Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The MLS - not as bad as otherwise thought

I watched part of the USA - Guatamala match this weekend. Something struck me. Bruce Arena fielded a team full of MLS based players. Now the USA won 1-0, against Honduras (the 58 ranked team http://www.fifa.com/en/mens/statistics/index/0,2548,All-Feb-2005,00.html# ) and don't get me started with the Coca Cola world Rankings, they are as confusing as RPI rankings for college basketball...but what made me think as I watched this game was how far the US have come. 20 years ago I remember watching the US national team lose to Racing Club de Paris 7-0. Now they have reached the 1/4 finals of the world cup and are a perennial presence in the World Cups. I think that having a domestic league like MLS is good for US soccer, the players get a domestic league where to hone their skills, while playing with or against one another giving themselves some cohesion for the world game. Granted some of the best US players decide to go abroad to try to compete in the world's best leagues (and make the big $$), but they do so after having spent some time in the MLS (granted not all are doing this, but it appears the majority do so). This means when the US competes their team is more cohesive, better working as a unit. We saw this again in the Euro 2004 when Greece came out of no where to win the trophy beating more talent filled teams such as Portugal (twice), defending champion France, and the Czech Republic. Does this mean that the US will hoist the World Cup soon? Not sure, and I strongly doubt it. Winning the World Cup takes lots of talent and luck. But I must say, that the US will remain competitive in the world scene, just don't let the magic formula get away.

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