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

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

  1. TheArsenal

    TheArsenal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If only they had more worthwhile players to fill the shirts. Watched the season opener on Saturday and have not seen such a woeful, uninspired display from the Galaxy in perhaps ... well ... ever, actually. After they went two goals down heads dropped and you could see them give up. Lack of quality aside, this is obviously a team already burned out from a never ending pre-season of parading Backs around the globe, not to mention LD and DB's useless midweek Euro friendlies. It also goes to show you what happens when you burn your salary cap on three attacking players (Donovan, Becks, Ruiz) - it leaves precious little money for quality around the rest of the pitch as evidenced in the mediocre and pedestrian midfield and old slow back line. Abel Xavier may provide experience, but his complete lack of pace is forcing him into making rash decisions and equally rash penalties. Teams with pace are going to run past him all day long.

    Based on what I saw Saturday, the gap between LAG and the Revolution - or even Houston for that matter - is a big as any I've seen. It's going to be a long season.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2008
  2. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Shame about United - it's an irony that even after flying back from Hidalgo, they will still have a proverbial mountain to climb next week...


    ...nevertheless, I hope they can shake off the early-season jitters, get their act together, and take the fight to Pachuca in RFK!
     
  3. Ruaidhri

    Ruaidhri Commodore Commodore

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    Looks like Moreno will be fit for the return leg, but still no Ben Olsen. As good as MacTavish has looked (in spurts) so far this year they really need Benny's heart and leadership back on the field.

    Steven Goff reports as well that Pachuca is going to have a deeper roster, too, so it's actually a wash or advantage to the Mexican side. Alas!
     
  4. The Habs Fan

    The Habs Fan Commodore Commodore

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    Toronto FC has signed Laurent Robert and he's not even filling their DP slot.

    It'll be interesting to see how he does in the MLS.
     
  5. TheArsenal

    TheArsenal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    San Jose comes to the Home Depot tonight. Adding to LAG's problems: forward Carlos Ruiz had arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday and will be out four to six weeks.
     
  6. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Ugh. Just found out that Taylor Twellman's probably going to miss 6-8 weeks. :scream:
     
  7. crookeddy

    crookeddy Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    [LEFT]GALAXY WON A GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    [/LEFT]
     
  8. KLOEN

    KLOEN Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, well.. I hope MLS fails miserably!! ;)


    ..'cause long term-wise, a lot of us Europeans are shit scared of the potential in the States. I mean, I'm from Denmark, and we do allright internationally speaking, with a single team who's recognized abroad. But we're only 5 million people so.. Once you guys get football (yes, I refuse to call it soccer :p) under your skin you'll have such a gigantic player potential that it'll blow the rest of us away.
    20 years from now, I bet you that the US wil be a team regularly seen in the final 4.

    So yay for you guys, keep it going and enjoy the game. :techman:

    Oh, and yay for my team F.C. København (Copenhagen), continental Europe's oldest club founded in 1876! http://www.fck.dk/english/news/

    We've even got a Canadian on board! Atiba Hutchinson:
    [​IMG]
     
  9. TheArsenal

    TheArsenal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And Beckham gets his first MLS goal. The team overall looked livelier and more organized, particularly in the back, than the woeful display in Colorado. Nothing to write home about, but job done in any case.
     
  10. The Habs Fan

    The Habs Fan Commodore Commodore

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    I think that soccer will have a tough time reaching the masses in the States. Canada, on the other hand, is really embracing soccer. Look at the success of the Toronto FC and the U20 World Cup. Soccer is becoming big in Canada. All Canada needs is better organizational standards in their soccer program so that our international team can get better. The CSA should take a page out of Hockey Canada.
     
  11. Nobody

    Nobody Commodore Commodore

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    Watched the first half of the Galaxy game last night. The Galaxy looked like they were enjoying themselves, especially Beckham, after all I've read about his miserable first season it must be a relief for him to be playing well early.

