Connect with us

Leagues: MLS

3 Reasons Why I Feel Sorry For Major League Soccer

I feel sorry for MLS.

Sure, I think their business model is sort of wacky and elitist. Why can’t they just adopt promotion/relegation like the rest of the world? Why can’t they just have a single table with a balanced schedule? And salary caps? That’s almost contrary to the spirit of world soccer!

But still, I do feel sorry for them, for several different reasons:

1. They’re losing the TV war.

MLS is trying to do something that is very bold and difficult: They’re trying to create a new, globally important soccer league in 2013. To do that, they need money. To get money, they need TV networks. To get TV networks, they need fan attention.

It sounds simple, right? Just get some fan attention and the TV networks will pay big dollars to broadcast your games and you use the money to buy the best players. Soon you have a virtuous cycle and the Europeans are paying money to watch your games on their televisions. Ha….how about THAT!

And, it would be simple except for the era when MLS was trying to pull off this feat.  When MLS started in 1996, the problem was the most Americans didn’t care about soccer. In 2013, Americans are interested in soccer, but find they can easily access comprehensive coverage of the superior leagues in England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy along with a smattering of Mexican, Scottish, Australian, Brazilian, Argentine and lower-level English games.

A typical Saturday can start with Rooney, RVP, Ozil and the other stars of the EPL, a noontime switch to Pirlo, Balotelli, Vidal, Buffon and other Italians, before a late afternoon of Zlatan, Cristiano, Falcao and Messi.  If you watch that all day, those first touches in the New England – Sporting KC game look really grim. It’s like watching foosball.  I mean….how much soccer can a man be expected to watch!

And if you squeeze in that MLS game on Saturday evening, when are you supposed to play FIFA? That Career Pro you’re working on in the Irish League isn’t going to build his attributes by himself!

2. The country is too large to have a lot of teams local to all large metro areas.

Wait… I hear you say that we should “support our local clubs.”  We should be patriotic and support American soccer!  But, the closest MLS club to my home in North Carolina is DC United. It’s 5 hours away by car. “But we’re probably expanding to Atlanta soon!”  Except that Atlanta is 5 hours in the other direction.  It would take less time to drive from Newcastle to London than for me to drive to an MLS game. And I don’t live in the boondocks. North Carolina is the 10th largest state in the USA with a population of ~10MM. That’s more than the combined populations of Wales and Scotland combined yet we do not have an MLS team and don’t seem to have any prayer of ever being awarded one.

Simply stated, to have a similar density of “top” clubs as a true footballing nation like England, Germany or Spain, the US would need ~100 powerful teams (and several thousand lower-league and semi-pro clubs in the lower divisions). We’re not even close to that.

3. Even the weather doesn’t cooperate with MLS.

The MLS schedule avoids the winter partially because winters in Toronto are cold.  But because of this, they play games in the summer in Houston.  The rumor mill suggests that MLS will soon expand to Miami and Atlanta.  Have you ever been to Atlanta in July?  It isn’t even pleasant to be a fan who sits still with a cold beverage in July to say nothing of the athletes who have to run for 90 minutes in that heat and humidity.  When your league includes all of the United States and Canada, it is impossible to find a calendar that suits the entire geographical area.

None of this is to harangue MLS and to say they should adopt promotion/relegation or a single-table or the FIFA calendar.  I’m just pointing out the bravery of a group that looks at all these massive structural challenges and still says, “Screw what these lower division clubs do… where they just try to build a local market… [Make a wanker gesture.]  We are expanding to big TV markets!  We’re going to build a global soccer powerhouse in the next 10 years!”

How can you not enjoy the spectacle of it all?

So, if you’re like me and occasionally find fault with so many things that MLS does, let’s at least keep in mind the challenges they face. It would drive people to drink. I surely wouldn’t want their job.

Editor’s note: For the latest news, opinion and analysis, visit our Major League Soccer page for more articles.

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more


  1. Hudson

    September 6, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    The MLS just sucks period. Its Americanized soccer for dummies

  2. Bartleby

    November 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    American soccer fans are tuning out MLS and MLS homers are totally incurious to why.

    And the why isn’t as simple as to say that the quality sucks. Because, the quality has gotten better. But I’d still rather watch the English Championship over MLS. Why? Because every game matters.

    MLS has constructed its season like the NBA where the whole regular season is just to determine playoff seeding. And then they wonder why no one tunes in to watch their games.

