Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
MLS Keeps 'Showing Up'
by Ridge Mahoney, March 13th, 2009 10AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

I don't wish ill on anyone in MLS, though I may disagree with the tactics of a coach, the attitude of a player, or the sanity of a marketing campaign. If that means I'm someone who sees the glass more than half-full, well so be it.

Its importance to the game in this country and its slow but steady improvement, as well its limitations and flaws, might seem obvious, and much easier covering MLS would be if the former routinely trumped the latter, but such is not the case. Yet stridently bashing MLS for every inconsistency or that glitch impairs one's ability to evaluate the big picture, and the big picture is this: in what is about to be Year 14, MLS is still around. What a competitor!

Woody Allen once said, "Eighty percent of life is showing up" - you'll see other percentages referred to but he's quoted to that effect --- and a corollary can be added that nearly, if not all, of the remaining 20 percent is sticking around, through good and bad, ups and downs. Baseball may lack the crash and bash of football, or the slams and jams of basketball, or the grit and spit of hockey, but it's been there forever. In most countries, soccer sustains the populace as baseball does here, and it does so by survival as much as spectacle.

Plummeting downward right now are many aspects of life and if MLS can weather this greed-driven storm of gloom and doom, perhaps nothing can kill it off except that same greed applied to reckless overspending on players and other rampant madness, a la NASL.

Rather than trumpet the ticket frenzy in Seattle (again), though, I prefer at this juncture to point out a few of dozens, if not hundreds, of smaller tales to watch and savor as they unfold in this year of MLS, game by game, week by week.

During the preseason, Clint Mathis accomplished something he couldn't do in 11 league games last season: score a goal, and he did so with a bending free kick steeped in memories. Mathis is just one of many intriguing subplots of the RSL saga: the continued redemptions of Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando, Marcia Williams' battle against leukemia, and an acid test for Jason Kreis the Coach, to name a few, but despite going goalless and pointless on paper, Mathis worked and sweated and contributed, and the likable Georgian can be a subtle yet vital cog at the foot of the Wasatch mountains.

Speaking of an acid test, Toronto FC is in the beaker and bubbling on the burner right now. Rugged Danny Dichio, flamboyant Dwayne De Rosario, dependable Carl Robinson, colorful Mo Johnston, et al, will feel stilted and jilted if wins aren't forthcoming. They need to pass a few rivals in a tough Eastern Conference to truly chase a playoff spot; no longer will promise and promises fill the vacuum.

Team Dysfunction is based at Home Depot Center, of course, yet the Galaxy does have two titles to its credit, more than any team except D.C. United and San Jose/Houston (four each). A continent away, New York reached its first MLS Cup despite finishing below .500 and with a new stadium about a year away from opening, eyes will be on both coasts to see how the teams of big markets and big egos fares, and on Bruce Arena, he of the big job and big salary.

This will surely be the most trying year in the career of Landon Donovan. No other American player can trigger fiercer jeers and rapturous applause from the same fans, depending on whether he's playing against them with the Galaxy or for team USA. In the wake of his return from Bayern Munich, the barbs and smears may get ugly at times, but it's his job to persevere and come to play, every day. And win.

Like the Woodman sayeth, a lot of life is showing up. In Year 14, those who show will direct the destiny of MLS.


0 comments
  1. Stephen Finger
    commented on: March 13, 2009 at 10:46 a.m.
    "During the preseason, Clint Mathis accomplished something he couldn't do in 11 league games last season: score a goal, and he did so with a bending free kick steeped in memories." If by "bending free kick steeped in memories" you mean a slow roller under the wall, then yes, it was steeped in memories.
  1. John Soares
    commented on: March 13, 2009 at 11:26 a.m.
    Go ahead, praise Seattle one more time! :)
  1. Olatunde o Ayetigbo
    commented on: March 13, 2009 at 1:51 p.m.
    I am a 19 year old boy,i live in georgia.Am a very good player I play at a professional level,am a fast skillfull winger,i love scoring goals and creating goal chances.I need a soccer team/club to play for to make my my dream come true as a soccer star.My boxaddress is ayetigboo@yahoo.com Thanks

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
So far, Jordan Morris' decisions have been the right ones    
U.S. forward Jordan Morris turned down a move to German club Werder Bremen, which is rooted ...
MLS Playoff Watch: Breaking down the Eastern Conference's battle of bubble teams    
With a month of the regular season to be played, no Eastern Conference team has clinched ...
Strenghtened Sounders set aside distractions to focus on postseason quest    
The midseason arrival of Nicolas Lodeiro and the return to fitness of Roman Torres has bolstered ...
Talk of treble not heard at FCD    
Tuesday night the U.S. Open Cup final sold out, and most of the 16,612 in attendance ...
Rested Revs will be tested by defining run of games    
A formation changed and renewed commitment to defense has tightened up a porous Revs' back line, ...
Pulisic helps USA play low and win high    
I had high expectations of Christian Pulisic. He delivered -- and then some.
Christian Pulisic must start on Tuesday    
Coaches like to be secretive about their starting lineups, which is the only way to explain ...
More than a Hexagonal berth is on the line for USA in Caribbean tests    
Does U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann take dramatic steps to revamp his team In qualifiers this ...
Doyle departure starts crucial new era in San Jose    
With only two playoff appearances since it rejoined MLS in 2008, San Jose hasn't been able ...
Farewell, Hope Solo    
I have admired Hope Solo for many reasons. I've sent YouTube clips of Solo's highlights to ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives