MLS 2008 - where it's soccer, not football!

Discussion in 'Sports and Fitness' started by Nerroth, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hi!


    It's not too long to go before this season of Major League Soccer - the top pro soccer league in Canada and the United States - kicks off...

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    ...although, for two MLS teams, the season has started early!


    MLS started up in the aftermath of the very successful 1994 World Cup, which did a lot to help reinvigorate interest in Northern America for the beautiful game - and has already come a long way in the past decade and a bit.

    After starting off having to play in oversized American football stadia and try to find their footings, MLS has already managed to get half of the team into new soccer-specific stadia, such as Toyota Park in Chicago, BMO Field in Toronto and the Home Depot Center in California - home to David Beckham's Los Angeles Galaxy and also to Chivas USA, the sister club to the legendary CD Guadalajara of Mexico.

    Indeed, this year will see a new stadium go live near the end of the year, out in Salt Lake City, while New York's Red Bull Park is also being constructed and should be ready by 2009 or so.

    Although, it is in New Jersey, so one can argue over whether they really count as a New York team!



    My two favoured sides are looking to do well this season:

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    Toronto FC made a big impact in the city, despite having a poor inaugural season last year (not helped by the use of their home stadium for the FIFA U-20 World Cup last summer) and look to improve their fortunes in '08.

    Notably, as a Canadian side ineligible for qualification to CONCACAF tournaments through the MLS directly, Toronto will have their own mini-tournament to look forward to this summer, as they play against the Montréal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps (two teams from the lague just below MLS, both looking for eventual MLS berths of their own) - with the winner going on to represent Canada at the inaugural CONCACAF Champions' League near the end of the year!

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, D.C. United have already gotten their season up and running - with their participation in the CONCACAF Champions' Cup (the tournament which will be replaced by the new Champions' League later this year) already underway (they drew 1-1 in Kingston, Jamaica against Harbour View, and hope to press for a win and a pass to the semis at home in RFK) - and with back-to-back Supporters' Shields (the prize won by the team which tops the regular season, and one of the top tickets for qualification to international tourneys, alongside the MLS Cup won in the playoffs) they will be looking to equal, or better, this achievement in the quest for MLS silverware.

    Plus, with a berth already secured in the new CONCACAF Champions' League to look forward to at the end of the season, DC have it all to play for.


    So, is anyone else here looking forward to the new season - or maybe would like to consider getting in on the action?

    I for one will be saying Give us something to Believe, TFC... and Vamos United!
     
  2. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

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    I don't really follow the MLS, but it is nice that San Jose has the Earthquakes back. Hope they do well.
     
  3. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They're looking to lock in a deal for a new soccer-specific stadium in SJ, too - should be interesting.


    Apparently, they want to call it the Epicenter...
     
  4. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

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    How appropriate. :lol:
     
  5. Nobody

    Nobody Commodore Commodore

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    I never got into the MLS even though I'm a soccer fan. I'd like too (like I'd also like to get into some oversea leagues -- that's right, I'm staring you down cable!) but I always seem to miss most the games and by the time I start watching, I don't care. Also, whenever I do turn it on the announcer shuffle between praising the level that the MLS has risen and how it's inferior to the rest of the world. While I know it is, no need to constantly remind me I'm watching crappy soccer.

    -nobody
     
  6. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, I see it as being the first generation of what will hopefully become a very successful league.


    Think of it - the other professional leagues in Northern America were once fledgling organisations, too, as were the leagues in Europe and Latin America.

    How many fans of NFL or MLB teams would have loved to have been there when the game, and their favoured teams, were only just starting to make their claims to fame - when the legendary players and side that fans look back to with pride nowadays were in their prime?


    MLS is still in its developmental stage, and it has a lot to go, but it has come a long way already.

    And to those who are fans of the league now, you will be able to look back decades from now, and say with pride that you were there to see it all happen.


    Well, assuming the league actually works out the way I hope it will, of course!


    And as far as coverage goes, word is that the CBC coverage of Toronto FC beats most of the English-language US MLS coverage by a wide margin - though maybe with time things will pick up in that regard, too.
     
  7. Nobody

    Nobody Commodore Commodore

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    TV coverage of soccer is horrible -- it's quite obvious it's not a US game. Announcers keep trying to draw comparisons to a more popular sport and it falls flat. US Sports TV hasn't found a way to cover soccer in a way that fits the rhythm of the game and the demands of commercial TV. There doesn't seem to be to much of a push to figure it out either, as the MLS isn't that commercially viable right now.

    I agree that it's a fledgling league -- and if I ever remember to watch it I will. I just wish the actual in-game announcers wouldn't remind of how much it sucks right now.


    -nobody
     
  8. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In that case, either see about checking out the Canadian coverage on CBC (if you can find it being streamed anywhere)...

    ...or go to your local team's stadium (who would be your local side, by the way?) and dispense with the commentary by watching the game in person.


    And soccer is a Canadian and US game as much as it is anyone's around the world - it just needs time to reach that critical mass, before it can really hit its stride.
     