    Of course there are a lot of other reasons why soccer fans in this country are tuning out MLS. I think the whole single entity/no free agency stuff turns a lot of people off. The fact that MLS doesn’t really understand its a soccer league…they still have the frickin draft. The franchise model works in other American sports but soccer is a global game with fans being cultured in to the sport through Europe. The franchise model in this context has a plastic feel to it.

  3. SoccerPrime

    November 7, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Dean, I would like you more if you didn’t try so hard to get tinfoil teddy and the pro/rel folks to like you. You also need to wear the Eurosnob label with more pride. Be proud to be a Eurosnob! Stop patronizing MLS and just admit you like soccer for the foreignness of it.

    But the fact that you seem embarrassed by it means there is hope for you. You’ll come around. You’re a southern boy.

  4. SoccerFan

    November 7, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Why do people go on about being a ‘MLS fan’ v being a ‘Euro snob fan’ (a what???)?

    Both are SOCCER fans. Soccer (unlike most other US sports) is properly global. Of course people are going to compare it with leagues in Europe, South America etc.

    Both want the MLS to work. Both want to really get into the MLS. Both want people from other countries to show an interest in our league.

    As for the person who says relegation/promotion doesn’t work then Leeds & Man City are good examples from England of big teams who have been up & down in recent years. It works. It gives a lot of extra interest.

    Anyway, for fans of teams still left in the MLS post-season then enjoy!

    • Bartleby

      November 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      the problem is for as long as i can remember, whenever someone would make a comment that MLS should change something, they were called “euro snobs” by MLS fans.

      I used to be an MLS fan but it really started to irk me that any criticism at all and MLS fans would spew all kinds of vitriol at you. Go on and its the same five MLS homers that respond to any criticism. You have to wonder if they are being paid by MLS.

      How ironic is it that the majority of soccer fans in this country are actually “euro snobs”?

      • Christopher Harris

        November 13, 2013 at 2:59 pm

        I agree. I find the “Euro Snobs” label discouraging and, frankly, childish behavior. If MLS fans want to encourage more people to watch the league, they shouldn’t resort to name calling.

  5. john marzan

    November 6, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    “Wait… I hear you say that we should “support our local clubs.” We should be patriotic and support American soccer! ”

    they are patriotic and support USMNT. but that same enthusiasm doesnt apply to the american professional soccer league.

  6. john marzan

    November 6, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    “When MLS started in 1996, the problem was the most Americans didn’t care about soccer. In 2013, Americans are interested in soccer, but find they can easily access comprehensive coverage of the superior leagues in England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy along with a smattering of Mexican, Scottish, Australian, Brazilian, Argentine and lower-level English games.”

    you mean there is no “american exceptionalism” feeling when it comes to soccer for american fans???

    • Dean Stell

      November 7, 2013 at 5:50 am

      I think we (America) does have some natural advantages. The country is populous and wealthy. We love sport. We have a country where many international players would like to live; and a diversity in terms of climate and culture that sets us apart of most of Western Europe.

      But….what we’re seeing now is that despite those “advantages”, it is still difficult to arrive at the “party” 100 years to late and become exceptional very quickly.

  7. Smokey Bacon

    November 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Anyone watching Red Bulls – Houston? Cracking game right now.

    • Len F

      November 6, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      It’s been a great match. Henry had a chance to end it with style but on to extra time.

      • Smokey Bacon

        November 6, 2013 at 10:25 pm

        Real cup tie atmosphere too. Crazy goal by Cummings. Looked over the line though.


    November 6, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    To prove my point here please note tonight’s games seem to be well attended even after a day of UEFA CL action on TV.

    I support writing for this site and have and appreciate the editorial decision of the Gaffer to create discussion and interest and I thank you for doing so but I feel what you point out are superficial items that do not stand up will upon examination.

    • Dean Stell

      November 7, 2013 at 6:33 am

      I think you’re totally missing the point. I’m not trashing MLS. I’m just saying that those dudes at MLS have a VERY, VERY hard task in front of them. Their biggest problem is that the growing audience for soccer in America is being doused (quenched?) by wall-to-wall coverage of global soccer. They don’t get to mature in a vacuum like the European leagues did…..or even the NFL did.

      It’s different and hard and even though I don’t agree with everything that MLS does, I’m not sure their alternatives are all that great either. I’m more tipping my cap at them than anything else. They’re some brave folks!

