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Should Results Really Matter For MLS?

jimmyconrad2007wizards Should Results Really Matter For MLS?

MLS continued poor play in CONCACAF continued this week. While DC United advanced, they added a record where in ten preliminary round matches against teams largely from poorer leagues, MLS is win less.

Those of us who watch football from around the globe do not rate MLS highly as a league. It’s not the quality of player that at question, but the quality of tactics and the continuity of squads from year to year thanks to MLS’ structure, that really doom the league. Coaches like Dom Kinnear and Sigi Schmid work well with young talent and tactically aware. But too many coaches in the league do not have the quality or awareness of a Kinner or a Schmid. But as I will argue in this piece, MLS needs to refocus, and a de-emphasis on results may prove to be a good thing.

As I have discussed before, USL-1 is a more tactically savvy league, but also a negative one because teams tactics are scripted and the sides becomes robotic to a certain extent. This has served USL-1 sides well in CONCACAF, but doesn’t make for compelling, attractive football. MLS is more watchable but the USL-1 approach has to this point proven more effective in CONCACAF competition.

Colin Clarke has proven over the past two Champions Leagues that he scouts the opposition well and has a game plan to succeed. It got the Puerto Rico Islanders within a hair of the finals last year. Additionally, key players like Jonny Steele and Christian Arrieta have European club experience and have been the glue on the Islanders team in rough patches during Champions League play.

MLS teams don’t scout well (as evidenced by their body of work in signing foreign players not over the age of 30 through the years) and generally have coaches who don’t adjust well on the fly. When things go bad for MLS teams, particularly against opposition they are unfamiliar with, they go miserably badly.

We keep hearing excuses for these performances year after year, but the bottom line is the league is not very good by any truly objective international standard. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is not looking at results or being objective. We all want our league (s) to be successful, but success is not always based entirely on results or even the bottom line. IFFHS ranked MLS the 77th best league in the world last year- while this may not be fair, because I hardly think the league in Singapore is better than MLS, the truth is the league is probably somewhere in the 40 to 50 range worldwide. But again, as I will argue below this should not matter to any of us.

MLS right now is not a success in terms of quality on the pitch. The league continues to emphasize cash cow friendlies with European clubs (which by the way MLS is showing worse than ever in, from a results standpoint) and league play over international competition.  Again, that would be fine if the league were paying its American players, those whose sweat and hard work built this league a decent wage, instead of forcing them to go to Scandinavia or even USL-1 to be paid at market value.

Do I believe MLS is worse than the leagues from the Caribbean or USL-1? No. But is MLS good enough to simply go out and play against teams from these leagues without scouting or tactics? Again, no as that answer has been obvious based on the league’s consistently poor results from CONCACAF when Dom Kinnear coached sides are not involved.

MLS needs to get back to basics. Work on player development. Renew league mandated contacts with the lower tiers in the USL structure (not USL-1 which is not a “minor” league as Don Garber chided the other day, and which has less bearing on the overall USL structure than perhaps any other league within that structure),  and most importantly show more value for the American player in this upcoming CBA. De-emphasizing results in CONCACAF while emphasizing internationals as learning experiences to grow players would also be helpful.

Don Garber and MLS fans that populate message boards need to stop the needless and silly comparisons with other leagues which quite frankly is done in my opinion to mask the insecurity they feel about the MLS product. MLS doesn’t measure up when compared to any decent foreign league. Any league that you can watch on TV, save the Australian A-League (which is an inferior product to MLS and learned in the Asian Champions League that they are nowhere near the K-League, J-League or even some Middle Eastern Leagues just yet) is superior to MLS, but that should not matter to our fans.

Making MLS a vital part of a thriving American soccer culture should. People have been angry at me in the past when I have written about comparisons between MLS and other leagues. I apologize for those comparisons as it was not necessary and probably a waste of space. But it is not I, who invited those comparisons but in fact many fans of MLS clubs as well as the commissioner himself.

