MLS Continues to Bore Fans

I really thought this year was going to be different. MLS is celebrating its 20th season and is financially stable after acquiring 100 million dollar expansion fees from both Orlando City FC and New York City FC. Yet, I still have had trouble watching an entire MLS match this season after I vowed to give the league my undivided

To the credit of MLS Commissioner Don Garber and his cronies, the league has done an excellent job bringing back American stars and signing proven stars from overseas. After Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley returned to MLS last season, the league signed Americans Jozy Altidore, Brek Shea, Miz Diskerud, and Sacha Kljestan. In addition, MLS signed overseas stars David Villa from Spain, Kaka from Brasil, Sebastian Giovinco from Italy, and Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard from England. You would think the infusion of talent these players bring to the league will make viewing watchable, but that has not been the case.

First off, Lampard and Gerrard have yet to make their MLS debuts. Lampard is currently playing for Manchester City who own Lampard’s MLS club, NYCFC. Gerrard has one game left in his Liverpool career then will make his debut after some time off.

While Villa, Kaka, and Giovinco have definitely stood out amongst their MLS counterparts, the US National Team stars have been inconsistent other than Clint Dempsey who leads the league with seven goals and has added 5 assists. Other than scoring two goals in the opener for Toronto FC, Altidore has not taken MLS by storm. He has added three more goals since the opener, but is now out 4-5 weeks with a pulled hamstring. Bradley should be dominating the middle of the park in MLS, but that is just not the case.

A big reason for the letdown I feel from MLS is the number of teams in the league. With 20 teams currently residing in MLS and further expansion planned such as another team in Los Angeles headed by former Lakers’ star Magic Johnson, the truth of the matter is there are now close to 450 roster spots. Unfortunately, most players in the league are nowhere near as polished as overseas stars such as Kaka, Villa, Lampard, and Gerrard. When these players touch the ball, magic happens. But, when they pass to their teammates, possession is often lost by poor plays and breakdowns.

I want nothing more than for MLS to continue to grow and flourish, but the quality of play has not risen much with the infusion of new talent. Until it does, many soccer fans or even casual fans will fail to turn on the game or watch highlights on Sports Center. After watching La Liga, Barclay’s Premiership, Serie A, or the UEFA Champion’s League, watching MLS compares to viewing college soccer.

And that’s as I see it!

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