      • EPLNFL

        November 7, 2013 at 11:02 am

        I am half in agreement with you. Them ore great soccer I saw from the old world made me want the new world version more. So as I became more wrapped up in the EPL and CL I wanted to see more of my MLS team and National Team live and in person.

        The American Experience has been that the more a sport has been on tv the more popular it gets. The same seems true with MLS. Them more of the EPL we see the more interest in the MLS. Not sure if it’s American Exceptional-ism or not. May be Kartik has better input on that.

      • KapUSMC

        November 7, 2013 at 11:38 am

        Dean, you probably should have included more like this in the original article, because it definitely carried some hatchet job connotations.

        I do wonder, why the obsession with a single table though / playoffs? As I have mentioned larger countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina have different formats as well.

        • EPLNFL

          November 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm

          Great point. Why should we be locked into the old world system. Many other countries have playoff systems of one sort or another.

        • Bartleby

          November 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

          i think single table is a preference. But i think its a preference that most American soccer fans have. I don’t have any polling to back it up other than unscientific internet polls which show single table and pro/rel having over 70% approval.

          My evidence is just anecdotal. I’m involved in my local AO USMNT charter and overwhelmingly people i talk to are not fans of MLS’s system. They prefer the european system or as many are now calling it the Japan way.

  9. jtm371

    November 6, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    good article take the abuse as a badge of honor.keep up the great work.

    • Dean Stell

      November 7, 2013 at 6:34 am

      It’s not really abuse. Heck….it’s just how sports discussion works.

  10. L B

    November 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Promotion and relegation apparently are the only reasons Eurosnobs watch Soccer. How exactly does that make the game exciting? How many times have Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man U, Arsenal, and Bayern Munich been relegated? Probably never. The only teams that get relegated are week or poor teams that have no aspirations of ever winning anything other than avoid relegation. There’s no parity and no hope. It will never work in America. Get used to it.

    • Cantona

      November 7, 2013 at 10:10 am

      This post here shows why the MLS crowd just doesn’t get it…


      • Jeff

        November 7, 2013 at 11:22 am

        Actually, L B is spot on. There is no competitive balance in most major European Leagues. The same teams challenge for the title year in and year out which gets quite boring after a while. There has to be a higher calling than just finishing in 17th place every year. I really question why a fan of Fulham, for example, would put up with seeing their team not win anything year after year after year with no hope of ever challenging for the top. Call me part of the MLS crowd, but there are certainly many people in high positions in European soccer who recognize that this is a problem Spain). If you do not recognize that this is a problem then you are completely blind.

        • Cantona

          November 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm

          Yeah.. Like I said The MLS crowd just doesn’t get it…


        • Bartleby

          November 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm


          that’s actually not true. Man U went on that great run because Ferguson is a genius. Now look at them.

          Look at the Serie A the last 10 years. They’ve had 5 different title winners. That’s better than MLS has done.

          La Liga is the only league that seems to be a 2 horse race.

  11. YEVON

    November 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm = Dumbest soccer site EVER.

    • Lumen

      November 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      How perfectly juvenile.

    • Smokey Bacon

      November 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Yet you are on here so what does that make you?

    • goatslookshifty

      November 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Is this Gus Johnson?

    • Frill Artist

      November 6, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Probably the MLS chairman commenting under a pseudonym.

    • Guy

      November 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Hey, thumbs up people, do us a favor and never come back. We don’t always agree with each other here, but we have more class/intelligence than to post idiotic comments like this one.

      • jtm371

        November 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm

        preaching to the choir!AMEN brother!

      • EPLNFL

        November 6, 2013 at 9:54 pm

        Good reply Guy.

    • jtm371

      November 6, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      go back and crawl under the pile of manure you crawled out from.some of the most knowledgeable people visit this site and disagree but agree to disagree.we all have an opinion deal with it and never come the hell back.:)

  12. Smokey Bacon

    November 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    When did it become MLS Apologists versus Eurosnobs? Calm down people! Most of the criticism leveled at MLS is coming from people who want to see it grow and do well. Nobody on here is out to bury MLS. It’s just that unless you are truly one sided, everyone can see the problems with MLS in its current format. All this criticism will make it a better product, trust me, assuming it falls on the right ears. Luckily, Garber’s are massive so hopefully he is listening!