    I think soccer has the potential to reach the masses, but it will take awhile. The MLS is gaining in popularity, but slowly. Once they can break the stigma of soccer and the MLS, they should go big. I think in 5-10 years you'll see soccer really catch on. Unless the MLS and soccer takes a horrible hit -- steroids -- that kills any momentum it currently has.

    Does anyone know if participation in high school soccer in the US has increased? I think this is where most kids lose interest, choosing one of the big 3 sports due to cultural influences, scholarships and the perceived chance to go pro.


    -nobody
     
  12. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    United beat TFC 4-1 at RFK - I was wearing my TFC jersey for the first half, and felt less than great...

    ...then, for fairness' sake, I put on the United jersey at half-time.

    Suddenly I felt a little better.


    But in any event, the real deal is going to be on tomorrow night - with Pachuca coming to RFK for the CCC semi-final second leg.

    I can only hope that D.C. get the same kind of start that they had at the weekend, though I suspect the going will be somewhat tougher.


    Also, the Houston Dynamo fly to Costa Rica for the second match against Saprissa - after blowing their chances to get a win at home last week, Dynamo will have their work cut out in trying to beat DS at home in what is considered to be one of CONCACAF's most imposing home atmospheres.
     
  13. Quo Vadimus

    Quo Vadimus Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I watched that Fire game last Thursday. Yikes, the Revs went down both in score and in players way too early in that one. :eek:

    As for Beckham's first MLS goal, good for him. Here's hoping the guy actually gets to play healthy this year.

    I am looking forward to the England-USA game. Here's hoping our team plays well, regardless of the final score.
     
  14. KLOEN

    KLOEN Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm curious, how's the fan culture in the MLS shaping up?
     
  15. sttngfan1701d

    sttngfan1701d Commodore Commodore

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    That's one of the areas where MLS is lacking in my opinion. Fan culture and TRADITION, being the other. Both of those take time to build and the league has only been around for 13 years or whatever, but I'm not so sure that it's gonna happen in the "European way."

    I look at bits and pieces of games and you see fans with flags in the crowd, some groups bouncing up and down in the stands, some fans try to chant or sing but it doesn't catch on and dies out, to be replaced again by the incessant horns. Contrast that with the utter wall of noise you're greeted with at places like Anfield, Ibrox, Old Trafford, the San Siro....it just doesn't compare. Not even to NFL games.

    I don't know if "soccer" will catch on here. For the past decade we've had the grassroots growth of the game, but the talent has yet to fully blossom into truly world-class players. One day it might. As was said upthread, the talent pool would be massive, but only if more and more kids felt "soccer" was the way to go instead of the NBA, MLB, or NFL.

    But it doesn't help when people as a whole still haven't taken to the sport. Baseball aside, Americans have an obsession with fast, offensive-minded sports. And "soccer" can be that way, but not like it's played here. We play it in the South American/Spanish style, with an emphasis on buildup, possession and ball control. That results in, more often than not, a slower-paced game. So you still have most Americans view the sport as "boring," even though baseball moves at a snail's pace in comparison.

    And the sports analysts don't help. Take Beckham's first MLS goal. They're all talking like he finally proved his worth, and how Americans were getting fed up with the hype and whatever. It's as if they don't understand that Beckham is a 33-year old guy who's lost his speed. He can still provide pinpoint passes, crosses, and deadball accuracy, but he's a midfield player, not a striker. And at 33 he's no Christiano Ronaldo, so it's not like he's gonna score 35+ times a year. But that's what the majority of people expected. They expected him to light this league on fire.

    And it's still a mediocre league, in which players like Juan Pablo Angel can tear up the pitch and score like it's out of style, while in England he was so-so.

    They've made some changes, like FINALLY implementing a proper table system a few years ago, that makes things better. I think that it would also be better if they figure out some way to have an "Americas Champions League." Do they have something like that already? I think it would vastly improve the quality of the club football in this country, and it would add another dimension to the game, and more prestige. It would get fans noticing.
     
  16. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's called the CONCACAF Champions' League - due to take over from the current Champions' Cup in late 2008.


