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MLS: Point and Counterpoint
March 9, 2014 3:57 PM   Subscribe

POINT: Getting Ready For MLS? Allow Us To Convince You Otherwise COUNTERPOINT:Reading Deadspin? Allow A Former MLS Player To Convince You Otherwise
posted by josher71 (69 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Not excited about MLS? Get your ass down to RFK stadium and let the thunder of the Barra Brava section convince you otherwise. Fool.

I mean damn.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:04 PM on March 9 [7 favorites]


If you are saying that you'd rather watch Stoke City vs. West Ham instead of Seattle Sounders vs. Portland, you aren't being honest.

BUUUUUUUUURN.
posted by asterix at 4:18 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


It's the diehard true believer, enacting his worst Europhiliac impulses by aping the behavior of European fútbol fans.

This. So annoying.
posted by chrchr at 4:22 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


I don't get why Rugby hasn't caught on in the US. Out of all of the "footballs," it's easily the most fun to watch.
posted by schmod at 4:31 PM on March 9 [8 favorites]


I don't care that much about soccer but I went to the first MLS Cup and it was awesome. I'm sure they're right that I'd see better soccer if I watched Arsenal on TV, but so what? I'd have seen better baseball if I hadn't been an Orioles fan for the last 30 years. If the sport is sound, I don't see why a local team can't draw.

Also, the fake-European team names are great, and the people who complain about them are probably the same people who complain about the awesome team names in the World League of American Football.
posted by escabeche at 4:33 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


The counterpoint article seriously contains the following:
The truth is, MLS is a crazy, messed-up league. I played in a locker room where 10 guys didn't speak English. (I learned Spanish quicker than my friends who studied the language for seven years.)
God forbid!
posted by hoyland at 4:35 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


I thought this was trying to convince people to avoid a Master of Library Science degree, but I guess not....
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:38 PM on March 9 [31 favorites]


The counterpoint gets sillier. There are some more weird xenophobic overtones and then he (who has gone to play in Sweden) tells us "MLS is the best of the best of American players... These are the guys that survived and proved to be the best that America has to offer." How many American players who can hack a top European league play in the MLS by choice? I suppose maybe Brian McBride did.

The MLS isn't my thing, but it might have been, given somewhat different timing (and had they had a team in Chicago from the beginning--it was kind of hard to get excited about a league that didn't exist where you lived that you couldn't see on the TV), but it has its place. This guy is, however, doing a very poor job of convincing me of that.

Also, the fake-European team names are great

The pedant in me is rather bothered by the lack of understanding of how teams are named. The early names were insufferably cheesy, but I'm not sure they've actually employed a naming convention outside of X FC or FC X correctly. (Well, there's nothing wrong with calling a team Houston Dynamo. But you probably want to avoid it anyway.)
posted by hoyland at 4:50 PM on March 9


This being Metafilter, I seriously thought the articles were going to be about why you shouldn't do an MLIS (Master of Library and Information Sciences).
posted by pravit at 4:53 PM on March 9 [6 favorites]


How many American players who can hack a top European league play in the MLS by choice?

Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey are the only ones I can think of right off hand.
posted by josher71 at 4:54 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


I played in a locker room where 10 guys didn't speak English.

And that's different from MLB or the NHL how?
posted by octothorpe at 4:56 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


The pedant in me is rather bothered by the lack of understanding of how teams are named. The early names were insufferably cheesy, but I'm not sure they've actually employed a naming convention outside of X FC or FC X correctly.

Real SLC annoys me, because I'm not sure what kind of royalty is going on in Salt Lake other than their manufactured stuff with Madrid, but Chivas USA I can kind of live with.
posted by LionIndex at 5:02 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


D.C. United may not be using United "correctly," but they're hardly the most famous team to misuse the term.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:12 PM on March 9


This TLA has nothing to do with Multi-Layer Switching, does it? ;-)
posted by MikeWarot at 5:13 PM on March 9


I thought Metafilter was too Ameri-centric. Now we're being handed posts on soccer?
posted by codswallop at 5:15 PM on March 9


Not excited about MLS? Get your ass down to RFK stadium and let the thunder of the Barra Brava section convince you otherwise.

Fuck, I used to be a DC United fan, I had goddamn season tickets but then there was too much championship winning, so the league gutted the team, sent all their best players packing, dissolved everything good, wiped out the fuckin' team, sowed salt in the pitch, and then went about strengthening the big markets with marquee European retirees to rub it in our faces.

And DC will never get its new stadium because the mayoral race is on and what who? Soccer? Win a fuckin' championship you has-beens, winners get stadiums, we need hospitals and firetrucks. And you know the league won't do much to help out, because it's DC United, man, the league fuckin' hates DC. Goddamn shit.

DC ain't getting a stadium and the team's moving to Tuscaloosa, will it take the Barra Brava with it? You heard it here first.

Fuck that shit. I'd rather root for Swansea.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:24 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


Ice Cream Socialist: I actually do root for Swansea as well. It is a lonely existence.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:33 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey are the only ones I can think of right off hand.

Dempsey is an example of someone picking Europe over the MLS. I understood his move to Seattle as being about going into career wind-down mode. Sure, he didn't hang on in Europe until the last, but I don't think he should count as "top talent chooses the MLS". Same thing with Bradley and picking Europe, though he seems to have chosen to come back. Donovan is weird because he certainly has the talent to have not spent virtually his entire career in the MLS, but I'm not sure how many offers he had elsewhere after failing at Bayer Leverkusen. After the loan spells at Everton, someone probably would have wanted him (I think Everton wanted him but didn't have the cash), so perhaps he did choose the MLS at that point.
posted by hoyland at 5:35 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


I accidentally saw fragments of a game between Swansea and [someone] in a bar the other day, and was deeply saddened to discover that it's pronounced "swan-zee" (two syllables) and not "swan-see-uh" (three syllables), like in the Joanna Newsom song of the same title.

ha ha HAH it is the most obnoxious pretentious "I don't watch sportsball" comment ever. no one can ever top this one. just try. wait, don't try, because you can't.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:38 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


I really should go see our local (non MLS) soccer team this year. I say that every year but there's really no excuse since it's about a mile from my house and the tickets top out at $20 each.
posted by octothorpe at 5:41 PM on March 9


D.C. United may not be using United "correctly," but they're hardly the most famous team to misuse the term.

Yeah, I hear the legislative team from America call themselves "The United States".
posted by hal_c_on at 5:42 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


I just went to the Sounders home opener along with 39,000 other fans PLUS 400 in from Kansas City. The skies urinated on us endlessly and it was still loud and great, with a fantastic tifo (fan display). I got hugs and high fives from other season ticket holders in my area - most of us there for the past six seasons.

Last year, I went to Manchester to see the first team I ever followed in soccer, Manchester United, beat West Ham 1-0 and it was great fun, but insanely expensive. For how happy I was to be at the game? It was about the same for both, but in Seattle, I can catch a beer with my team's players and that really does make it pretty special. I can understand that if your only access to the sport is via tv, you'd want the most watchable soccer, but if you have a local team, the experience can be something totally personal. I feel lucky to have it. (And also a women's pro league team!)
posted by taterpie at 5:44 PM on March 9


The author of the first piece sounds like one of those assholes who only watches Barcelona and won't shut up about how fabulous they are. That's about as annoying as meeting a foreigner who can't stop talking about how much he loves the Yankees, aren't they great?

You don't root for your team because they're the best. You root for them because they're yours. If you don't understand the appeal of watching your local boys hack and flub their way to another 1-1 draw, that's fine. But leave us in peace.

And he calls us fans "Eurocentric" but he himself is as Eurocentric as it is possible to be. Are the fans in Mexico or Botswana or Japan full of shit too? They watch their local clubs even though they're not the best in the world.
posted by Fnarf at 5:44 PM on March 9 [6 favorites]


Awww Jeez, I don't want to be a hater but damnit if Deadspin (both articles) don't make compelling points against the local (Whitecaps) side. Virtually every point made could also be applied to the CFL, which I despise with the intensity of a thousand suns, and thus very easily facilitates my bigotry against the stupid league and it's terrible form of football.

