Author Topic: Is the MLS in danger of...  (Read 1383 times)

Offline finnster01

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Is the MLS in danger of...
« on: August 16, 2011, 01:15:04 AM »
becoming the secret elephant burial ground of footballers again?

We all know what happened to the old US league with Pele, Beckenbauer et al. A lot of old stars just showing up to make some money in the swansong of their career.

Now, that old league was structurally flawed and unsustainable. MLS is better run and has a lease on life and I think is sustainable, especially as long as the US keep doing relatively well in the WC, the CONCOCONUT Gold Cup etc.

I also looked upon it as a means for the US to grow and develop their talents to the next level which can only be good for the national team.

However, here I find myself with tickets to the LA Galaxy vs Red Bull on August 28th. It will be my first live MLS experience, and I have promised everyone to approach it with a completely open mind. Although I live in NY, I am not a Red Bull fan but as logic has it, assuming I like the experience I will probably become one.

My point is, theoretical speaking, I can find myself watching Thierry Henry, David Beckham and Robbie Keane all playing in a competitive match. Throw in the little not-so-talented Rooney and it has a bit of circus performance associated with it. I hope it does not turn out like that but I can't shake my inner feeling of I am kind of going to a testimonial instead.

I much rather watch the likes of that young lad Agudelo and other young American talent and have them have an outlet (MLS) to develop their game in a competitive environment. I will be the first to admit that I am a novice at MLS, but I am beginning to worry that old lazy British footballers with a name will go to the US just to milk good contracts at the end of their career, keeping out legitimate young American talent. That will hurt the US game and national team much more than anything, and they both need each other to survive over here.

Hopefully I will have a great experience and come back and report about a great Sunday night out and be much more Blingo than this Lighthouse'ish post.

Offline YankeeJim

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Re: Is the MLS in danger of...
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2011, 02:36:18 AM »
I'm hoping that Henri takes Agudelo under his wing & teaches the lad a few things. The problem with yank youngsters is that they don't get the training that they'd get in Europe. To counter, it didn't seem to do Adu any good but in the youth soccer in the US the best are always put up as striker and as a result they don't understand man marking or pitch awareness. Agudelo is fun to watch. He does some really good things but makes errors in judgment that quality training would teach him. I'll be looking forward to your analysis.

Offline Steve_orino

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Re: Is the MLS in danger of...
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2011, 05:17:47 PM »
Great Question - Difficult Answer:
Short-term (next 10 years) - Yes
Long-term (next 20 years & beyond) - No

The Yank League FO has two things on its mind...marketing/awareness & creating a Rivalry(Derby) between LA & NY (determined to be a useful strategy in starting the building of a good League - Mrs. MoDuff can better explain this than I can).  With that in mind, the FO (which I'm not a big fan of but tolerate them) has done everything to ensure these two things, ie Beckham, Henry, and other signings.  Notice the two 'biggest names' have gone to one of those two teams.  I'm fairly certain this will continue over the next 5 to 10 years b/c those big names bring an awareness of the League in the news.

But as I stated in the other thread, there is a wind blowing from other teams in the League - credit Columbus, New England, & the original San Jose/Houston franchises who got the ball rolling at the beginning of the last decade & it has been picked up by Seattle (its become ad nauseum but they're the model for what MLS can be), and Real Salt Lake caught the fever, and FC Dallas made a great hire and have done a complete 180, and Philly made a shrewd choice in manager when coming into the League, Portland is trying to replicate the successes of Seattle, & DC United seems to have pieced together a decent squad (after a miserable '10).    All of those Clubs don't have the financial muscle of the FO behind them but they're growing in an organic way which I consider will become the future of MLS. 

The football you'll see will probably be the highest quality that the League can offer - I hope you enjoy it, considering the quality of football I'm sure you've seen in your lifetime.  Knowing you're a Fulham supporter & you're dislike for plastic, the two teams that offer it will probably not be to your taste.  LA Galaxy is the best team in the League the past two years running but much like ManUre & the Blue-Poo, they have purchased their way to the top.  New York are perennial under-acheivers (Tottenham-like?) and despite having a "name roster," can't seem to put wins together.

MLS is going to grow & we will continue to get some Keane's & Henry's & other names; we give them money, they give us a blip on the media radar.  Because of American-football, basketball, & baseball, MLS may never become a Top Tier League in the world but there is good potential in us becoming a great Second Tier League (especially with the money & diverse population here in the States) & I think that bodes well for our National team too. 

The Agudelo's, Shea's, Najar's, Bunbury's, Adu's, Gil's, Zakuani's, & Hamid's of MLS are on the way...it'll just be another 5-10 years before they're dominating the headlines.