    And you do the fans of both D.C. United and Toronto FC a great disservice by dismissing their efforts at creating a good sense of atmosphjere for their home games (and in TFC's case, the efforts they make on the road - sending 2400 fand to Columbus for this year's opening match! Unheard of for MLS, but a great step to take.)

    United's faithful do as good a job as they can with the stadium they currently have - and would be right at home in the soccer-specific stadium that they want built at Poplar Point! - plus BMO Field could have ten thousand more seats and still be likely to fill them to home and away fans, and still be the envy of most of the league in terms of home fan support.


    And quite frankly, while MLS can learn what it can from both European and Latin American leagues for inspiration (and if you think that MLS' division between a regular season and playoffs is a problem, La Primera División de México and others in Spanish-speaking LatAm countries have what amounts to two seasons a year!) it should not be afraid to accept the aspects of the game in Canada and the United States that make Major League Soccer unique.
     
  17. KLOEN

    KLOEN Commander Red Shirt

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    While I'll probably get pounded on by my friends if they ever read this post, I think you're right.
    The MLS, both the the teams and the fans, should grab ony whatever works for them from the European and South American football traditions, and then find out the rest out on their own. Seriously, I believe that these things develop on their own, and they need to not be forced, or people will just turn their back on it.
    In Europe we've got numerous examples. In my country not that many years ago, a club got a sweet sponsorship, so they decided they needed to "beef" up the fans. The creative staff hired by the club came up with a name, designed shirts and everything, and kinda just figured that of course tha fans would love. They didn't. Not at all.. See, these things need to come into existence on their own accord.

    At some point 30-50 guys will start waving banners, and singing songs at every match, calling themselves "Galaxy Growlers" or whatever. This will spark interest among another teams fans, they'll try to compete and that way it'll grow. At least that's how it happens over here.

    The sports sections of the various newspapers also grade the fans' effort, and it is common belief that great fans count as the 12th player, having that much of an impact on the both the home and the visiting team.

    The fans of the various clubs compete in loyalty, creativity regarding songs and banners, and on the various homepages new songs are put out for download so they can be practised.
    So if you guys want this in the MLS, it's gotta grow on it's own, and it's gotta be your way, or else it wil surely be rejected. Alot of the European countries have fairly similar fan cultures, but we've also been playing international club football for many, many years - so the best teams are measured against the best teams from other countries. Geographically speaking, you guys really don't have that many "easy" opportunities for international matches on club level. So you've gotta go your own way, as long as it's compatible with FIFA standards.

    One thing though, how do you guys feel it affects the MLS that there's no qualifying and relegation system in place?
    I believe this is one of the things that really hones competition, so that every year teams playing like crap are shit-scared of not making the cut, and having to spend the entire next year in a lower division. This also means that the best teams of the second best division really have something to fight for, trying to make it into the top division.

    Could this work in the States? Or do you only have the MLS, and no second best league?
     
  18. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    There's the USL (United Soccer Leagues) First Division, which has teams in both the US and Canada, but I'm not sure if that's considered MLS' second-tier. I remember hearing mention of the possibility of Montreal's USL team being "promoted" to the MLS within the next couple of years.
     
  19. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    D.C. United came close to overturning the deficit in the second leg against Pachuca last night - winning the game 2-1 - but still lost 3-2 on aggregate.

    However, the team looked like they can build upon what is still the early days for their season, and go on to win glory in 2008!


    An injury-prone Dynamo got hammered 3-0 in Costa Rica by Saprissa, though - Saprissa and Pachuca square off in the Champions' Cup final at the end of April.


    It's happening right now.

    Sounds like the furore which sprang up when Red Bull bought SV Austria Salzburg and the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and turned them into walking billboards for their brand.

    Neither was quite a popular move.

    That's been happening from the outset - D.C. United have several groups of ultras, such as La Barra Brava and the Screaming Eagles, while Toronto FC have the Red Patch Boys, Galaxy have the likes of the Galaxians and the Angel City Brigade...