Those comparisons have only served MLS poorly as the league’s structure and lack of depth would ever prevent the league from backing up some of these claims on the international stage. Short or cloning Dom Kinnear 15 times, the only answer is for MLS to retreat as it did in the 2002-2005 time period and rebuild its product in the way it did in that period: based on home grown talent and utilizing the now growing infrastructure of American Soccer via the USSF, USL and other entities.

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

36 Responses to Should Results Really Matter For MLS?

  1. Brian-Indy says:

    I have to say it, I was one of those that used to get ticked when MLS was talked down upon…but now I have completely reversed course, I can honestly say that it is painful to watch most MLS games now, the standard of play is so horrible now. And I can’t stand having to choose my own National Team over MLS constantly every Saturday. Don Garber is only interested in one thing and one thing only…MONEY from expansion fees. He is clueless when it comes to the product now. Eventually the money stream will end and they will have no one else to blame but themselves for having such an inferior product. He has obviously led the league in this new “expansion” era and has padded the wallets of AEG and the Hunts but hopefully he will be gone in the next few years and someone else that played the game and knows what the standard of play should be will step in. Maybe even Kartik?

  2. Demko says:

    I have a different theory on the key to PR’s success: Delgado’s moustache. No MLS player could grow facial hair of such exquisite beauty. Don Garber wouldn’t allow it.

  3. Adam Edg says:

    I agree that it is time for “The Soccer Don” to go. Not that everything he has done is bad; he has led the league to make some great strides during his tenure. However, he is getting stale and it is time for some new blood.
    My biggest issue with him is that he seems to be in direct opposition to the USMNT when in fact he should embrace it. The national team is the key to the sport’s growth. It is the one thing that we can all get behind. I have even learned recently that most immigrants pull for the US as their second choice when we are not playing their team or knocking their team out of contention. They see the high quality players and want to follow them, but are disappointed to learn that none of the really good ones play in MLS. They want local teams to support in addition to rooting for their original favorites, but MLS sours many of them with its poor quality.
    Living in a PDL city (a successful one at that), I know firsthand that immigrants will come out and support the home team. Des Moines has large (and growing) populations of first generation Mexicans, Bosnians, Asians, Central Americans, and Africans; mixtures of these groups are consistently represented at Menace home games. I would estimate that they comprise at least 1/4-1/3 of the fanbase and their presence increases regularly. Keep in mind that we are talking about a team with minimal marketing, amatuer players, and no television exposure.
    If PDL clubs can tap into immigrant communities, then why can’t MLS? If we can manage to get steady crowds of 3500+ in Des Moines for PDL, why is our top level pro league struggling to fill 15000 seat stadiums in MAJOR cities? I realize those numbers are extremely different, but other sports in the US demonstrate a greater proportional attenance difference between amatuer/semi-pro (not NCAA), minor league, and major league teams. There is something wrong with the current product and Don Garber should be held accountable. He is, after all, the face of the league and the man in charge…

  4. Hard to say. I just wish our clubs would perform better in CONCACAF or in Friendlies against top clubs.

    • Rob says:

      I could care less how they fare against top clubs in friendlies. I don’t turn on those games to watch the MLS team I can watch week in and week out, I turn them on to watch whichever great club is playing that I can’t see week in and week out on the TV. The top clubs are in pre-season and aren’t going 110%; so whats the difference what the result is?

      On the flip side, I really wish MLS could succeed in CONCACAF like the USMNT. It’s pretty apparent now that our best players are across the pond, and that as a league MLS is second tier and develops one or two quality players out of luck every couple of years.

  5. Bobby says:

    The Des Moines point is a great one, and it’s not just them. West Texas pulled some great crowds this season.

    Puerto Rico has an excellent structure as well, they’re developing Puerto Rican kids for the first team and even have a soccer center in Bayamon now.