Mitch

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Re: Is the MLS in danger of...
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2011, 05:23:58 PM »
YankeeJim - I think the issue with Adu, is that he was never really as young as he was reported to be. He came over from Ghana with no passport and his age was estimated. I reckon his development stunted because by the time he was at Benfica he was already older than believed.

Offline HatterDon

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Re: Is the MLS in danger of...
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2011, 09:09:36 PM »
Mr. Finn, only in the way that the Premier League is in danger of becoming the burial ground of elderly Continental players:

Patrick Viera, Jari Litmanen, Robert Pires, etc. etc. etc. Everybody wants that last paycheck.

Logicalman

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Re: Is the MLS in danger of...
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2011, 02:10:10 AM »

I share your concerns there Finn, though it will take a lot more ex-European players to bring the MLS down to just another sunset league.

As Steve said, currently such players bring more to the MLS than just extra money and fame, they do bring experience that, if the coaches nurture, can help the native players up their game more than mere training could ever do, and as those players improve, their game gets better and there will be less room for the ex-pats looking for the sunset league to grow old in.

The US has a real and widespread talent pool just waiting to get noticed and brought on, and perhaps, one day, we'll see the likes of ABC, etc, picking up games to show to the masses, rather than only the more specialized channels that do so currently, usually for payments.


Offline YankeeJim

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Re: Is the MLS in danger of...
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2011, 02:23:28 AM »
YankeeJim - I think the issue with Adu, is that he was never really as young as he was reported to be. He came over from Ghana with no passport and his age was estimated. I reckon his development stunted because by the time he was at Benfica he was already older than believed.

I saw him in a youth tournament with the under 17 US squad. After one of the matches I got close enough to hear him talking to some AYSO kids and while he may not have been 14, he was no more then 16. He was a boy. Nice & polite as I remember. He also was a Nike made millionaire which probably did more to kill his growth then anything.

To my earlier comment, Jonathan Spector was also on the team. He was listed as a striker and because of injuries was ask to play center back. He had never done so prior to that tournament. Would he have been a better defender today if someone had recognized him as such when he was younger?

Mitch

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Re: Is the MLS in danger of...
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2011, 08:50:30 AM »
Big difference in even as little a period as two years when it comes to development. Agree with the Nike thing though. I remember him being on Cribs and he was minted at about 15 years old. Perhaps he would have benefitted from being in a European club as a youth where he wouldn't have maybe stood out so much and would have needed to work harder.

Offline HatterDon

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Re: Is the MLS in danger of...
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2011, 05:37:28 PM »
YankeeJim - I think the issue with Adu, is that he was never really as young as he was reported to be. He came over from Ghana with no passport and his age was estimated. I reckon his development stunted because by the time he was at Benfica he was already older than believed.

I saw him in a youth tournament with the under 17 US squad. After one of the matches I got close enough to hear him talking to some AYSO kids and while he may not have been 14, he was no more then 16. He was a boy. Nice & polite as I remember. He also was a Nike made millionaire which probably did more to kill his growth then anything.

To my earlier comment, Jonathan Spector was also on the team. He was listed as a striker and because of injuries was ask to play center back. He had never done so prior to that tournament. Would he have been a better defender today if someone had recognized him as such when he was younger?

YJ, Spector was primarily an attacking midfielder -- #10 type. He only slotted into defense because a USA regular was suspended. It was at that match that ex-Hatter Jimmy Ryan, then United's youth coach now assistant to Red Nose, was supposed to be running the slide over the player Spector wound up marking. At the end of the match, Ryan signed Spector as a defender -- after perhaps the only time he played in defense. It was all the years that United spent converting him into a right winger that might have stunted his growth into a fairly decent attacking mid.

You may remember that, last season, he got a measure of revenge when West Ham put him in the midfield in a League Cup match against ManU. Spector scored twice and spent the rest of the season as a midfielder.


Offline YankeeJim

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Re: Is the MLS in danger of...
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2011, 01:35:27 AM »
I can't  dispue what you said but I saw him play 90 at CB twice in the under 17 tournment of which I spoke. This was played at the Lancaster, CA Soccer Center. No Stands, just grass. They cater more to AYSO and Select & the National team hasn't been back so perhaps they didn't like it. The reason I brought it up was because one of the local directors of the facility watch one of the matches with a group of us. I had come to see Freddy but Spector caught my attention becasue he absolutely commanded the back line against both the Costa Rican and Mexicans national teams. I brought Spector up as we stood talking about the match and the aformentioned director said that he was a striker & had never played defense. If you can't believe a stranger you meet in a park, who can you believe?   :wink: