Garber Speech Long on Vision, Short on Canadian Details

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In a sort-of State of the League address on Google+ less than three days before First Kick, MLS commissioner Don Garber mentions much about the league, but mentions very little about the league's future in Canada. We recap the major parts.

The league's commissioner held a Google+ hangout at the company's New York headquarters yesterday, laying out the vision of the league as it enters its 18th year of existence. However, very little mention was made of the Canadian content on the league, but it did highlight many of the answers that fans across the league are seeking.

The first point is that the Designated Player rule is going nowhere, but no mentions of any changes. For a team like Toronto FC that is in constant flux that could be a good thing -- the temptation of using the slots to placate supporters have yet to yield any tangible results -- but for larger market teams, it means business as usual, which for some CONCACAF Champions League contending teams, may not be the answers they are looking for.

Another point that Garber made was that in supporting the USL Pro League, MLS is helping to "solidify the pyramid" that is the North American soccer structure. While that's all good and fine for most of the American squads, Canadian ones still stand to gain nothing from this venture, since the third division league has (and likely will not) have any teams on this side of the border. No questions were asked on this matter, and even if it was asked, there's not likely to be a clear answer anyway.

There will also be an increase in the number of full-time referees that will be employed by the league via its Professional Referees Organization (PRO), which given the laughable standard of refereeing that we've been privy to, could be a blessing in disguise. How many of them will be Canadians (including the "Toronto ref", Waterloo's Silviu Petrescu), that is still to be determined, but any increase in full-time referees, is probably a good thing.

As for the scheduling, we're likely to be stuck with the current spring to fall style for a good long time. But, if what Garber said is true, the league is looking into it. While no particular scheduling format was mentioned, the fact that the league has to compete with multiple members of the Big Four pro leagues for most of its schedule is a recognized fact, and it's something that the league wants to make changes on. While it's likely the Central American Apertura-Clausura model is a handy guide, how that could work for the northern teams and how that could fit for MLS will likely depend on the results of the NASL experiment.

There is a lot more information, including a number of expansion options for the league's 20th team (for which Queens still seems to be the undisputed frontrunner, even with the late entry of Orlando City and its new deep-pocketed Brazilian investor into the race. You can watch the one-hour-and-twenty-two minute video in its entirety here:

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