  6. Tim says:

    The “soccer don” needs to stay for his business savy. I’m sure that probably isn’t a popular statement, but his business acumen is impressive. What the league needs is someone who knows soccer as well as garber knows business. And that person needs to be able to influence Garber into taking the finicial hit occasionally for footballing reasons.

    Kartik, I do think you are generalizing a little too much. Also Arena is clearly just as good if not better than Kinnear and Sigi. And Preki as well as Nicol are quality coaches, but have had terrible injury problems the last couple of years.

    All the coaches above have not only scouted well, but have developed young players very well. I see no reason Houston would not succeed in the Champions league, but for timing. Last year Houston went over somewhat of an overhaul in their roster losing De Ro. The team needed to transition and needed a true preseason, but instead they had a CCL knock out tie.

    Nicol and Preki had incredible injury trouble and wanted to try and consolidate their season and concentrate on the playoffs.

    Some clubs are clearly trying to build a good youth structure. RBNY have built a solid academy as has Chivas. DCU are also doing okay. With that said there clearly needs to be a lot more resources added to developing youth.

    One thing is clear though. Talent needs to be kept from going to scandinavia and lower leagues in europe. The salary cap should be risen and I personally believe that DPs shouldn’t count against the salary cap at all, and two domestic DPs should be added as well.

    I don’t think MLS is in as bad as shape as you say, but improvement is definately needed.

  7. Joe in Indianapolis says:

    I wish MLS teams would stop playing friendlies in the middle of the season. It’s an insult to the validity of league, open cup and CONCACF matches, and the fans that take those matches seriously. You want to play Barcelona? Win the CONCACAF Champions League and play them in a real competition. I know it’s nice to see Barca play in the States. But I’d rather see them play another off-season team. TAKE YOUR COMPETITIONS SERIOUSLY, MLS! Embarrassing. I’m losing my patience with MLS. Fast.

  8. Joe in Indianapolis says:

    And Kartik, I’m trying. I really am. I am trying to be a fan of our domestic leagues. But g.o.d.d.a.m.n it… it’s getting hard.

  9. Tim-

    RE: Red Bull, they have some great ideas and the know how on how to implement them- but MLS’ structure makes it very difficult for them to do so. Their success in the USL Super 20 league says alot about what they are doing although I am annoyed some of the mainstream cites that make fun of RBNY’s MLS performance did not even write stories about their youth team winning what is essentially the national championship last week. But I digress, as that point should have been made by me in relation to yesterday’s posting.

    Arena is better than those coaches- agreed- I have written that before, but his teams RBNY and LA have been nowhere near these competitions. It’s also no accident LA has not embarrassed themselves in the friendlies this year the way other MLS teams have. Arena is the maestro as I called him a few weeks ago and has the quality to coach anywhere on the planet as does Bob Bradley.

    Watching the two leagues is how I make these statements. MLS teams tend to clump up in midfield and place less value on possession than they should. USL teams are properly spaced and slowly move the ball- truthfully if USL were on TV more most Americans would say “that’s why we think soccer is so boring.” The league for the most part is run by European coaches who believe in tactics and no flair.

    That’s not good either, but my point is that USL’s success in CCL the last two years is no accident.

    I’m also tired of mindless comparisons by MLS fans to other leagues, all of which are better top to bottom than MLS. This includes the J-League and K-League. MLS needs to refocus on player development- if that means attendance goes down from 16,000 to 15,000, so be it. In the long term we’ll all be better off for it. It’s no accident more and more younger players leave MLS or bypass it completely (even using the semi amateur PDL as a springboard) than at any time in MLS’ history.

    The league is marketed very well- I don’t disagree with that- the attendances are better than Italy and Spain, in fact. But the player development has regressed, MLS players show how tactically unaware they are when thrown into international competition (again Houston as I note in my piece is a clear exception to this), and I continue to contend the league was much more technical and skilled in the late 90s and early part of this decade.

    Add to that embarrassingly low TV ratings, even compared to other soccer events let alone other sports, and you have a league that despite some positives is really treading water and needs to refocus on the sport itself and not all the outside stuff which we understand they do well.

  10. Jake says:

    Well I suppose if you watched the Seattle vs Barcelona game last night, it really does not help this league. The difference in talent is obvious and although Seattle can play a pretty good fast pace attacking style at times, the quality they lack with finishing is frustrating to say the least. Seattle’s “Messi” is supposed to be Montero and he should probably have 5 or more goals this season if not for his finishing and overall quality of play. Watching Freddie Ljunberg play is revealing to me because you just get a sense of trust when he has the ball. You can see the quality of the decisions he makes as well as control of the situation he is in, compared to his teammates. Like Seattle, most MLS teams probably have a handful of maybe 4 guys on their starting XI that can kind of keep up with a team like Barcelona.

    We still have a long way to go and I wholeheartedly agree that we need some new blood in the MLS chain of command. Even USSF needs new blood. All these people have done a fair job of moving MLS up a step or two but now we need people that can take us to the next level. Maybe there is too much history and entrenchment within the organization that keeps the wheeling and dealing the same. Maybe Kartik can expound on that issue more?

    Honestly, I think we need an established system in place similar to the Barcelona youth team that allows talented kids to mature with good coaching and quality games. Imagine what the league would be like 5 or 10 years if the each MLS team had good youth teams. We might be able to see a dangerous looking eighteen year old out there on an MLS team for once similar to someone like Bojan who played 7 years with the Barcelona youth team.

  11. Rex says:

    Good piece.
    I am all for better tactics as long as they don’t sacrifice entertainment. This league needs more entertaining soccer. MLS teams need to be aggressive on the road despite this being tacitly risky. I also believe turf has a major impact on quality.

    MLS should allow its top teams to focus on CCL and express to the team mangers that it should be a focus. Despite having more success that most MLS teams in CCL, Kinnears squad hasnt been that great. Primarily because he has stated that its NOT a priority of his. This drives me crazy. Kinnear fielded many reserve squads for group play in 2008. MLS has taken steps forward this year by lighting Dynamo schedule for September. But more needs to be done.

  12. todd says:

    Houston has a decent chance this year, atleast until the semis/finals during the offseason when they’ll probably lose clark and holden. :(

  13. todd says:

    letting houston play two games this weekend is definitely gonna go a long way.

  14. Mexican League is #1 says:

    Your league is an absolute joke. It’s funny the way you people backtrack. First you say “you’re catching up”. Then “we need a higher salary cap, more roster space”. Now, it’s “it doesn’t matter”.

    Apathy is the hallmark of a LOSER. Basically, you’re saying “we give up”. Pathetic.

    Go ahead and withdraw all your teams from the CCL, we don’t need you. The thing is, if Houston or Columbus do well, you idiots will say “we’re improving! Now it DOES matter!”

    I’ve never seen a bigger bunch of excuse-makers, apologists and hypocrites. You will change your line to whatever is convenient.

  15. Tim says:

    Kartik

    I pretty much agree with you. I especially agree with you that teams really need to concentrate a lot more on possession. And on the coaching discussion, Frank Yallop definately deserves a mention and I believe they will go on another late run albeit they really are only competing for pride. Also, if they retain the core of their team this year, then they will be very much in the race for a playoff spot. Losing Lima was a really big hit for them. They also need another CB. Also it has two be just a matter of time until colin clarke goes back to MLS. If RBNY is smart, which they have shown that they aren’t, then they’ll fire Agoos and Osorio, and give Clarke the job. We saw in the PI TFC game that TFC was more talented but they were thoroughly out coached.

    I digress, what I think we are seeing more of is clubs realizing that they should take advantage of the USL system. There have been plenty of loans to USL-1 teams for players needing playing time. And numerous clubs are involved in the system one way or another.

    I couldn’t agree with you more that there needs to be an added focus towards television ratings because in order to be truely successful, then a team needs three things. Ticket sales, jersey sales, and most importantly a lucrative television contract.

