Sunday, December 17, 2006


While I appreciate the tremendous feedback and all the e-mails I am receiving I can not possibly answer every email so here is a run down of some common themes and questions for the many local fans that are new to MLS.

CALIBER OF PLAY: This is not the best league in the world, and at times the play is terribly scrappy and boring. The caliber of the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps is not too far off, and some (including myself) may argue on par with some MLS teams. Now some may view this as a revelation or as a negative for a pro sport league in North America, but it really fits the description and nature of soccer across the world and in my opinion what makes our sport great. Lower division teams can compete with higher division teams on any given day. This is what makes promotion and relegation possible, the FA Cup worth following, and for that matter any club or international tournament worth watching. Don't expect the Premiership or Seria A or la Liga but its not bad overall and getting better. And just remember your not paying top league ticket prices either.

While the overall caliber has been improving the league is missing some of the show biz from earlier years. The excitement of watching the likes of Preki, Stoitckov, Valderamma, Nowak or Etcheverry perform or create something special and wonderful that will inspire fans and help develop domestic talent are long gone. With the introduction of the Beckham rule it sounds as if those running the MLS acknowledge that some show biz is again needed.

STYLE OF PLAY: The MLS style is hard to define with so many influences from different parts of the world. It really is a mixture with hints of British, Latin, Eastern European influences combined with that prototypical US College athlete . The tactical side and the coaching has improved unfortunately the style and excitement has given way to negative soccer with some clubs.

HIGH PROFILE PLAYERS: In terms of high profile players the league created a buzz initially by signing some recognizable names to lend credibility, help improve the caliber of play and to sell tickets and sponsorships. The likes of Donadoni, Valderamma, Diaz Arce, Cienfugos, Etcheverry, Zenga, Campos, Sanchez, Ravalli, amongst others in addition to returning US National team players mostly did what they were suppose to do. The league has also had its share of bad investments with Lothar Mattaus, Carlos Hermosillo, Luis Hernandez, Branco, Alain Sutter coming to mind. A big name does not translate into a good investment so for the millions spent on a Lothar Mattaues, I think fans in the long run would much rather see an investment in the likes of Carlos Ruiz, Christian Gomez, Stern John, Damiani Ralph, and our own Dwanyne De Rosario who combined may not have cost the MLS as much money as one of the aforementioned big names.

TORONTO ROSTER: Thus far Sir Mo has assembled a decent looking group on paper. I really like Cancela if he gets a chance to play regularly and Nagamura is a solid young player. O'Brien has proven himself in this league as one of the top players. This may be Buddle's last chance to live up to his potential. As for the Canadians hardly the National team that was advertised months ago, but a very good collection nonetheless. Reda, Pozniak, Brennan will be very good MLS players. Sutton will be amongst the best goalkeepers in the league and certainly on par with the likes of Matt Reis in the Eastern Conference.

Thanks for the feedback it is much appreciated and keep it coming.

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