In criticism of MSL fans, the hyper enthusiastic "super fans" are incredibly off putting. In the same way that no one on earth is more Italian than an Italian that has never been to Italy, no one is a bigger soccer fan with obnoxious chants than the local supporters. Regardless of the fact they have no tradition of such avid fandom.
posted by Keith Talent at 5:54 PM on March 9


ha ha HAH it is the most obnoxious pretentious "I don't watch sportsball" comment ever. no one can ever top this one. just try. wait, don't try, because you can't.

I thought everyone knew how to pronounce "Swansea" because of the song by the same name on the unreleased Housemartins demo.
posted by escabeche at 5:55 PM on March 9 [9 favorites]


The faux-Euro team names have always reminded me of store brand sodas, like Mountain Mist or Dr. Thunder. Which makes me think that MLS is probably also an acceptable but inferior alternative. And if they don't want to be seen that way, why have they made their branding a poor imitation of European branding?
posted by vogon_poet at 5:59 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


MLS is astroturf. It pretends to local roots and traditions and uses pretentious names but it's not actually the real thing. Some of my soccer-mad coworkers go to the Philadelphia Union games periodically, but most of them are EPL fans (some from the US and some from Nepal) who use it as a way to get their soccer fixes on.
posted by graymouser at 5:59 PM on March 9


I actually do root for Swansea as well. It is a lonely existence.

Not so lonely. I mentioned them because in fact, I do too.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:00 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


Are the fans in Mexico or Botswana or Japan full of shit too? They watch their local clubs even though they're not the best in the world.

Not to mention fans of clubs in the lower tiers of European football. Such a dumb argument.
posted by Greener Backyards at 6:02 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


MLS is astroturf. It pretends to local roots and traditions and uses pretentious names but it's not actually the real thing. Some of my soccer-mad coworkers go to the Philadelphia Union games periodically, but most of them are EPL fans (some from the US and some from Nepal) who use it as a way to get their soccer fixes on.

Your friends don't find MLS local enough, so they watch the EPL instead. Makes sense.
posted by NBelarski at 6:03 PM on March 9 [3 favorites]


I don't get why Rugby hasn't caught on in the US. Out of all of the "footballs," it's easily the most fun to watch.

I am an American, and care about my American football team so much that watching their rivalry and bowl games isn't so much "fun" as "like watching nailbiter election returns," but I have to say that by far my favorite code of football aesthetically speaking is aussie rules. The free flow of soccer with the physicality and more interesting (to me) scoring tempo of football and the two rugbies. Stream it wherever you are and you won't be disappointed.
posted by sy at 6:06 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


Multiple Listing Service ?
posted by rfs at 6:06 PM on March 9


ha, I like MLS-- watched Robbie Keane blow some goals and a PK last night in LA's first loss-- but the Deadspin article is, well, dead on. I watched Crystal Palace play Southampton on NBC today and even that match is clearly a superior product.

Regarding all the foibles of MLS, this is the absolute most annoying (to me): How is it more "authentic" and more "fútbol" to call a team Football Club Dallas when the league itself is called Major League Soccer?

Absolutely drives me nuts to see all the FCs in a league called MLS. It's cheesy. That and the league ownership of all teams leaving you feeling like you're watching a rigged game sometimes.

But, anyway, it's still fun to watch, and the league is getting better each year. So... go Galaxy!
posted by xmutex at 6:08 PM on March 9


Also, the fake-European team names are great

If so, they're great as kitsch, in pretty much the same way as a replica Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas. In 50 years maybe the kitsch will acquire a veneer of tradition, like the Shea Stadium home-run apple, but for now it's just a really weird form of niche branding.

