Forums / The Terrace: Casual Footy Banter
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MLS: Making Progress
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 5 years ago
The summer friendlies have made it apparent that the MLS still has a long way to go if it ever wants to be near the level of European football. But this MLS season has been one of the best and most entertaining I can ever remember. It has produced some absolutely cracking, cracking goals and the play seems to be better throughout the league. The most encouraging sign to me though, is the loyal, crazy fan bases of the northwest they are nuts up there, which is awesome for the league. Intense rivalries, real passion, sold out stadiums every match it's fantastic. There is a mutual and strong hatred between Portland and Seattle, which isn't good for diplomacy but it's great for football and the MLS. Makes for super matches as well. It's really too bad Seattle had to get thrashed by United, because they were scoring late goals in the league riding their momentum and climbing up the table. Their fans are super, but my favorite are Portland. Their stadium only holds 18000 or something but they cause a real ruckus sounds like there are 50000. They are always behind their team have a great atmosphere and are full of classy songs and chants.

There's their home opener

And if a big European club comes to Portland, I think you will see all Timbers fans, and few if any fans of the big club.

Chicago and Philadelphia have had more respectable performances against United and Madrid. They are just friendlies, and it's tough to know how hard each team is playing. The MLS teams should be firing on all cylinders because it's the middle of the season but they don't want to put to much into the match and have no energy for the game they have to play, which has implications, a couple days after. Also having unlimited substitutions hugely favors the big European clubs.

There is still a long way to go for the MLS but it is coming along. Teams seem to have better passing movement and the matches are way more entertaining to watch than in the past. I think it will only keep growing as well as more international players get involved in the league, and the youth systems hopefully grow, or start to exist haha. MLS has produced some good products, but college athletics is an interesting difference between America and the rest of the world. Dempsey sticks out the most to me, a player with sublime skill and the heart of a champion. One of my favorite players in the world, leading goal scorer for Fulham since it has been the premiere league and was voted player of the season by Fulham fans last season. Landon Donovan made a huge impact when he was at Everton, but failed in Germany a few times and may never go to Europe, which is a plus if your an MLS fan I guess. Great for the national team though, classy Donovan. Altidore has never done well in Europe, but just signed with AZ Alkmaar and could prove himself. Tim Howard is established and considered to be one of the best goal keepers in the world. Dempsey sticks out to me though, what a player. Brian McBride is probably the best striker the MLS has ever produced, though Juan Agudelo could fill that role in the near future. Can't hurt to be playing alongside Thierry Henry. Love the story of Charlie Davies as well, but quite the opposite of an MLS product haha, this is his first season in the league. Great American striker, I hope he gets his call up to the national team soon, got to stop diving though Charlie. I was reading somewhere that MLS has never produced a player like a Chicarito, like the Mexican league did. True I wouldn't argue that, but I think it can, Agudelo could be a superstar one day.

So there are a lot of positives. The all star game is a little ridiculous, should be entertaining I guess though. I think it would benefit the league to drop the playoffs, combine east and west and just have a table topper system as well as relegation. But that is probably 5 or 10 years off, all that can happen is that the league continues to grow. And if kids see the matches and get inspired to go out and play in the parks and the streets and the fields, it is doing really well

Some of my favorite goals from this MLS season some real stunners

Darlington Nagbe

Eric Hassli, terrible to lose it in the back like that, but what a finish!

Agudelo, super first touch and classy finish

Graham Zusi, god announcers always terrible in the MLS, never will we catch up in that department haha

Andy Najar, also a tremendous player, little panna than crack why not

Kamara, scissor kicks are always healthy, who misses a goal though while your watching a football match?

Henry, just sublime

Marco Pappa, what foot work, beautiful

Notice though, only one of those goals is scored by an American, Agudelo. That is something that needs to change.

Donnchadh (Liverpool) 5 years ago
P. S. Just learned agudelo was born in Colombia, f**k hahahahah
ManUK (Manchester United) 5 years ago
The best american players seem to be born in other countries and yea, what an awful announcer
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 5 years ago
Ay Dempsey is our saving grace, Mank, McBride was a legend as well. Landon is class, but Clint is one of my favorite players in the world so glad he was born in Nagodoches
Peteko 5 years ago
Lol ManUK. Some say that Obama too was not born in America.

As far as "soccer" is concerned it is only a matter of time. More young Americans are playing it. And in some way it is no different from the Premier League. Most of the stars there are foreigners too
ManUK (Manchester United) 5 years ago
Agreed with everything you said up there. The Northwest is setting the trend for the rest of the league. And although Seattle has more fans, Portland's fans are definitely the best . I love seeing the Timbers army completely full an hour and a half before the game, that's dedication. And if the stadium is modified in the future to accommodate the extra seats available at the top, it can hold over 23, 000. So with every game being sold out I hope that will happen.

As far as the youth system goes, it's going to be changing dramatically to become a lot more like europe. The Timbers and other MLS clubs are partnering with the youth clubs so the best youth around will be developed in their home town by a professional club. Coaches will recommend kids from their own teams for the timbers, once he's in it overtakes his club team.

The change is really good because with the way they did things before (and still do in places with no professional club) you can understand why the United States hasn't developed top players
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 5 years ago
Nice ManUK! Have you gone to any of the Timbers games? I didn't know they were expanding to 23000 that's awesome.