    • Dean Stell

      November 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      Exactly. I’d love for MLS to improve. My point with the article isn’t even to rip MLS or say how they should improve……it’s to point out the vast challenges they face and admire the guts of people who are willing to try to excel in spite of those challenges.

      The hardcore MLS defenders are just a unique breed. If you say anything about pro/rel, the US Open Cup, Single Table, the NASL, etc. they just go nuts and can’t think straight.

    • KapUSMC

      November 7, 2013 at 11:32 am

      Smokey Bacon, I disagree with the first sentiment… Many here ARE out to bury the MLS. Those will have problems with the MLS regardless of what they do. Its a top 10 league in attendance world wide. They don’t care. There are players with caps from 45 different national teams included Argentina, Columbia, France, Ghana, Italy, Netherlands, Uruguay… They don’t care. Many other large countries don’t have a single table or play playoffs (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina) and they don’t care. The MLS has received rankings from various outlets to be in the top 10 leagues in the world. They don’t care.

      So be it. I’m thankful for MLS. After the old NASL folded I never thought I would get a chance to see players like Cahil and Henry, Donovan and Keane, or Duece, Martins, and EJ play in my home country. Since the inception of the MLS the USMNT has become a legitimate second tier team with world cup results similar to England. Dismiss the MLS if you want, but you are the one missing out. There is some pretty decent soccer getting played in your own backyard and continually getting better, but because you are finding reasons to dislike it, you are the ones missing out.

  13. Sid

    November 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Currently we have 3 main soccer leagues in the USA:
    Why? Don’t we all play the same sport? Have a new one called USASoccer with divisions of 18 teams (so 34 games). 3 up/3 down each season (ie have promotion and relegation). No salary cap.

    Yes the teams in the top division would get all the money and coverage but it would give soccer as a whole a lot more interest – plus teams in the lower leagues do have a chance to get promoted to it.

    No play off for the champion. If you win the top league you are the best. Full stop.

    The ‘powers that be’ would find all this way too radical but if their ratings (and general interest) continue to wain then surely ‘radical’ is what they need?

    • KF

      November 6, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      euronoobery at its finest!

      • Cantona

        November 7, 2013 at 10:15 am

        Please expand on how this comment is remotely “euro snobbery”

        MLS apologists stop going to every device you own to put a thumbs up/down and post some sensible dialogue … And the eurosnob comment really doesn’t bother most people I embrace it… So if your looking for a put down please get more creative.


        • EPLNFL

          November 7, 2013 at 10:55 am

          Thought we had a Euro snob moment myself.

    • Sentient

      April 26, 2016 at 10:38 am

      Can I ask you a question? Why do you think MLS hasn’t done this yet? Do you think MLS is just being rebellious towards world football? Do you think it’s just American naivete? What is in it for them to do things differently? It sounds like you just started following the league yesterday (if at all), lol. There are reasons that have been established as to why Pro/Rel hasn’t been introduced. You’re talking about soccer in a country where the majority don’t care much for the sport. A league has folded before in this country. All they’re trying to do is not have it fold again. Ince that is established and ROCK SOLID, they’ll worry about the traditional football league structure.

      This is not England. You don’t seem to be paying attention.

  14. dust

    November 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    why MLS continues to follow other american sports league configuration is beyond me. surely merging with the NASL and having a relegation / promotion format even if it is with 2 leagues would be better than the current format…the playoffs are a joke.

    Surely having a two league structure would make it more exciting, increase the quality. it feels very shortsighted and greed driven to continue ignoring NASL. I can only see a positive impact in expanding the league to more than one division….

    Can anyone come up with genuine disadvantages to expanding opportunity and competition?…

    get it done!

    • Sid

      November 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      ‘dust’ – I just posted similar. Totally agree.

  15. Sid

    November 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    MLS Kick being subscription doesn’t help either. Just how many people actually subscribe to it?

    As someone said above – a lot of people are quite a way from their ‘local’ team. Too far to get their games on local TV for free.

    If they could watch them then I actually think they’d be MORE likely to go to a few live games during the season.

    • Dean Stell

      November 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      I get the MLS Live product. It’s something like $60 for the first year, but if you let it renew automatically, it is only like $45 for the season. That’s really not bad and the app performs very well on my iPad. I watch a LOT of MLS games that way on Saturday evenings.

