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Leagues: MLS

US-El Salvador 1997

Highlights of the US trip to San Salvador during the Hexagonal Qualifying for the 1998 World Cup. This is the most recent time El Salvador advanced to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying prior to this year.

After game highlights which include a Roy Lassiter goal for the US in the 1-1 draw, a nice treat. John Harkes in studio with Dave Johnson talking about his contributions. By the way both goal scorers in the match played in MLS at the time, Roy Lassiter for Tampa Bay and Raul Diaz Arce for DC United. At the time four El Salavador internationals played in MLS: Diaz Arce, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Ronald Cerritos and Jorge Rodriguez.  The US squad for that match featured eight MLS starters and six MLS reserves. A total 17 MLS players were dressed for the match on either side.

Tomorrow’s match will feature on five MLS players total on both squads. The simple assumption that MLS’ play has consistently improved through time is highly debatable in my mind.

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  1. Curtis Spiteri

    March 28, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Hey AL,
    I couldn’t care less that you “could care less”. I’m sure you could very well care less, but since I actually couldn’t care less then don’t worry about explaining how much less you are capable of caring.

  2. AL

    March 28, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I could care less about MLS. I used to watch it but I’d agree the play is worse than ever and the hype and expansion make me sick.

    But wasn’t this thread supposed to be about the US-ELS in 97? I recall the home game, a 4-2 win on ABC. At the time ABC showed a lot of soccer. US National Team consistently. Why don’t they show that anymore?

    Lassiter was a quality target striker. Samspson made a huge error taking ROy Wegerle to France instead of Lassiter. That was a mistake we paid dearly for. Lassiter could have poached us a goal either against Germany or Iran and changed that disastrous cup around totally. Wegerle was old, slow and useless.

  3. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    March 27, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Agreed: I’ve never disputed ever if you go back and read my viewpoints that MLS has previously been a good developmental league PRIOR TO 2007 for American based talent. Let’s face it, without MLS, the US would not have qualified for World Cup 1998, 2002 or 2006. BUT, my criticism of MLS today have nothing to do with the legacy of the league. It has to do with the league going way off course from its original intent: to develop american talent.

    Right now we have every team with the ability to sign EIGHT senior foreign players, not the 3 or 4 that our clubs could sign in the 1996 to 2003ish time period. Because of the salary cap these players have tended to be subpar, yet still over paid. Franco Neill, Pascal Bedroison, Franco Carracio, etc.

    Secondly, I’m sure you noticed all of a sudden MLS is developing fewer and fewer capable internationals for the various US national teams. By default being an American league they will develop some, but many now go to Europe right out of school to improve their games. Others who are in MLS stagnate because the technical coaching isn’t very good in the league (actually it is terrible) and the more often than not young players have a hard time cracking the squad. That’s why many young guys end up in USL, that and salary. I’m actually very offended that so many MLS fans seem to think USL doesn’t exist or simply see it as some sort of minor league. It’s a vital cog in our development in this country and living in a market which is much closer to any FMF team than a current MLS team, I can understand the value of USL.

    Back to MLS though. Garber has allowed the ship to sail way off the original course. The DP rule hasn’t elevated the level of play and has helped further skew the salary structure towards foreign players. We seem to want to emulate the FMF whose league is the arguably the best in the Americas but also whose obsession with importing South American players and coaches is killing the Mexican game to the point where El Tri could miss the World Cup totally.

    With less of a football infrastructure in this country, do we want to go down that very same road? I strongly believe MLS teams should have a maximum of 4 foreign players: 2 senior international and 2 youth internationals. The two senior internationals should have played for the national team in at least 50% of the “A” matches over the past 4 years. If they have not, they cannot sign in MLS. DP’s would be exempted. For example, Angel has played in less than 50% of Colombia’s matches over that period but as a DP the rule doesn’t apply to him.

    Then and only then will MLS return to the right course to help the development of the game in this country.

  4. Curtis Spiteri

    March 27, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Typical limited viewpoint again Kartik.

    Who cares if the level of MLS play or the contribution of such “is debatable in your mind”? Your poor spelling certainly isn’t debatable, but that should be the topic of another post.

    Bradley may have 5 MLS players on his current 22 man roster, but if you take even the slightest interest in looking at this issue squarely, you’ll see the squad is loaded with 16 current and former MLS based talent. Current MLSers and their alumni dominate this squad.

    Without MLS however, IT IS VERY debatable that the USMNT would have as many top level Euro-based players on the squad.

    Before the level of play and domestic talent improved with the existence of MLS, the USMNT would field a solid mix of indoor soccer part-timers, semi-pro sharpshooters and a slew of 2nd and 3rd division Euro league players. Those days were called the 1980’s; I was there andI remember those days fondly . . . so yes, MLS has indeed improved the level of play for the American game and the USMNT.

    If there’s still a debate in your mind, I suggest you look at the beta max cassettes of our high flying qualifying efforts during the dark ages.

  5. Lee

    March 27, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    The thing is, I agree with Kartik points about MLS generally. My only issue is his need to say the same thing over and over and over again.

    Thats all.

  6. Ian

    March 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I agree with Lee, yet disagree with him.

    Kartik doesn’t need to ram the point home so regularly and overtly.

    Yet MLS today has no maestros like an “El Pibe” or “El Diablo” like in 1997.

    The artistic beauty of the game has been reduced by over expansion and some inexplicable business practices.

  7. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    March 27, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I don’t think MLS is terrible by any stretch of the imagination. I simply reject the talking points from the league which so many bloggers/reporters accept verbatim, like the level of play is going up every year, the league is developing better and better players, and that the league is competitive with the Mexican league. The last point is so laughable it isn’t even worth discusing but the first two are much more debatable than most MLS apologists seem to think. One very respected media member who used to call MLS games in the late 90s has told me he totally agrees with my view that the quality of play was better then. Of course now the fans are better, stadiums are better and we don’t have those stupid clock rules and the shootout. But the football itself was better then in this person’s mind.

  8. Eric

    March 27, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Interesting point Kartik, I think you are right in some ways, but you are leaving out important parts in others. The DC and LA teams of the 90s were the best MLS has seen yet. But a large part of that was because there was 10 years of American talent that was available such as Harkes, Pope, Agoos. DC had a roster of 10 internationals in 1998, as well as a healthy Ben Olsen. However, a lot of those guys were Americans. With the explosion of salaries for players in Europe compared to the US, you won’t see that level of play by one team again for a while in MLS.

    If we only look at those two points, the origin and the present day, then yes MLS’ play has dropped off a bit. However if you compare it to where it was 6 years ago, I find it hard to believe it hasn’t improved.

  9. Lee

    March 27, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Yes Kartik, we get it: You think MLS in 2009 is crap. We heard you the 101st time. No need to make a swipe EVERY SINGLE CHANCE you get.
    It only erodes what valid points you may have.


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