MLS must spend for CONCACAF Champions League - Landon Donovan
Former LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan said that Major League Soccer could improve its performance in CONCACAF Champions League not just by changing its schedule, but also by spending more money on star players.
The outspoken former U.S. international made his comments via Twitter days after his former club was eliminated from CCL play by Mexican side Santos Laguna in an embarrassing 4-0 second-leg loss.
Reigning champion Club America also eliminated the Seattle Sounders from contention earlier this week with a 3-1 quarterfinals second-leg trouncing and the all Liga MX vs. MLS CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals over the last two weeks fell emphatically on the side of Mexico's first division: 4-0.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena blamed the tournament timing for the poor performance by MLS clubs and said the league should be working to make the schedule more equitable. CCL falls during MLS preseason, but amidst the Liga MX season, which means that Mexico sides are more fit.
"It's been, obviously, a complaint of ours for a number of years," Arena said after the loss earlier this week. "However, in all fairness to CONCACAF, they're adherent to [FIFA's] international calendar."
The Galaxy is loaded this season with superstars -- Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane, Nigel de Jong, Giovani Dos Santos and Jelle Van Damme all started in the loss to Santos, although Ashley Cole did not. Keane told reporters last week that MLS and Liga MX were level in terms of quality.
But Donovan said MLS clubs need to spend more and not just be limited to two to three big-contract players. Donovan also told fans on Twitter that he didn't think such a measure would mean that MLS clubs would just hire more foreign players and develop less U.S. talent. He also tweeted to a fan that he didn't think MLS lacked the money to spend on 10 to 15 star players per club.
Cole and De Jong both were acquired by the Galaxy in the offseason on free transfers under pay structures that saw their previous clubs pick up most of their salaries. Sources told ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle that the Galaxy's portion of Cole's salary is just $300,000, while De Jong's is $500,000.
Donovan, 33, retired last year as the United States' most-capped player and highest scorer, netting 57 goals in 157 appearances.