      The only big problem with the app is that most games that are on live TV are not shown on the app (probably due to the agreements with the broadcasters). Sometimes I’d rather watch it on the app (like on Sunday night when AMC/HBO/Showtime all have their dramas on).

      • EPLNFL

        November 6, 2013 at 9:13 pm

        MLS live is outstanding! Except for the network broadcasts live you get everything live or on-demand. Love getting home from a Fire game on a warm Saturday night and turn on the west coast game. For what you get it’s a steal.

  16. Buddy

    November 6, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Three reasons I feel sorry for the MLS hating Euro loving douchers….

    1.) You will go about your life and not enjoy the game here or probobly watch a meaningful game live becuase all you have is the TV.

    2.) People will never take you seriously but only supporting a sport not even played in this country.

    3.) You will most likely never move out of your partents basement and that is sad.

    • Cantona

      November 6, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      And the response from the eight year olds.


  17. CTBlues

    November 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    They shouldn’t get rid of the playoffs per say but they should have them during the regular season like another cup to play for. Have it take place in the later half of the season with the top however many teams they want play in it.

    Pro/rel wont happen for another 50 years minimum. If anything the current lower league will merg with MLS and the same thing will happen like with the NBA/ABA and NFL/AFL some teams will be added and the redundant teams will be tossed aside.

    MLS wont get a decent TV deal until the quality of the play improves a lot which is going to take a long time at this rate.

  18. goatslookshifty

    November 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Your first point is bang on target. It simply comes down to watching an inferior product when better games are on most of the time. Any football supporter can watch at least one live non-MLS game 4-5 days a week (provided they have the channels/stream.)I don’t blame the MLS for this but the league is what it is.
    Also…Hot humid weather = fatigued players = slower play = boring games. Good luck Miami!

  19. Frill Artist

    November 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Because the MLS is a very sh*t league with sh*t players. Have you ever tried to watch it on ESPN? Sheesh. Talk about snore inducing. I nearly passed out. Toss in the fact that our state doesn’t have a single team and it makes me care less about the league.

    For the MLS to be interesting, they should adopt a promotion/relegation style. Ditch the stupid playoffs. Besides, the top flight, there should be about three or four lower divisions due to how massive the country is. It will at least guarantee that most states have a team.

    • francis

      November 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      I think TV ratings and attendance have to be boosted before the league can consider pro/rel. Most MLS clubs would likely go belly-up if relegated to a lower tier. This isn’t like the UK where Leeds, Forest, Wolves etc can still pull 20,000 fans playing in League 1

  20. AJ

    November 6, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I agree with a lot in this article. MLS needs to look a lot more like the EPL.

    Salary cap? A lot of players have to have second or offseason jobs. That’s makes MLS equal to the Skrill North or South League.

    The country is too big but we tried having a war to break it into 2 pieces. That didn’t go over well. Make 32 clubs so you match the NFL. 16 teams in 2 leagues and have promotion and relegation.

    My idea from the previous paragraph helps scheduling. You can have 30 games. On European type schedule that gives you time to make up games that get called off for weather.

    Although I know people don’t like playoffs the top division should at least have a championship game, and promotion should be done with a 1-off game.

  21. Stephen

    November 6, 2013 at 10:43 am

    One of the things MLS gets right is not following the anachronistic away goals rule for two legged ties. I wish UEFA would adopt this. I love watching the MLS Cup playoffs, but until I have a truly local team to support that’s the only time I’ll be watching.

    • AtlantaPompey

      November 6, 2013 at 10:48 am

      Local teams generate support. When Atlanta has a team, which is rumored to be in the not to distant future, I will pay attention. Until then, I have no real interest in the league. I will attend and watch the Silverbacks and whatever interests me on tv.

      • EPLNFL

        November 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm


        No problem with you supporting your local team no matter what the division they play in. In fact that”s the way it should be. I wish I had more time to spend watching the lower divisions but as the author points out after a day of EPL, etc action my evening’s are tied up with MLS.

        Beyond that I am in complete disagreement with the author. Has the size of the US & Canada hurt the development of the NFL, NHL, or NBA. Think not.

        While yes it does get hot in the summer months most teams play at night in the summer which means fans get to be outside and enjoy the great weather at the Park which in most cases are new stadiums.

        Those days that I can wake up to the EPL and go to sleep with a late night for match from the Pacific Northwest are my best days as a fan. Again this can only happen in America. And those of us in North America love real road trips to games. We have great crowds from KC, Columbus, Toronto to see their teams play the Fire. I only wish St. Louis or Indy had a MLS team. When Atlanta gets a MLS team I hope Paul has a place for me to stay with him when the Fire are in town because I’m there!

