every freedom under the sun.

  • Braden

    Excellent question, and I think Arena is right. Just look at the teams that have made some bone-headed financial decisions in the past and how hard it is for even competent coaches to dig them out of the hole. There’s no forgiveness in a league with a salary cap. If you screw up by signing someone like Claudio Reyna for DP money and see him sit on the bench the entire season with an injury you’ve literally squandered more than 15 percent of your team’s total budget.

    Of course, we might still be calling Schmid an idiot if Ljunberg continues to have mysterious migraines.

  • Trap

    Arena has 2 MLS Cups, Schmid has 2 MLS Cups with 2 different teams. Who ruined what team?
    Alhambra, CA