10 MLS Stars Who Would Not Look out of Place at a Big European Club

Despite surviving 19 seasons and enjoying a very successful 2014, Major League Soccer has a serious perception problem. MLS points to surging ticket sales as an indicator that the league is flourishing and has bigger, better days ahead of it. "Major League Soccer finished its 19th season with the highest attendance in league history," wrote Empire of Soccer's Ryan Brister. "The final average crowd of 19,149 marks the first time that MLS has cracked 19,000 fans per game for an entire season. It probably won’t be the last time." All true. But as any professional sports franchise owner will tell you, television is where the real money is. And the popularity of MLS in person is not translating to television ratings. "This season, an average of 141,000 viewers tuned in to MLS telecasts on its main channel, NBC Sports Network, a 26% increase over last season, though audiences were one-third larger than the overall average when matches followed telecasts of the English Premier League," noted Matthew Futterman in The Wall Street Journal. Why aren't American viewers tuning into MLS when they apparently like Premier League soccer? Take one guess. In ticking off the various challenges MLS has going forward, Futterman cited "the league’s level of play." He did ...
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10 Players Who Would Be Brilliant, and Viable, Additions to MLS in 2015

Identifying an exciting addition to Major League Soccer is a complicated exercise. The player needs to be very good, preferably with name recognition. But he can't be too good, or the thought of having him leave his current situation to play in MLS would be absurd. In so many ways, Landon Donovan was the perfect MLS star. He was a transforming talent for the Galaxy and had great moments for the United States men's national team. But while he played in Europe, he never established himself as a star there such that returning to MLS would be too much of a drop in level to make sense. Now Donovan is gone. Some of the players listed in this piece could go a long way toward filling the star void Donovan left in MLS. Some would just be intriguing additions to the league. Judge for yourself whether these players would consider making the move to MLS now, and whether they would have an impact if they did.Begin Slideshow
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Landon Donovan’s Performance in MLS Cup Final Proves He Is Retiring Just in Time

Landon Donovan carried the LA Galaxy to tremendous heights in his time with the club. In his last game in their strip, though, Donovan was a passenger. Fans and media love storybook endings for star athletes, though for different reasons. For instance, New York Yankees fans ate up Derek Jeter's final at-bat at Yankee Stadium, a walk-off single. The media loved it, too, but not because it won the Yankees a game or put the final touch on Jeter's legend in the Bronx. The media loved it because it made for an easy story. Donovan actually gave his fans and the media a storybook ending, of sorts. He just provided it about a month early. Going into the Galaxy's Nov. 9 playoff match with Real Salt Lake, the second leg of Major League Soccer's Western Conference semi-final, Donovan had scored one goal in eight MLS games over the previous two months. To continue their quest for another MLS Cup, the Galaxy had to get out of the first playoff round. Donovan took care of that. His hat trick against Real Salt Lake propelled the Galaxy into the Western Conference final with the Seattle Sounders. The moment was not lost on Galaxy supporters. "He extended his own ...
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Charlie Davies Ignites Revolution & Authors Sad End(?) to Thierry Henry’s Career

In New York, they know all too well that the greatest players do not always get blessed with the greatest endings. Just recently, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter's career ended in uncharacteristically quiet fashion. Jeter's Yankees, so often a fixture in the Major League Baseball playoffs, did not qualify in his last season. Where superstars are concerned, fans want the ending to The Natural, but more often than not they get the ending to Friday Night Lights. Charlie Davies' brace powered the New England Revolution into the MLS Cup final. Given the circumstances, Davies' performance in this match and in these playoffs should have been the main story. After scoring only three goals for the Revs in 18 regular-season appearances, Davies has hit for four in the playoffs, including the two goals that put the Revs into the final. But Davies did not only turn the brightest lights on for New England, who now await an opponent (either the Los Angeles Galaxy or the Seattle Sounders) in the final. Davies may have extinguished one of the brightest lights Major League Soccer has in the process. Thierry Henry's eternal fame was created at Arsenal. When a club as storied as Arsenal immortalizes you in bronze, there ...
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Philadelphia Union Waste Outrageous Fortune with Punchless Display vs. Dynamo

CHESTER, Pa. — The Philadelphia Union are apt to wait for weeks if not months to be presented with a more winnable match than the scoreless draw they played with the Houston Dynamo at PPL Park. The Dynamo were without six-time Major League Soccer All-Star midfielder Brad Davis, who missed his third straight match with a sprained right ankle. If the Dynamo missed Davis, though, they certainly did not let on in the first half. Houston struck 12 shots at Union keeper Zac MacMath's goal and forced him to make two saves. It also earned three corner kicks in the first 45 minutes and had the Union pinned in PPL Park's River End for most of the half. Union boss John Hackworth's team talk during the interval must have gotten through, though, because the Union seized control of the match throughout the second half. Unfortunately for the Union fans among the more than 17,000 in attendance, though, a winning marker never came. The match essentially turned on two plays. Dynamo forward Will Bruin crashed a right-footed shot off the post past MacMath in the 38th minute. Had the Dynamo scored there, no vivid imagination would have been needed to imagine them getting another goal before the break. ...
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