MLS, Liga MX, and Theory vs. Practice

Everybody wants to talk about TV viewership and make unflattering comparisons between MLS and any other league. As a fan of MLS, I know intimately well both the current challenges, the flaws of the league, and just how far the league has come in the last decade and how much more work is left to do. However, the people who paint Liga MX as some paradise and paradigm to follow are perhaps misguided.

Yes, a bit more flair and technical play in MLS would be fun. However, I honestly dislike split seasons and, in many ways, lots of general public interest and money prop up and gloss over the problems in Liga MX. And these are problems MLS should not ignore or try to replicate. Continue reading “MLS, Liga MX, and Theory vs. Practice” »

Amazing Yanks Abroad Post Unlike Any Other

I am nothing, if not a skank of the clickbait variety. The other day while reviewing soccer “key words” that are popular on the Google, I noticed that Monday mornings quite a few Americans look for “yanks abroad.” At first, I failed to see the soccer connection. I figured some warm-blooded bros were looking for, ahem, some “poorly acted independent films of the ten-minute variety.”

But when I Googled “Yanks abroad”, I found something else: Americans care about how American soccer players play when not in the US. Except, of course, for one major gap. Continue reading “Amazing Yanks Abroad Post Unlike Any Other” »

The Ultimate Hater’s Guide to Hating MLS and Circular Reasoning

As the hater of choice for refined consumers such as yourself who don’t drink wine from boxes or eat cheese in small plastic-wrapped slices, you no doubt were disappointed, as was I, by Vuelta de Muerte‘s recent MLS preview. Basically, Patty Fiordorojo appears to enjoy MLS, be knowledgeable about MLS, and anticipate the MLS season with a small ounce of joy. This is in striking contrast to the typical MLS observations of Billy-you-know-who.

So, my friends, you are left to wonder: who will hate on MLS? Me. Your second favorite hater. And how? Circular reasoning, mon ami. That is how. Continue reading “The Ultimate Hater’s Guide to Hating MLS and Circular Reasoning” »

Important CONCACAF Champions League Update: Travel’in Man Edition

Let’s not shit ourselves: the CONCACAF Champions League is not even the best second-tier continental club competition with “Champions League” in the moniker. Where does it lay compared to, say, the Asian Club Champions League and African Champions League? I don’t know. I don’t care to know.

But, as with all sports competitions, glorious moments of spontaneity emerge. Continue reading “Important CONCACAF Champions League Update: Travel’in Man Edition” »

The Really Not So Super League

Everybody has a million-and-one-ways to improve MLS. Many of these proposals can be reduced to the film Field of Dreams as envisioned by Scrooge McDuck: if you spend money on wages and transfers, more and better players will come. Well no shit. This past winter, MLS’ financial reticence was magnified by the number of deals done between European clubs and the Chinese Super League.

Allegedly thanks to state support via a new and overly generous TV deal, the CSL is awash in cash and clubs spent tens of millions to sign kinda-sorta-decent players like Ramires and Jackson Martinez and even Alex Teixeira. But is everything as it seems? Continue reading “The Really Not So Super League” »

MLS and the Final Frontier: Eyeballs From Afar

The 2015 MLS Cup featured two well coached and pretty well constructed teams that played attacking soccer. The game was decided in part by a goalkeeper blunder and a ref mistake, but, news flash, this crap happens in Europe and during World Cups. Just ask any England fan about Clint Dempsey’s goal in 2010. Or Frank Lampard’s non-goal vs. Germany that same tournament.

Still, though, one thing about the recent MLS Cup cannot be debated: TV ratings stunk. I won’t dissect the numbers, but will look at the big picture issues. They are both scary and heartening. Continue reading “MLS and the Final Frontier: Eyeballs From Afar” »

MLS Stadia Updatery

As you know, I am your favorite contributor to VICE Sports. Please note that I can no longer refer to it as “VICE Deportes” anymore because that site actually exists and, no, my soccer stadium writing is too boring for those hip folks from Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula who speak-a-the-Spanish. But not for you. In addition to being handsome, rugged, ruggedly handsome, and handsomely rugged, you loved my contributions because I did quite a bit of research in those MLS stadium posts for VICE. Since their publication, though, major developments have happened. At least in Minnesota and Miami.

Here’s the big story(ies). Continue reading “MLS Stadia Updatery” »

Making the Anglo Cup Work

The Commissioner for MLS has floated an idea: MLS and EPL clubs regularly play one another in a so-called “Anglo Cup.” Of course, teams from these two leagues regularly play each other in friendlies. However, the Don would like to solidify the relationship. The general idea is some sort of tournament, akin to the Emirates Cup but 10% more (or less) creditable.

As a baseline, dear reader, I know you are cynical. Also, the proposal also lacks detail. However, I looked past my doubts and thought of a way to make it work. Continue reading “Making the Anglo Cup Work” »

The Not Surprising Lack of Solidarity in US Soccer

Five percent. Look like a big number? It’s not. When you go out to eat, you probably tip double or even quadruple that figure. However, US Soccer and MLS balk at that number. What is that number? It’s the nominally low part of any transfer fee that should be paid to any of the player’s prior youth clubs (actually a smaller percentage based on years the player was at the club). For example, Bastian Schweinsteiger recently went from Bayern to United for about nine million euros. One of his old clubs is set to get 38,000 euros.

This is not an astronomical figure. Which is why it’s so funny MLS and US Soccer have colluded to never pay it ever. Continue reading “The Not Surprising Lack of Solidarity in US Soccer” »