  9. Nobody

    Nobody Commodore Commodore

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    No local team for me -- which is part of the problem, I can only follow it via television. The closest team is in Columbus (I'm in metro-Detroit) and it's not quite as easy to pick up and go see a game there. :)

    I have moved to an area where I get CBC, so I am excited to check out their coverage. If it's subpar, I'll hold you responsible. ;)

    I agree with that soccer has the potential to be a major sport in Canada and US, my comment was specifically geared to that it's not a big US sport at the moment. Giving in to some of the subpar soccer coverage among the networks. Soccer has been on the verge of being the next "big thing" in the US for awhile now. It's never been able to get over that hump. Anecdotally, I know several people who view it as a sport of privilege -- that is rich white kids -- and not a game of the people. Ironic, because elsewhere in the world it is a "game of the people" and not of the elite. Once it can break that barrier in the US, it will go big.

    -nobody
     
  10. Ruaidhri

    Ruaidhri Commodore Commodore

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    Ruaidhri...Toronto in body, Philly in spirit!
    I was thinking of starting an MLS thread myself, so thanks Nerroth. Incidentally, I follow the same two teams, having been a United fan from day one and living now in Toronto.

    Completely agreed in the quality of CBC's TFC coverage. Really outstanding, and better than anything I've seen on ESPN or ABC. Too bad Craig Forrest won't be back this year, but as long as Nigel Reed is in the booth it should remain palatable.

    I watched the United-Harbour View game on Fox Sportsworld Canada last Wednesday, and that was some of the worst commentating I've ever heard. With the game itself it was nice to finally see all the new players DC brought in during the off season. Going to miss Christian Gomez at A-Mid, and I hope that Gallardo finds himself before too long. He plays WAY farther back than Gomez did and holds the ball a lot more. Emilio last year hit his stride about a third of the season in, hopefully Gallardo is quicker to adapt.

    I think the best changes are around the defense. Looks a ton steadier. So I'm looking forward to the home leg against Harbour View, where I imagine that Soehn will have the team attacking more.

    I also wanted to comment on how great it is that Philly is finally getting a team, to start play in 2010. My avatar is actually the logo of the supporters group-- the Sons of Ben--that started last year in a grassroots effort to show how much support a team would get. So I expect to be a fan of no less than 3 MLS teams. My heart will sort it all out once they play each other.

    And I agree... vamos United!
     
  11. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Nobody - Well, if you live in That-Place-Across-From-Windsor, you could always cheer for TFC!

    You could then enter the irony of having Nobody cheer for one of the most well-supported teams in MLS!


    Ruaidhri - Hopefully, the second leg at RFK tomorrow will give us a better indication of the team's form, but so long as they can squeak through and get ready for the semis, it will be good enough.

    And here we go:

    ¡Vamos!
    ¡Vamos! ¡United!
    ¡Esta noche!
    ¡¡Tenemos que ganar!!
     
  12. Jax

    Jax Admiral Admiral

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    Does anyone know how I can watch LA Galaxy games, I would like to keep an eye on Beckham but U.S soccer not really shown in the UK.
     
  13. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Aside from what games MLS' own website may show this season, this might help.

    Bear the time difference in mind, though - while games in Toronto or D.C. would be five (four until Ireland and the UK move the clocks next) hours behind, games over in L.A. will be eight (seven pre-clock-change) hours behind!
     
  14. Jax

    Jax Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Is it free to watch matches on MLS.
     
  15. Nobody

    Nobody Commodore Commodore

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    I think I will just because of that last line. :lol:

    Hopefully, my MLS watching is better this year -- I'm really banking on the CBC for that. Go Canada!

    So weird to say that. :p


    -nobody
     
  16. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    On that site, yes - on MLS' own site, it depends.

    Yay!


    Update from the CCC - D.C. win 5-0 at RFK (which looks great, by the way) and we'll know who they will face in the semis after Pachuca play their quarter tomorrow evening.


    Double yay!
     
  17. Ruaidhri

    Ruaidhri Commodore Commodore

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    Wow, Harbour View showed the ball skills of a three-legged dog. Once they got down by two they really stopped playing defense, and left that poor keeper on his own.

    But boy, loved that volley by Gallardo off the free kick in the first half. He's gonna fit in nicely! Looks likely to be Pachuca next; tough opponent, but I've heard that they haven't been as strong in the MFL this year, so who knows.

    And a word of warning to anyone looking to get the subscription to MLS' web streaming: it's cheap to get, but of very poor quality, and in the past it hasn't shown any games that are televised nationally in the US; I haven't looked at LAG's schedule, but odds are that the marketing machine has Becks in a lot of national games.
     
  18. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Go, New England Revolution! :D

    I'm only recently getting into soccer, myself (though even before I started really liking the game, I always got pumped up for the World Cup, for some reason), but I really hope MLS continues to expand and succeed. It'd be great if the US started showing more love for the world's most popular sport.

    I think if the United States ever wins the World Cup (I know that's a tall order, but it's not impossible, especially since we seem to have improved a great deal over the last couple of decades), soccer's popularity would explode here.
     
  19. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Revs fan, eh?


    You might like this (poorly-put-together) idea, then:

    [​IMG]


    Not that I support either team, mind you...
     
  20. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I gotta support my hometown team. :techman: