The Brotherly Game has learned that the Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake began rescheduling discussions because of MLS-based initiative, not pressure as was speculated at the time.
A source close to the situation told the Brotherly Game that MLS officials implored the Union and Salt Lake to negotiate a date change for the April 23 game between the two sides. Salt Lake pushed for the idea with the Union after liking what the league had to say on the matter. By changing the schedule, Salt Lake was provided with a week of preperation for their first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals against Mexican side Monterrey.
When asked about what some non-RSL MLS fans perceived as favortism by the league because of the schedule change, the source said, “happens in other leagues all the time, with shorter windows. Saprissa moved their league game before they came to Utah only 5 days out.”
More after the jump.
MLS had accounted for the potential of Salt Lake playing in the CCL semi-finals, making sure that April 2 and 16 were cleared for Salt Lake.
Bye weeks, however, were not set for the possibility of the team’s entrance into the CCL finals. The source chalked that decision up to superstition by the league, plus the fact that a third Saturday off was “a big leap.” Salt Lake had a mid-week game versus the Colorado Rapids because of one of those Saturday byes. “Salt Lake would have sold out [the] game if it had been on the weekend,” the source said.