The game Thursday night in Seattle is a big deal, it involves much more than just a soccer game between Seattle and NY. Media will be forced to cover the game and the after-effects of the game. It will have to be a part of Sportscenter and all the talking heads shows of Friday’s daytime programming. It is a pivotal moment in time for every team that makes up MLS. It may mark a turning point for the league.
As crowd estimates for the game figure to be close to 30,000 people, this game could prove to be the biggest indicator of what the future holds for soccer and other spectator sports in the U.S. As other bloggers have pointed out, the public might be willing to budget MLS over Major League Baseball.
How interesting it is that MLS marks its beginning in a major cosmopolitan city the same week as that city’s more than 100-year old daily newspaper folds (the Seattle Post-Intelligencer)? Times are a changing, as are People’s interests.
How interesting is it that Soccer comes to Seattle one year after it lost its NBA team? The city may be rallying around its Soccer team to feel good about itself. This is a news story for Soccer lovers in the U.S.
But none of the speculation matters, if the product doesn’t deliver. The most important thing to happen for Thursday’s event, is that the game is exciting, fair, and has lots of scoring. I like a great strategic 0-0 battle as much as the next guy, but the sports fans need a 4-3 game decided in the last minutes, hopefully won by the home team.
This all coincides with reports that indicate Vancouver will be the next franchise invited to join the league. MLS sees how the energies from Toronto and Seattle are giving the league a big lift psychologically, and probably just wants to steal more teams already established from the USL. If the reports about Vancouver are right, then Portland would be the other choice. If not Portland, who do you think is the other franchise coming aboard and why do you think so?