But then this is the thing about rooting for expansion teams and relocated teams in general, and it's just more obvious with MLS because it's an entire league of expansion teams — to the fan whose sports rooting is more, er, rooted, emerging from a lifelong (or longer) history between a team and a place, it's always going to look like bandwagon jumping.

Anyhow, I wonder how much the lifelong fan-team relationship can survive now that people are so frequently mobile. It seems like the "casual fans," as well as the weird Europhilic fashion victims in MLS fandom that this article rightly derides, are people who'll tend to change their allegiances as they move, adopting a team as a way of picking up an interest in a new city, and MLS fandom is maybe catering deliberately more to those types than the established major sports.
posted by RogerB at 6:22 PM on March 9


Your friends don't find MLS local enough, so they watch the EPL instead. Makes sense.

It makes sense to watch as much good soccer as you can for whatever reason you want, especially if you're in the USA where in a lot of places there's a lot of foreign stuff televised and not a strong local league.

I'm a forlorn and eternally frustrated DC United fan who roots for Swansea but actually enjoys watching the top BPL teams kick ass. I hate the way Man City and Chelsea are run but I like most of the players. The only players I hate, play for Liverpool. Fuckin' Agger and Skrtl, those bastards.

I watch Spanish games and root for Bilbao if they're on, but who can honestly say they hate watching Barca or Real Madrid? I guess if you like being angry, but if you appreciate sublimity you can't help but say, shiiiiiit man they're good. As long as I mute Ray Hudson when Messi's on the pitch, I'm golden.

I turn on PSG to see if Zlatan Ibrahimovic is going to choke an opponent out or kick a teammate in the head. And watching top teams in Serie A is a trip, it's like they had a casting call for "footballer types" and they all showed up! They even brought their own hairstylists! Plus you see amazing footwork.

It's kind of liberating when your home team gets the shit end of the shit stick. It has allowed me to root for whoever I want, whenever I want, without worrying about loyalty or anything. My dad's an Arsenal fan who says "we" all the time about the Gunners. I think it's silly. I'm from Maryland. my local team is DC United, and if they're playing I root for them. Otherwise I dunno, I'll root for whoever I please.

I started rooting for Swansea when I saw the way they play. Very clean, good passing, not such crunching tacklers but savvy interceptors of the pass. Good formation. That's class, to me. One day I'll find myself fond of some other team who plays more to my tastes. So it goes.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:24 PM on March 9 [5 favorites]


Al I know is that I miss the New York Cosmos something fierce. NASL4Life
posted by KingEdRa at 6:33 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to hear all the complaints about the faux Euro names.

One reason there are so many, of course, is that 10 years ago or so there was a feeling that names like "Burn" and "Wiz" were too Americanized and were alienating the pre-existing soccer fans in the US, who followed foreign leagues.

The changes were part of a larger attempt by MLS to re-brand itself as a "normal" soccer league and appeal to those fans, a process which included getting rid of some of the unique features that MLS had incorporated to try to cater to Americans who may not be soccer fans already, including: the shootout, having automatic extra time in regular season games, and having the clock count down.

Now that the league is on solid footing and that soccer has become a mainstream spectator sport, I hope that the pendulum swings back in the direction of Americanization and that we can lose some of the needless fake Euro trappings.

But to bash MLS because it's too Euro and then turn around an support a European team is, uh, silly.
posted by NBelarski at 6:34 PM on March 9


asterix: "BUUUUUUUUURN."

Dallas 'till I die.
posted by fireoyster at 6:41 PM on March 9


Your friends don't find MLS local enough, so they watch the EPL instead. Makes sense.

No, they like the EPL because it's good soccer. (The Nepali guys watched it when they lived in Nepal too.) They give half-hearted support for MLS because it's local. But it still comes across as fake.
posted by graymouser at 6:43 PM on March 9


I have to say that by far my favorite code of football aesthetically speaking is aussie rules. The free flow of soccer with the physicality and more interesting (to me) scoring tempo of football and the two rugbies.

Long live Gaelic football!