        Please forgive me but I suspect the author has a motivation to stop MLS in it’s tracks before it becomes a top 3 world league.

        Also I can not wait to see the Fire in Orlando and do a Disney trip at the same time.

        • Dean Stell

          November 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm

          The difference for NFL, MLB, etc. is that they weren’t trying to build a league while superior football, baseball, basketball was being shoveled in front of their potential fans. MLS is a wonderful LIVE product. It isn’t great on TV. And for many Americans MLS will never be anything but a TV product. And if it’s just a TV product and they have no local connection to the clubs because they’re hundreds of miles away, why not just want a better brand of soccer?? I’m not pointing this out to say “MLS sucks”……I’m just saying that they have a difficult road ahead.

          With NFL, even if you don’t have a local team or you choose to support a team from another region, it isn’t like you’re distracted by the far superior football broadcasts coming in from Germany or Russia. The NFL is the best. It will always demand eyeballs. Ditto for NBA and MLB.

    • Cantona

      November 6, 2013 at 11:57 am

      No away Love the away goals rule!!! Forget that Guardian piece that was written. You have much more attacking play and excitement with the away goals rule.


      • Michael

        November 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        I’ve always been of the opinion that the away goals rule makes teams play more defensive.

        • Evan

          November 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm

          Agreed. I would love to see FIFA ditch the away goal rule entirely.

          • Cantona

            November 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm

            Aren’t you too busy watching MLS…

            You should look at the history of the games in the knockout stages… Not defensive


  22. AtlantaPompey

    November 6, 2013 at 10:37 am

    They are losing the TV war and I don’t see them winning it ever. The money to develop the league has to come from somewhere, but it won’t be TV anytime soon.

    The country is way too large, geographically, for our leagues to resemble anything in Europe. We can’t send 1,000 fans across the country for a big match. That hurts the atmosphere at matches. There is not a solution to that one. Supporting your local team, right now, probably means a semi-pro team, maybe a NASL team. Tough to swallow, but if you support them, they could grow into something relevant. Let’s hope so.

    We can’t have promotion and relegation with so few teams. Also, I keep seeing articles popping up about how the Premier League wants to get rid of it. They also talk about some sort of salary structure or cap. The financial rules in place in Europe are an attempt to level the playing field, which is what a salary cap is for, in addition to not allowing teams to spend themselves into non-existence, like the old NASL.

    We are comparing a league that is not quite twenty years old in a country with a wealth of sports available both live and on tv to countries where they play and watch one sport. The well established leagues and sports in this country aren’t going away, nor is their dominance of television.

    Give MLS a generation or two more and it will be a well-respected league. Will it ever be the best league in the world? Probably not.

    • Cantona

      November 6, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Not enough teams? MLS should merge with the A league and NASL… Have relegation, it would create excitement…MLS doesn’t want to chance losing revenue so I don’t see it happening any time soon. But if they really wanted football to succeed in the USA this HAS to be done. Do away with the idiotic playoffs, play a balanced schedule home and away. Until this is done most football fans see this as an Americanized watered down product.


      • Smokey Bacon

        November 6, 2013 at 3:11 pm

        Amen brother Cantona!

  23. Tony Butterworth

    November 6, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Good points. It’s a little similar to how TV is blacked out to get people to go the games. In this case you’d have to blackout all the TV coverage of world soccer LOL.

    At this point there’s not much they can do except wait for the World League and set up a few franchises.

  24. peter

    November 6, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Dean… if after all this time and well thought out research and reporting on why, “…can’t they just adopt promotion/relegation like the rest of the world? Why can’t they just have a single table with a balanced schedule?”

    then you’re not paying attention.

    • Dean Stell

      November 6, 2013 at 11:52 am

      The point isn’t to tell MLS what to do. I’m just pointing out that they have a terribly difficult job in front of them. Even if I don’t always agree with what they’re doing, I can still appreciate the Herculean task they are undertaking…

      • Harry Cee

        November 7, 2013 at 10:38 am

        Dean I read through it and TBH, this does sound more like a whine or a rant than it does having some legitimate concerns. 1. The TV war. You DO realize in the US there are at least 4 other major sports that hem in on the MLS. But with NBC taking over, ratings have gotten a bit better especially now since the EPL is in the fold and many are reporting that business is good ( it’s not something that’s going to change over night but it’s getting there.

