Back in June, when the Red Bulls signed French superstar Thierry Henry, then later added the the captain of Mexico's World Cup side in Rafa Marquez, everyone penciled New York into the MLS Cup final.
The thought was that Los Angeles, with USA hero Landon Donovan, a very in-form David Beckham, and one of the best goal-scorers in the league, Edson Buddle, would join New York in the MLS Cup final to create the biggest game in the history of the MLS.
Instead, David Arturo Ferreira and FC Dallas destroyed L.A on Sunday, and Omar Cummings and Conor Casey led the Colorado Rapids through Columbus and San Jose for their date with Dallas in the MLS Cup final next weekend in Toronto. All of the hopes and dreams of MLS from a marketing standpoint have fallen to the ground.
Colorado and Dallas are perhaps the two most apathetic fan bases in MLS, not to mention market size. Major League Soccer went from hoping for the two largest media markets in the United Stats to get their teams into the final in order to make the final a marquee sporting even on an NFL weekend. Instead, they have to hope the hardest of hardcore soccer fans tune in on Sunday night just to make the T.V number anywhere near respectable.
The most disappointing thing for MLS, in a sea of disappointing news, is to go on and click around Ticketmaster's website to see what kind of tickets still remain. The first thing you'll notice is price. $400 for a pair of tickets 17 rows up from midfield? Seriously? That's more expensive than comparable tickets at almost an NFL Stadium.
The hardcore Toronto FC fans are staying away as well, as there are still good seats, in the cheaper pricing sections available. This at a stadium where it's nearly impossible to score tickets to a TFC vs. Kansas City Wizards game. On eBay, tickets are going for next to nothing, hundreds of dollars off of face value in some instances.
It's the perfect storm of bad planning by Major League Soccer. They over-priced tickets in a stadium where they assumed a loyal fan base would come out in hoards for the MLS Cup final. They figured New York and Los Angeles fans would travel, which would mean big money at the gate.
I know FCD and Colorado fans don't want to hear it, but this is a nightmare outcome for Major League Soccer.