The youth system is crucial and I didn't know any of the developments with it, that's fantastic as well. Like You and Tone and TBS have said the only way is up, let's hope it happens quickly haha
ManUK (Manchester United) 5 years ago
I have, and I can tell you it's the closest thing to europe you'll find in the states haha. The Timbers also have no major sports competing with them during the summer, which contributes to it's popularity.

But yea, lets hope the league gets better as fast as possible. That way Chelsea can come over and get crushed by a MLS team
Tony (footytube staff) 5 years ago
Theres no doubt the mls is fast improving, ever since the days when the great pele, best, beckenbuar etc: joined the mls, it has moved forward, albeit slowly, but it has gathered pace especially with the introduction of tv and it has flourished this last few years, and it warms my heart when I see the support teams like seattle and philly union get, its amazing, even though the football on offer isn't top quality, but it will eventually get better and better, it amazes me that the womens game in the usa seems every bit as good as the mls, and gets a lot of coverage compared to the womens game elsewhere.
The only way is UP to be honest
LumpOfCelery (Chelsea) 5 years ago
Agree, but didn't disband a little while after the Pele days?
Tony (footytube staff) 5 years ago
They still gave the people in the usa the taste for the game, so the guys like pele, best, etc: who went there had a hell of a lot to do with whats happening today, what might it have been like in the usa had those guys never pioneered the game way back when in the usa? , I don't think it would be as good, or popular as it is becoming, they were the bedrock on which the present day mls is built upon.
Big names always make a difference, and the americans love nothing but the BEST.... Lol, if you'll pardon the pun
TheBarcaShow (Footytube Staff) 5 years ago
The title is definitely appropriate.

You touched on some great things that the MLS has but they really need to do a few things to hit the next step.

One thing which I really want to see is an identity within the league. Are they going to try and be an EPL style league or go with a more technical approach like La Liga. In my opinion the best European model is the Bundesliga by far which is a sustainable mix of technical ability and physical presence but most importantly is financially extremely healthy.

Once discovering their identity they must give a vision for refs so that it is consistent throughout. There have been much too many terrible calls in the MLS and it really hurts it
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 5 years ago
I totally agree TBS, the MLS needs to establish a style a identity as you say. There are some teams that have it, even that can change over the years, but as a league certainly there is nothing distinctive going on. You got to remember though that the MLS has only been around since 96, that is more or close to a century gap when it comes to some leagues in Europe. Like Tony said above, the NASL or whatever it was called brought in some really super players, some of the best of all time, but they were aging than, fading stars. It didn't attract any young foreign talent, and the US national team was a ghost during that period in the 70s, the league was bound to fail. It did, though some of the teams survived and those clubs have a history a little deeper, you see it in Seattle and Portland.

Now the MLS is picking up steam and I think it is here to stay which is fantastic if you are an American footy fan
TheBarcaShow (Footytube Staff) 5 years ago
I am actually a Canadian footy fan. Don't get us confused

But so far the MLS has no signs of failing in my opinion and as Tony said the only direction is up.

Another thing I would like to see in the MLS though is some European investment. I know Barcelona was interested in becoming partners with a new Miami franchise but nothing became of that. It would be a great thing for young players to come to the MLS and know that there are European teams looking out for them
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 5 years ago
Ay bud, didn't know you were Canadian cool. I was just making a general statement but touchee

Agree with everything you say though, good stuff TBS. Would love the Cosmos or Red Bulls to hook up with Liverpool would be class class class
MUMatt (Manchester United) 5 years ago
Football in America is one of the weirdest things ever. I don't really mean it in a bad way just it's so odd. The pace of the games are sooooooooo slow 75 percent of the matches end in ties I just dont' understand how a team finishes a season 4 wins 3 losses and 95 ties and wins the title.

I honestly think America's problem is the coaching on all levels. I think the best coaching is in the youth levels because that's where you'll find the coaches that actually teach the players technical aspects of the game. Majority of the best coaches on the youth level come from other countries. What really "grinds my gears" is when players get to high school and college the game turns into kickball! I feel like coaches college and MLS are there for political reasons. There is little to know build up by any team in MLS. Also watching the National Team defend was like listening to nails on a chalk board. I'm glad to see a coaching change is coming finally.

I think the same goes for the US Soccer Federations method of picking players for state, regional, and national team levels. I'm not saying that just because I crapped the bed during the tryouts but I saw players who would dominate the field in every way and not get picked to move on. Plus I think the US mentality when getting players is.... The bigger the better which isn't the case in this sport.

And that is what really grinds my gears!
LumpOfCelery (Chelsea) 5 years ago
I drop by a few times to watch Union and Timbers, but all my non-europe focus goes to A-league.
Dgrant117 (Manchester United) 5 years ago
With the addition of Klinsmann, I think the MLS will grow stronger no doubt. I seriously can't wait on what he will do, but the change he will make will impact us, just like Germany. The fan base will then grow, no doubt, we gathered a lot of fans after the 2010 WC and the 2011 Women's WC. Finally and very soon, we will get more respect in the footballing world and people won't take us for a joke.

I also hope there will be more teams in the MLS future, hopefully 20 with the re-addition of the NY Cosmos and the Miami Fusion. That will really help the league grow more popular and stronger

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