The new season kicks off on Friday and doesn’t end until December. It’s partly down to travel, and partly to geography – but TV complicates matters too
Patrick Vieira, the New York City FC coach and former Arsenal star, likes to tell stories about travelling across the United States by plane with his team. Major League Soccer teams are allowed to charter private aircraft just four times per season, so players and staff usually travel to away games on commercial airlines with the rest of us.
One time, Vieira’s team was stuck at New York’s LaGuardia airport for eight hours when a flight to Kansas City was cancelled. Anyone who has ever flown from LaGuardia will know an hour at its overcrowded gates is almost enough to dissuade most people from ever flying again. After their long wait at the gate, Vieira’s team was told to come back the following morning. A replacement plane had been found – but there was no crew to fly it. Another time, for a game in Montreal, the NYC FC entourage spent 90 minutes getting through Canadian customs.