Man, this is very "I'm only into artisinal sriracha" of me, but the only soccer team I have any rooting affinity for is the local juco men's team. I'm not exactly sure what the financial deal is, but I'm pretty sure the head coach was basically left to his own devices, and he somehow got hooked up with an agent from England, who sends him five or six bewildered Brits who thought they were going to New York City every season. The team is usually rounded out by kids who are recent immigrants from soccer-playing nations and have lived in the US long enough to get resident tuition and one or two local kids who mistakenly thought this was the kind of team that welcomed walk-ons. They run the table every year. It isn't any fun to watch until the postseason, but until then it's hilarious.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:54 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Al I know is that I miss the New York Cosmos something fierce. NASL4Life

I can't decide if I'm happy there's a new Tampa Bay Rowdies, or disappointed because it's Just Not The Same, Man.

(Rodney Marsh! Steve Wegerle! I'm not even into sports and I remember them. And that I wasn't supposed to like the Cosmos or the Strikers.)
posted by Foosnark at 7:24 PM on March 9


Nobody cares? Successful troll article gets pageviews, I guess. Portland loves its Timbers and Thorns FCs.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:40 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Al I know is that I miss the New York Cosmos something fierce. NASL4Life

But... But there's a New York Cosmos in the NASL now. With Marcos Senna, who's pretty freaking amazing.
posted by taterpie at 7:43 PM on March 9


Nobody cares? Successful troll article gets pageviews, I guess. Portland loves its Timbers and Thorns FCs.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:40 PM on March 9 [+] [!]


From a Sounders fan, thank you. The original article is drivel. "Boohoo MLS isn't as good as European leagues Haha look at MLS trying to be like European leagues." This article is ugly Americanism at its finest. MLS isn't the best in the world so we shouldn't bother watching it? Let's conveniently overlook that some of our best in the world sports aren't even played by most other countries. Like we need another voice to join the "soccer isn't a real sport" voices in this country. Every league has its problems, its individual styles and its mediocre teams, as well as its superstars. And for many, the beautiful game the world over means we support more than one team. I have an MLS team, a SPL team, a La Liga team, etc. I enjoy watching them all. I had to eyeroll the criticism of fans. Has the author even BEEN to a game abroad? There's a reason so many leagues have banned alcohol in the stadiums or have intense security measures in place for away fans. Ugh.
posted by weeyin at 8:24 PM on March 9


No, they like the EPL because it's good soccer. (The Nepali guys watched it when they lived in Nepal too.) They give half-hearted support for MLS because it's local. But it still comes across as fake.

I relate to this feeling. I grew up in South India and at a very young age (and at a rather depressing period in my adolescence) I latched on to Everton FC and never truly looked back. For the last few years, I've been living in the Bay Area and have been going to SJ Earthquakes matches, but it's been difficult for me to cultivate anything more than a very casual interest in the team. It certainly isn't because of inferior skill levels - there have been innumerable brutish players at Goodison over the years!

In trying to put my finger on why this is, I guess it is because I was trying to project the same feelings and reasons for why I started supporting the Toffees ~12 years ago, onto the Earthquakes. And it just wasn't fitting and didn't feel genuine enough. At least for me, local proximity isn't a compelling enough reason.

I've heard a phrase often expressed, that "you don't choose a club, the club chooses you", and my experiences suggest that there is more than a kernel of truth in that.

I also seem to be cynical about the franchise model of teams where the main financial stakeholders are the wealthy franchise owners (who can just move the franchise to another city if they want to), which is philosophically opposite to the European model where the main financial stakeholders are the players who have freedom of contract. Even though there are good points and bad points about either system, at least for me the former seems to have an inhibiting impact on sustaining interest. Maybe fans of franchises that have pitched up and moved away can relate.


After the loan spells at Everton, someone probably would have wanted him (I think Everton wanted him but didn't have the cash), so perhaps he did choose the MLS at that point.

Everton indeed wanted him, and tried to get him on short term loans many times since. He was a very good fit for us, and yes, since the MLS uses him a lot in their marketing and advertising, they can demand a hefty sum for his services which Everton plainly doesn't have.
posted by all the versus at 8:43 PM on March 9


The early names were insufferably cheesy, but I'm not sure they've actually employed a naming convention outside of X FC or FC X correctly.




