One of the implied, but not literally said, implications of U.S. Soccer’s decision to call up a host of MLS players outside of the FIFA-mandated window was there was a tacit agreement between the federation and league. Similarly, there appeared to be no similar agreement with other nations, as few players from other CONCACAF nations were allowed to join up with their international teams.
The head scratching confrontation follows on a tetchy exchange between the David John-Williams-led Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) president Sunil Gulati and Major League Soccer League (MLS) commissioner Dan Garber.
The TTFA wrote to Gulati and Garber, on 27 May, to point out that the MLS clubs released their players early to the United States national team but not to the Soca Warriors. The TTFA president asked Gulati and Garber for reciprocity.
In response, according to John-Williams, the United States football officials claimed that “the MLS and USSF entered into an agreement before the beginning of the MLS season in January 2017 to release their players early for the June qualifiers.”
As a result of this, the United States has effectively had an extra week of preparation ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday.
Other CONCACAF nations surely have a right to be frustrated by such an agreement, but MLS teams are the ones who have been put in the most awkward position by MLS effectively putting the federation’s interests over its own teams’.