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World Football Challenge - Bigger Joke Than Friendlies?

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With all these big name clubs coming to the United States for the mid-season friendlies you may have noticed that though the Seattle Sounders play Manchester United that match is not part of the World Football Challenge. Which is a little odd. Because the WFC is a real tournament - just look. You see, last night's match between Manchester City and Vancouver Whitecaps FC mattered. There's a trophy on the line. There are even tie-breakers in case some team is with another. But let's look at the crazy rules for this supposed tournament.

Teams will receive points as follows: three (3) points for a win in regulation, two (2) points for a penalty kick win (should the score be level after ninety (90) minutes then the winner shall be determined by the taking of kicks from the penalty spot in accordance with the Laws of the Game.), one (1) point for a penalty kick loss, and zero (0) points for a loss in regulation. A team will be awarded an additional (1) point for each goal up to 3 goals during the regulation 90 minutes of play for that specific match, regardless of whether they win or lose the match; no points will be awarded for penalty kick goals following the end of regulation.

That's some crazy NASL style bull right there. These are friendlies. No team gives a damn if they win or lose a game, let alone the tournament so why in the world would they go to penalty kicks? Even worse, why change the way points are awarded?

Club G W L D GF GA GD Pts.
Manchester City 2 2 0 0 4 1 3 10
Manchester United 1 1 0 0 4 1 3 6
Real Madrid 1 1 0 0 4 1 3 6
MLS Western Conf. (LA, VAN) 2 0 2 0 2 6 -4 2
MLS Eastern Conf. (NE, CHI, PHI) 1 0 1 0 1 4 -3 1
Club América 1 0 1 0 0 2 -2 0
CD Guadalajara 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
FC Barcelona 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Juventus 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Yep, in the WFC it is better to get blown out 4-1 than lose 2-0 or 1-0. And it gets funnier. Sporting Clube will not earn points, but their opponent will.

If there is any utility for these games it may be to convince a few other people to pay attention to Major League Soccer that don't normally. It is a decent argument in favor of friendlies, and one that MLS just ruined by creating odd rules awarding points for goals and becoming the quirky, not-quite-real League it has spent the past decade trying avoid. It has tried not to be the NASL, or even MLS 1.0 and now this.

Thankfully the Sounders and Red Devils didn't dress the Wednesday night friendly up in this costume and instead are just having a fun party - tickets are available in our ticket center. Have a friendly, have fun with it. It doesn't need a falsified tournament where entrants are determined by finances. Good on the Sounders, bad on MLS.