2013 MLS Reserve Schedule

In my view, a proper MLS Reserve League would help players like Victor Pineda and Kellen Gulley grow and advance much quicker - Tasos Katopodis

On March 6th, the MLS announced the reserve schedule for the 2013 season. You can find the full details of every team here. Here is a look at the Fire's reserve schedule:

Date

Time

Opponent

Location

March 26

11:00 AM

Columbus Crew

Crew Stadium

May 1

10:00 AM

FC Dallas

Toyota Park Practice Field

May 14

10:00 AM

Houston Dynamo

Houston Amateur Sports Park

June 14

8:00 PM

Charlotte Eagles

Queens University of Charlotte Sports Complex

June 29

TBD

Charlotte Eagles

Toyota Park

July 8

10:00 AM

New York Red Bulls

Toyota Park Practice Field

July 17

10:00 AM

Columbus Crew

Toyota Park Practice Field

July 23

2:30 pm

Montreal Impact

CS Claude-Robillard

August 11

10:00 AM

Montreal Impact

Toyota Park Practice Field

August 27

11:00 AM

New York Red Bulls

Montclair St. University

September 22

12:00 PM

Columbus Crew

Crew Stadium

October 13

10:00 AM

FC Dallas

adidas Field - FC Dallas Stadium

October 20

11:00 AM

Toronto FC

Toyota Park Practice Field

An interesting note is that the original schedule had the Fire playing New York on April 7th and that has now mysteriously disappeared. Per the "ground breaking" agreement between MLS and USL Pro, Chicago will be taking on the Charlotte Eagles twice this June.

I have a couple of thoughts about this schedule and the Fire's decision not to partner with a USL team. MLS has increased games in the reserve division from 2012. The Fire will now be playing 13 games this season instead of the 10 games played in 2012. This is still not enough reserve games to develop younger talent. The Fire reserves play March 26 and then have to wait until May 1st for their next game. Then it is basically 2 games a month with some 3 week breaks in between games. This is not enough consistency for the players that need playing time in order to develop into quality MLS players, plain and simple. This leads into the question of why did the Fire choose not to partner with a USL Pro team? A partnership would have given the Fire the ability to send 5 players out on loan for the entire USL Pro season to their partner club. This would have given those players consistent meaningful game time week in and week out. This sure would have helped in the situation of Kellen Gulley, who the Fire has made no secret about sending out on loan for 2013. They have been trying to find a team for him to go out on loan to in order to get valuable game time. Fortunately, it finally looks like they found a team to take him on loan in the Atlanta Silverbacks.

As for the MLS Reserve League in general, we will have to see if any progress has been made in 2013 as the league attempts to focus on developing talent. In my opinion MLS still has not done enough to make the Reserve League a viable option in order to develop talent from within the league itself.

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