    You are also right that there needs to be more investment in the football side of things. I am fine with players going to Everton and try and fight for a spot there, but it is not okay to lose players to leeds or scandinavia.

    The problem is though how to you convince someone who is already losing money to spend more in a league which is progessing in many ways.

    It is especially agraviating to see that a lot of these MLS sides really just need a couple quality additions and they will easily makes runs in CCL and improve MLS play immesurable. But is there any guarentee that all the changes you or me have advocated will increase television ratings when they can watch a far superior product just as easily? And then if the owners don’t get a return on their investment we will be at square one again.

    Maybe we should lobby the congress to ban soccer that isn’t american. With the right PAC and some good lobbyists it probably could get done.

  16. Tim says:

    And Kartik can you delete the posts of trolls. It would be much appreciated it dilutes the conversation.

  17. Tim says:

    And I forgot one more thing, it needs to be said that there can be some real entertaining, quality matches in MLS. As a DCU fan I’ve seen some great matches including Chi-DCU, Sounders-DCU, and Houston-DCU. The latter two had some dumb mistakes from both sides and definately was more entertaining than quality, but it is a step up from tactically adept boring games. Although admittedly i kinda of like to watch those games.

  18. LI Matt says:

    Personally, I find the “standards” argument to be a colossal bore. I support an MLS team because I believe in supporting my local team. How do you justify supporting a club an ocean away but not supporting the club that represents the place you’ve lived your entire life?

    If the league my local team plays in is not at the absolute top level, so be it. It’s the same as if I lived someplace like Yeovil or Grimsby.

  19. s.y.l.c. says:

    Mexican League is #1

    Your league was an amateur league 14 years in. And what he’s saying is that we should not aspire to “be better than Mexican clubs” or “be of second-tier European league quality” but aspire to “be the best we can.” The results will come as long as that happens.

  20. Bernard says:

    im mexican and not by the fact that i’m mexican think that i say this, but MLS is crap, honestly, i envy you americans for having NBA, NFL and MLB but in soccer (at club level MLS) you guys suck, nothing like watching this leagues: EPL , LA LIGA, CALCIO, AFA, and FMF

  21. Rex says:

    I watch sports for two reasons: I either have a team that i have some type of connection to (for most people this is b/c of geography), and/or I watch to be entertained. Sometimes high quality equals entertainment but definitely not always.
    And i am talking sport here, not just soccer. I think most people would agree. San Antonio Spurs/Detroit Pistons NBA finals… high quality, not entertaining.
    Sometimes I watch high school football (american) games on Saturdays. Why not just watch a college game, it’s higher quality right? I watch because they’re are some damn exciting games. You don’t need quality for entertainment.

  22. eplnfl says:

    Kartik, you have made valid points. We know that MLS has to grow into a quality soccer league or be left behind.

    That said, has this site gone overboard on extolling the virtues of the USL. In my opinion we have been served a large dish of USL is so good and MLS has problems. Recently and I think it has gone too far. Ok, I understand the Florida contingent that makes up a good number of readers here have reason to dislike MLS. Also, you have you association with your local club and that is great. To leave the impression if not out right assert that USL is a better league or a better business model is not the right focus. (Maybe not completely wrong however.)

    I have no doubt that pushing the virtues of the USL is a good thing. We should also extolled when we can the good parts of MLS. For instance, the soccer specific stadiums, the expansion to new markets, the designated player rules, the cheap on demand video service, and the international friendlies that put people in the seats are all positives. You truthfully point out large negatives that need to be addressed and yesterday was too late in my book to address them by MLS. I do not know if it was an editorial choice or not but the two biggest stories in MLS last night was not the CCL match but the huge crowd in Seattle and the big crowd in Chicago for the Superliga final. Each of those events show MLS it’s promise but also it’s failures.

    The Seattle story is one of the top sports stories in America this year. An expansion team that rocks the league and shows up it’s local MLB side. So, I would like the focus to be to promote our major soccer league as well as our lower leagues for the gain of all soccer fans in America.

