Had the chance to chat with RSL owner Dave Checketts earlier this afternoon for a story that will run in Friday’s newspaper. Checketts touched on a number of topics and had several interesting things to say (he was thrilled with how this week’s MLS All-Star game went, he felt the event was a fulfillment of sorts for all the hard work his group put in to make Rio Tinto Stadium possible, he believes RSL will need to win seven of its final 12 games to make the playoffs, and he says the franchise has never been in better shape off the field.)
At the end of the interview, he dropped this little opinion — he’d love to see the return of shootouts to decide regular-season MLS games.
MLS used shootouts during the first four years of its existence from 1996 to 1999, but the league abandoned the policy in 2000 to better align itself with the rest of the world.
After watching goalkeepers Tim Howard of Everton FC and Kasey Keller of Seattle square off in a shootout last night to end the MLS All-Star game, however, Checketts walked away thinking about the possibility of having MLS regular season games decided by a shootout if necessary.
Here is the entirety of what Checketts had to say on the matter:
“I will say if ever there was a case for ties to be settled by a shootout, you saw it last night. The entire crowd’s standing, screaming, watching two great goaltenders going at each other. One had been a mentor to the other. Kasey Keller is arguably the best American goaltender who ever lived, and Tim Howard might get there. It was over the top. It was so exciting. I was so pleased that people got to see that because that was a lot of fun. The whole drama of guys strolling up the field to take his one-on-one against the goaltender, I just think Major League Soccer (should look at it.)
“I know they’ve tried it before and then they went back to FIFA rules, but I think there’s a case here to bring that back and make it a permanent part of the game. We did this in hockey a few years ago because people just don’t like ties. And so now you have five-minute sudden-death overtime in hockey, and if it’s still tied they have a shootout. And I’m telling you, not a soul leaves the arena — no one goes, they stay for the shootouts in St. Louis, (where Checketts is the team’s owner). Most of my fellow (MLS) owners are really traditional soccer people, so they look at me like I’ve got two heads when I talk this way, (but) I really think we should bring it back and I think last night made the case for it.”
RSL fans, what do you think of what your owner has to say?