2012 MLS Season: 10 Reasons to Be Excited

A longtime supporter of the United States Men's National Team (USMNT) but only a recent supporter of Major League Soccer, I'm quite excited for the 2012 MLS season. Born out of the 1994 World Cup held in the United States, America's first successful professional football experiment began as a humble 10-team league but has since evolved into a respectable 19-team premier league which boasts the 10th highest match-day attendance in the world.And after watching the second leg of a Western Conference semifinal in which the Seattle Sounders almost battled back from a 3-0 aggregate deficit to force extra time against Real Salt Lake, I realized that the emergent MLS can produce just as much excitement as its European counterparts.So, in addition to supporting the beautiful game's growth in our country, here are 10 reasons why you'll want to follow the 2012 MLS season.Begin Slideshow
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MLS Playoffs: Current Playoff System Too Confusing to Succeed

As a longtime supporter of the United States National team, I guess I should feel rather embarrassed that I only recently began watching the MLS. Citing a lack of top players and simply the fact that the league was named, "Major League Soccer" instead of "Major League Football," I perceived the MLS to be far too primitive to warrant my attention. Yet, after hearing that the Seattle Sounders packed over 64,000 fans into CenturyLink Field for the final game of the season (surely more fans than would turn out to watch the Seahawks play football or the Mariners play baseball), I realized that Seattleites' dedication to their team is indicative of the league's growing profile. In other words, the MLS is officially worth following. However, as I prepared for the playoffs, I found myself rather confused by the league's attempt to juxtapose the traditional football league format with the general American playoff framework.  Not effectively emulating either system, the current MLS playoff format is rather goofy. Yet, I'm not mad.  Its obvious that the MLS is trying to maximize appeal to the large population of American sports fans who exclusively follow traditional American sports and international football fans based all over ...
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Seattle Sounders an Excellent Reason to Follow the MLS

Being an avid English Premier League and Champions League fan over the past decade, I found myself entirely unable to even casually follow Major League Soccer. How could I possibly appreciate the English inspired hit-and-run tactics employed by many MLS teams after watching Barcelona link together 15 passes before scoring easily?  Did I really want to invest my precious time watching washed out stars such as David Beckham and Thierry Henry when I could instead watch current stars Wayne Rooney and Lionel Messi?Perceiving the MLS as essentially a developmental league solely existing to launch a small number of exceptionally talented Americans into top European leagues and the United States Men's National Team, I decided the league was entirely unworthy of my attention.While my judgment may have been warranted 10 years ago, this is certainly not the case anymore.Beginning with 10 teams in the 1996 inaugural season and surviving the dissolution of two teams in 2001, the MLS now features 18 teams with plans to expand to over 20 teams in the near future.With enough teams to form a respectable premier league, entry into the increasingly important CONCACAF Champions League, and a lucrative deal with NBC Sports Network, the MLS now has all ...
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