MLS: The Minor League of World Soccer

Soccer announcers have been fawning over the myriad successes and near-successes that MLS teams have had in their battles with European clubs, yet one must wonder if the victories have any meaning. The culmination of these friendlies (The MLS All Star Game) sheds the most light on the fledgling position of the MLS in the footballing world. Unlike the rest of the major American sports leagues, which showcase a match of their best star players in competition with each other, MLS chooses to field a team of its best players against a major European club. Moreover, the European clubs in both the All-Star Game and the friendlies are in preseason form, with their best players watching from the stands. The MLS All-Star Game is akin to a preseason match between the New York Yankees and the best that the Japanese baseball league has to offer. Even if the underdog wins, the victory is attributed to the incomplete, preseason form of the favorite. While Manchester United was praised for its 5-2 thrashing of the MLS All-Stars, had the result gone the other way, Manchester’s poor performance would have been blamed on the absence of Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Vidic, and the club’s other top stars. Consequently, the most that ...
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