  23. EPLNFL- USL is a developmental league. NO WRITER on this site has EVER said it is better than MLS FROM A QUALITY OF PLAY STANDPOINT. Reread my posts- I have stated certain aspects are better- the technical coaching is better thanks to a large number of European coachs- the tactical awareness is better of many of the teams (MLS teams probably display the worst tactical sense of any professional teams in any league you can watch on TV including woman’s leagues), and the overall setup for training youth and developing roster depth is better. That however does not make it a superior league from a quality of play standpoint. In fact, certain aspects of college soccer and semipro soccer are better than aspects of the robotic USL where European coaches neuter individual creativity.

    I HAVE NEVER ONCE EVER ASSERTED USL-1 IS A BETTER LEAGUE THAN MLS. NEVER ONCE. IF USL-1, USL-2, PDL TEAMS WHATEVER WERE IN MLS MOST WOULD STRUGGLE.

    WHY AM I CONSISTENTLY MISQUOTED TIME AND TIME AGAIN BY THOSE WHO ARE APOLOGISTS FOR MLS AND DON’T READ EVERYTHING I WRITE AND EXPLANATIONS GIVEN? HAVING AN OPINION WHICH YOU CAN BACK UP WITH SOME DEGREE OF ANALYSIS MAKES YOU HATER AND THEN MAKES COUNTLESS READERS PUT WORDS IN YOUR MOUTH. ESSENTIALLY MAKING ANY CRITIQUE OF MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER IS VERY DANGEROUS. NOW I KNOW WHY THE SAME MEDIA I REFERRED TO THE OTHER DAY DON’T TOUCH THE SUBJECT. PERHAPS THEY ARE EITHER SMARTER THAN ME OR HAVE EXPERIENCED THIS SORT OF UNCRITICAL BACKLASH FROM MLS FANS PREVIOUSLY.

    USL IS A GEM IN HOW IT HELPS DEVELOP AND SUPPORT THE OVERALL US SOCCER STURCTURE. I HAVE SAID IT CAN BE ARGUED THAT IT HAS A GREATER IMPACT WITH ALL THE YOUTH PROGRAMS ON AMERICAN SOCCER AND EVENTUALLY ON THE NATIONAL TEAM. I HAVE NEVER ONCE ASSERTED IT IS THE BETTER LEAGUE, MERELY SAYING PUERTO RICO CAN WIN MATCHES AGAINST AN MLS TEAM AND A SINGLE TEAM IN USL-1 AGAIN THE ISLANDERS CAN COMPETE IN MLS DOES NOT MEAN I HAVE SAID IT IS A COMPARABLE LEAGUE FROM A QUALITY STANDPOINT. FOR EXAMPLE, IF THE MINNESOTA THUNDER WERE IN MLS THEY WOULD NOT SCORE A GOAL ALL SEASON. IF THE RED BULLS WERE IN USL-1 THEY’D BE THE SECOND OR THIRD BEST TEAM. SO WHICH LEAGUE BASED ON THOSE EXAMPLES AM I CLAIMING IS BETTER FROM A QUALITY OF PLAY STANDPOINT?

    AT THIS POINT, I HAVE TO ASSUME SOME OF YOU MISQUOTE ME ON PURPOSE. SOME SIMPLY WANT TO SAY I HATE MLS AND SO THEY GRAB ANY PIECE OF AN ARTICLE I WRITE, TAKE IT OUT OF CONTEXT AND THEN POST IT ON BIG SOCCER AND OTHER MESSAGE BOARDS. MY ARTICLES ARE CONSTANTLY BEING TORN APART AT BIG SOCCER- THEN AGAIN BIG SOCCER HAS SOME OUTSTANDING WRITERS AND THEY GET EXPOSED TO THIS SAME STUFF, SO I AM IN PRETTY GOOD COMPANY.