    ...and the Philadelphia team has had their supporters' group, the Sons of Ben, for years - even before the city was awarded their franchise, and before the team even starts playing (in 2010)!

    There's at least one ultra per team, but United and TFC lead the pack as far as home fan support goes.


    As I said earlier:

    Also, there is SuperLiga, which started last year, and which will start this year in July - it has 4 teams from both MLS and the PDM contest for a million-dollar prize (no laughing matter for any team in Canada, the US or Mexico) and the right to call themselves the best team in the region (as opposed to the best team in North America as a whole, which would go to the winner of the CCC/CCL.)

    Plus, the CONCACAF trophies have been hotly contested by Mexican and Central American teams for decades - so MLS teams are taking part in a tournament which has had plenty of history of its own.

    MLS is run as a single-entity - esentially all of the teams and the MLS head office form one big company.

    Essentially, it share the kind of 'major league' structure which the NHL, NFL ,NBA and MLB have used for a long time - and considering what MLS is up against, and the kind of carefully-planned strategy it needs to ultimaely thrive, it is best suited to take on the twin challenges of both competing alongside the older major leagues in Northern America, and in trying to stake a claim on a hemispheric and worldwide soccer stage.

    It is the way it is - and it's better to be like that then risk seeing the same thing that happened to the NASL - where there was no salary cap and no single ownership, and while the Cosmos were front-page news, and regional rivalries developed an endurance which lasted to the present day (such as that between the Cascadian rivals in Vancouver, Seattle and Portland) the league as a whole ultimately fell apart.

    MLS is not interested in being next to fall any time soon.


    And I see it in a different way - teams can plan longer-term, as regards building upon their squads, or re-working their mistakes, because they are at less risk of collapse as part of a single-entity league.

    I want all MLS teams to be competitive.

    And to be honest, I prefer it this way - the single-entity means that no team can buy its way to domination, and the balance in the system means that the winning teams earn their honours by their on-field accomplishments, and not because they have a richer bollionaire in charge than anyone else.



    It's considered the next division down from MLS in Canada and the US, but there is no pro/rel. They are run separately, but both fall under the remit of the United States Soccer Federation (and have clubs which fall under that of the Canadian Soccer Association).

    However, there is the likes of the US Open Cup, which has teams from both divisions compete against each other - and in Canada, there is a new three-team tourney between the MLS' Toronto FC and USL-1's Montréal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps, in which the winner goes on to take Canada's place in the Champions' League.

    Both the Impact and Whitecaps want into MLS - but it's a case of getting the right bid together, for the league to accept them as expansion franchises. Montréal have a good start, with two very rich backers pushing for membership, and a brand-new home ground just beside the old Olympic stadium which can be easily expanded to MLS standards - and pre-existing and passionate fans of the Impact who would turn out in numbers for a Montréal MLS team.

    The Whitecaps also want in, to follow both their counterparts in Toronto and their fierce rivals down in Seattle (who start in MLS in 2009) but have red tape to clear with the new Waterfront stadium they want built in downtown Vancouver before they can make the final push for a bid.


    In both cases, the two teams have competition from American cities who also want to host MLS franchises (some of which have no pre-existing USL-1 team, and would be starting from scratch).
     
  20. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Admiral Admiral

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    I read an interesting trip report a while ago by a guy who travelled to the US and watched a couple matches there. He didn't expect to see any kind of european style support, and his expectation was mostly correct, but among the clubs he saw, was also Portland Timbers, a team that doesn't even play in the MLS, and he was very much impressed with the support there. And from what I understand they usually also have good attendance at their games. He also said, that the Portland fans he talked to, said, that besides them and the fans of the MLS clubs in Chicago and Washington, there isn't much of that going on in the US though.

    So yes, I agree, that it's possible for the fans of MLS teams to adopt that part of football culture, but there's a lot of opposition to that too. And even in Europe the tendency in many leagues goes in the direction of eliminating the kind of people who engage in serious support from the games...