Monday, March 26, 2012

Will Major League Soccer Ever Be a Top Tier League in the USA?

Last Friday, I watched a Major League Soccer (MLS) game on television. The game was between the Seattle Sounders and the Houston Dynamo. The match was played in front of over 35,000 screaming fans. After the game, I asked myself this question; Will Major League Soccer ever be a top tier league in the United States of America?

I'm sad to say that I don't think so. The MLS is in it's 17th year of play and the average attendance is only 21,000. Some teams like LA and Seattle do really well but you need a few more teams than that for the league to compete with the likes of the NHL, MLB, NBA and NFL. Don't forget that the MLS plays in bigger venues than the NHL and NBA. So the operating costs are greater. They need fill the stadiums with more fans.

The reasons that the MLS will not become a major sports league are many but I will try to keep the reason to a minimum. My reasons follow:

Boring (Put the Damn Ball on Net)
United States sports fans like scoring. Even when their favorite teams play a defensive style, their attention span is limited. They can's sit in front of a movie for than 55 minutes without squirming. They can't sit through a game that has little to no scoring. What's even more frustrating to sports fans in this country is the fact that these so called professionals can't score. They can't get the ball on net. It doesn't matter if they're 10 feet away from the goal, they shoot the soccer ball wide or over the net.

I witnessed that time and again on Friday night. It was extremely frustrating. I was bored. I only had the chance to say the word, Goooaaalllll, twice. The final score was 2-0 Sounders but many more goals could have been scored if the players weren't so inept.

90 Minutes With Little Action
So I'm watching the game and this is what I witnessed for 90 minutes. Pass, pass, pass, tackle. Pass, Pass, Pass, Pass, Out of Bounds. Pass, Pass, turnover. Pass, Pass, Pass, out of bounds. I'm not kidding. Who wants to sit through 90 minutes of this style of game, with little or no action? Not Americans.

There's absolutely no chance that this sport can become a top tier league in the USA. Not unless there's more action in the game. With the majority of soccer games ending, 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, etc, the game is destined to be a polarized sport, with the fan base being limited.

Flip, Flop and Dive
This is how I describe soccer to my friends. A player has possession of the ball. If an opposing player is one yard away, you will see the  ball carrier, flipping, flopping and diving. The player will take a flip if the opposing player's jersey brushes him. He will flop to the ground if the opposing player breathes on him and he will take a dive to the ground, as if he's been shot by a cannon if the opposing player tries to steal the ball away from him. This is done to draw a penalty.

The players who take part in actions that I mentioned above, are wusses and are gutless. These types of players have no backbone. I don't want to watch a sport of prima donnas doing the flip, flop and dive. It's disgusting, annoying and proves to me that these guys have no talent. If they had talent, they would be looking at going on the attack and trying to score but that would make the game interesting.

The MLS needs to institute suspensions for the flip, flop and dive idiots. If they were suspended without pay for their moronic actions, maybe we could see a sport that was intended to be a beautiful affair.

The game of soccer could have potential in this country, if the reasons for its lack of interest mentioned above were corrected. The MLS is a relatively young league and its possible that the game will evolve. The problem with that, is the game is played the same way internationally. The MLS recruits players internationally and they've been ingrained with this style of play for decades.

I think it's a long shot for the MLS to be a top tier sport. That saddens me, because I am a soccer fan. You might be thinking to yourselves, that it doesn't look that way, based on my arguments above. My arguments were intended to to show you how I think the majority of Americans feel.

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