    • eplnfl says:

      Kartik, I am happy to be loyal to the EPL/MLS Talk family of websites as I believe that they are the place for intelligent and insightful discussion of soccer on the net. Chris should be a proud man today since I believe his work with your help has in part lead to ESPN going big time on the EPL with it’s Saturday and Monday broadcasts. You have almost singlehandely increased the profile of Concacaf soccer in general and taken on the euro snobs who refused to acknowledge that good soccer and great players where to be found in Concacaf countries. Your recent coverage of the USMNT has been exhaustive and extremely information. This site has been doing great work to promote USL and that should continue.

      Yes, no one has said that USL is better than MLS. One is left with the impression that the feelings of the various writers here who point out , what you have stated in your reply is that USL must be better. The articles have often been promoting, rightfully so, the better coaching in the USL, while pointing out a weakness in coaching in MLS, etc. The reader gains the impression after a good number of Good USL v. bad MLS posts, that MLS is an inferior league. It’s very subliminal indeed, but one gains that feeling.

      I do not know if an editorial decision was made to run the CCL as the lead story today. The CCL looks to be an exciting competition and should be promoted here. It’s good for all of Concacaf. However, the headline story could of been today 69,000 people see Seattle host Barcelona. The 2nd story could be the biggest house of the year see the Fire in the Superliga final. Even if Superliga is a sham, it has better coverage on tv and online then the CCL. So, this combined with the above described approach on USL positive articles leaves the feeling that the writers may think USL is better, even if never formally stated.

      Your work is vital to the continued growth of soccer in America. When MLS becomes a top 10 world rank league this website can say proudly we did our part. When every person that attends a MLS game in the future can see world class players, they should thank majorleaguesoccertalk.com.

  24. You are a one-trick pony. Stop writing the same article every week. Do you kick wounded puppies and push old ladies in the street for fun. Whose really comparing MLS to other leagues? You are. Is MLS on par with EPL or FMF? Who gives a shit? It’s my league. It’s the only game in town. Calling for changes to be made is fine, but taking a dump on MLS to promote the USL system is simply counterproductive to truly establishing pro soccer in this country. Only one USL-1 team has averaged more than 10,000 fans this season and it’s not even based in this country (Montreal). Meanwhile, MLS has just two clubs that DO NOT average over 10K. The top seven are over 15K. These numbers have declined from last year, but all major sports in this country have seen a decline in attendance. It’s the economy , stupid, not the tactics or poor scouting. I’m all for a closer relationship between USL and MLS. I don’t think it’s quite the gold mine of talent that you and the other MIami FC fans think it is, but there might be a few gems. I’m also for better scouting, especially in Central and South America, but competition and our summer calendar are problematic. But stripping down the league and starting over is not an option. Think forward progression and stop dreaming about Diego Serna.

  25. chad says:

    Fuckin A Yankeehooligan! Support your team, go to matches, quit being posers! Having a good opinion doesn’t necessarily make it an intelligent opinion!

  26. Yankee Hooligan——if You actually read the piece you’d see we agree on 75% on your post.

    I’m saying MLS is our league and these needless comparisons need to stop.

    MLS fills stadiums- in fact MLS has the third highest attendance in the developed world- higher than italy, higher than spain, higher than france, higher than Holland. No argument there. It’s actually the most successful league in the world from a ratio of filling stadiums.

    USL-1 is not a particularity good league, I agree e but I am tired of MLS fans telling me I should skip going to see my local team to watch MLS shows alot of you are hypocrites- support the teams in our country and in Canada but don’t support your local team because that league should not exist. What a hypocritical argument.

    I also hate how MLS fans get so defensive about the league. Any critique is seen as an attack on the game. I’ve supported MLS since 1996, traveled to see games since my team was contracted and spent a ton of money I’ll never get back supporting the league, so don’t lecture me about this league.

    Also, who said anything about Diego Serna? He is terrible- 1 goal in the run of play all year.