        2. You can say the same thing about the NFL, which since you live in NC, think of how long it took before they finally got an NFL franchise, and even still how long does it take for you to get to a Panthers game? Everybody can’t have everything.

        3. The weather? Come on, it’s a given and I think many would rather attend games when it’s a bit warmer than they would when it’s freezing.

        You gave an argument but not too compelling.

        • Dean Stell

          November 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm

          I appreciate the conversation. Obviously, I’m not an MLS supporter, but if I’d wanted to be pissy about it, the article could have been worded more strongly.

          You do raise an interesting point about the NFL. But, I think it is different. My point is that MLS is probably a fabulous live product. I LOVE my local USL-PDL team. Where I think MLS suffers is when you put it on TV because then you compare it to other “TV leagues” and it starts to pale. And because a fan 6 hours away has no local tie to the MLS team, they might lose interest. NFL doesn’t have that problem. There aren’t 5+ better American football leagues competing for eyeballs and diminishing the NFL’s product.

          The weather is just another example of weirdness the league has to deal with. I’m honestly not sure what they should do. I tend to think it would make more sense to break up MLS into divisions that play a regional schedule based on the local weather and then let the winners meet in the playoffs.

  25. Faithless

    November 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Good read. MLS is still too different than regular football. Stupid rules, playoffs, playing during international breaks, weird scheduling. I just can’t be bothered.

    • Evan

      November 6, 2013 at 10:42 am

      you sound a lot like a football elitist. the lower leagues in England all play during international breaks. Does that mean they don’t play “regular football”?

      Also what are these “stupid rules” that MLS plays with? To be honest, you sound like someone who has never given MLS a chance and will believe whatever negative opinion is said about the league.

      • AtlantaPompey

        November 6, 2013 at 10:47 am

        Brazil plays during international breaks.

      • David

        November 8, 2013 at 8:49 am

        agreed. There are really only 1 “stupid” rule I can think of. Using temporary spray paint to mark the spot for a free kick and the 10 yard range. If you’ve seen it then you know its brilliant and every league should adopt it. So yeah, thats as stupid as you can get.

    • Faithless

      November 6, 2013 at 11:42 am

      Ok. I guess your a MLS apologist and don’t know the history of YOUR league and it’s crazy rules… Shootouts, golden goal regular season games, countdown clocks…. Totally alienated real football fans. Now you have a schedule that is not equal or fair and out of 19 teams 10 make “the playoffs”. So yes why the hell would I watch this? Especially in a regular season… Ok I’ll wait till the playoffs, so I can watch a American football field line with orange lines, yeah that’s appealing. Or watch a game on the international break when 3/4 of your players are from the MLS and are missing. Your championship argument doesn’t work.

      • Evan

        November 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm

        “Shootouts, golden goal regular season games, countdown clocks”

        None of those exist today. You know that, right?

        If we’re talking about the history of leagues, let’s talk about the English top flight was marred by hooliganism, or the match fixing scandal in Serie A, or the complete dominance by only a couple teams in La Liga. Not every league is perfect.

        It seems like the only point you’re trying to make is say how terrible MLS is. Which is understandable coming from a Eurosnob like you.

        At the end of the day, I just like watching football and I won’t dismiss an entire league just because they play with football lines on the pitch a couples times a year.

      • Faithless

        November 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm

        Euro snob … Yawn

        You have a third rate league at best, that is nothing more than the footballs equivalent to a retirement community. Until it can have a fair basic schedule correct ie play teams home/away and remove playoff system… Which is totally alien to true sawker fans you have nothing more than Americas version of the worlds game… ThAts why most people dislike it

      • KapUSMC

        November 7, 2013 at 10:29 am

        None of the rules mentioned even exist. Agreed on the international breaks. That needs to change.

        • Faithless

          November 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

          I know the rules currently don’t exist.. The point I’m trying to get over is that from day one MLS has alienated football fans with its decisions and the stupid playoff system that is in place today devalues the regular season.. So why would regular football fans watch this… Take that along with the quality , games in American football stadiums… It’s Americanized to where most football fans don’t want to watch it

  26. Scott

    November 6, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Once all the stadiums are sold out for entire season, then TV ratings will go up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Leagues: MLS

Translate »