    And furthermore, Miami FC fans wouldn’t know what I am talking about dumbass. USL-1 is a no talent league for the most part- i’ve described it as a left over league of scraps in the past. I am talking about PDL and Super Y which Miami FC has no role in- they develop talent, and they see that talent go to Europe and bypass MLS. The names Jay DeMerit, Charlie Davies, Jonathan Spector, Heath Pearce and others should alarm you- that’s what I am talking about not some 36 year old has been on Miami FC or in USL-1.

  27. eplnfl says:

    No one here should when they think about need to put down soccer at every level in the US. It’s all good for the cause. So, no MLS v. USL war need breakout. We all need each other. I would love to see a uSL match just as much as many people in non MLS towns would love to see a MLS team play. Where all on the same side. In fact, I can’t wait for the Fire to make the CCL in the future.

    With that good night to all and sweet dreams of the EPL on ESPN and think about this, the day ESPN has a EPL/MLS doublerheader is not far off.

  28. CAsey says:

    I think the best thing for MLS to do is to require some sort of coaching experience outside the US. Time and time again we see these coaches coming for College soccer or working their way up through either an assistant coaching job or coaching in USL. Their knowledge of the game is severly hindered when they go down this path. Learning for coaches in more established soccer power countries is the only way we are going to be able to improve the coaching. Bringing over foreign coaches is not going to work and we’ve seen it fail numerous times in MLS.

    I know this would never happen, but its the only way to bring in the tactical knowledge that so many US coaches lack

  29. Ok, so my Diego Serna joke bombed. I was talking about when he played for the now defunct Miami Fusion (98-01). And I’m not lecturing you. I actually enjoy reading your articles because they present a perspective that is often WILDLY different than my own (that’s why I keep coming back).

    But I have to call you on this: “I’m saying MLS is our league and these needless comparisons need to stop.” The second paragraph of the article reads, “Those of us who watch football from around the globe do not rate MLS highly as a league.” Aren’t you comparing MLS quality to “football around the globe.” As for USL, for every Charlie Davies, there’s two Chris Carrieris, but I’ll concede your point about PDL and Super Y attracting talented young Americans. But my point is that your rant against the quality of MLS is obvious and unnecessary.

    I think the reason most MLS fans are so defensive, as you say, is because the mainstream media in this country looks for any blood in the water when it comes to trashing soccer. So, when members of our own media trash the quality of MLS, it validates the stupidity spewed by the soccer-haters in the mainstream media. You live in South Florida, right? There’s a lot of love down there for the beautiful game? I live in New York where baseball is king and according to (non-spanish) sports talk radio, soccer is queer. You can critique the league, but damning it to obscurity until is somehow creates an academy system that took other countries decades to develop does not help grow the sport. I’ll hang up and listen to your answer, now. :)

  30. Fair enough YH.

    Diego Serna was actually good in the 1998-2001 time period although I always note he never played up top well without a better striker- Welton, Eric Wynalda, Roy Lassiter and finally Chacon.

    I agree with you about why they are defensive. But I don’t like the fact so many say “support the game locally,” and then say “don’t support your local team because they are in the wrong league.”

    Chris Carrieri…………LOL! He did win an MLS Cup though IIRC with the ClashQuakes

  31. BIG D says:

    I thought this was Major League Soccer Talk not the Unobody cares about Shitty League Talk

  32. Go local, whatever the league. Hell, I lived in Charlotte for a few months and attended a ton of Eagles games. They used to wear these ridiculous uniforms with crosses on the front because they were sponsored by Christian Chic-fil-a. Now it’s just on their crest, I believe. The atmosphere sucked but it was the best I could do locally.

  33. Bolacuadrada says:

    What a joke. Somebody in a previous post put the Mexican League at the same level with the EPL, Serie A and La Liga. How far fanatics go, Ha. I like to watch MLS games and I think the MLS is a very entertaining league (but that should not matter to our fans, ha). I only watch 2 leagues this time of the year; the Brasileirao and the MLS. The European leagues, the NFL, and College Football are next.

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