Hey, I'm just happy that Toronto waited until the start of the season before officially changing their name to Jermain Defoe FC.


I'm also happy that Toronto Western General Hospital had the good taste to hold off on the ribbon cutting for their new Jermain Defoe Memorial Rehabilitation Wing.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:12 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Also, once and for all, "soccer" is a perfectly cromulent name for "football." It stands for "association football," and is meant to distinguish it from "Rugby football"; and, as such, has been in use since the 1880s.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:33 PM on March 9 [6 favorites]


The thing that gets me about MLS is that so much of it seems completely manufactured.

The names are fake Euro. The Kansas City Wizards (who I watched once at Arrowhead) are now Sporting Kansas City?
Really?
The "Timbers Army", who are popular in these parts, seem to just wholesale import tradtions from other clubs. I mean, "Rose City 'til I die?". Tifo displays? Calling the cheer captains capos?

It just comes off as fake and not home-grown.
Of course, when you're comparing it to something like the NFL or Baseball, where fans have had literally generations to hone their traditions, it might be unfair to soccer.

But as a potential casual fan, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Disclaimer: I watch neither MLS or Euro soccer.
posted by madajb at 10:36 PM on March 9


Oh cool, another "American soccer sucks" argument. Why can’t they just start a full blown, top tier sports league in a country that doesn’t have a big history with it? How hard can it be?
posted by bongo_x at 10:56 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


People who like to define what a sports fan is are a severe minority, thank god.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:07 AM on March 10


Also, once and for all, "soccer" is a perfectly cromulent name for "football." It stands for "association football," and is meant to distinguish it from "Rugby football"; and, as such, has been in use since the 1880s.

It occurred to me recently that there might be a class issue at play here, at least in the UK. The sort of people who might say 'soccer', the sort of people who would need to distinguish it from 'rugger' (rugby) are going to be the upper classes, from the southern universities where they played rugby. So indeed, the word has a long and useful history, but from the point of view of a typical English football fan, using it marks you out as an outsider, an enemy almost.

I'm also mildly amused to see US soccer teams adopting European naming conventions, when all the sports teams in Australasia are going the other way and copying Americans (the A-League has the Victory, Heart, Glory, Roar, Phoenix and Mariners, for example).
posted by Pink Frost at 1:51 AM on March 10


For whatever it's worth, it seems to this willful-sports-ignorant that the northwest, at least, does have something like an actual soccer culture, even if it's sort of a young one. Actually - I can't really blame the Sounders or the Timbers for enthusiastically embracing imported traditions, because to me it seems less like fakeness and more like, I don't know, like an adolescent learning how to be a grown-up, and trying to act way more adult than they actually are. I guess it can seem cringeworthy, but, hey, come on guys. They're learning. Give 'em a break!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:55 AM on March 10


What I like is that the Bridgeview Fire was originally supposed to be the Chicago Jazz. The league had made up logos and everything. However, what MLS didn't do was actually talk to the people buying the Chicago franchise -- who promptly came out with one of the better strips and logos made in sports. Because, really, Chicago Jazz?
posted by eriko at 4:50 AM on March 10


What is certainly worth pointing out is that a major part of the reason that MLS fan clubs have "imported" traditions like tifo and capos, etc. is that many of those clubs were started by (at least in the case of DC) folks from latin America or Europe who were living in the US and just excited to have local soccer matches to go to. They brought along what they knew from home when they started their clubs.
posted by Inkoate at 6:35 AM on March 10


Not even Chicago Blues or maybe SH Chicago.

I watch Spanish games and root for Bilbao if they're on, but who can honestly say they hate watching Barca or Real Madrid? I guess if you like being angry, but if you appreciate sublimity you can't help but say, shiiiiiit man they're good.

Real spent a decade buying individually great players but never bothered to make a team out of them. Mourinho managed that, but they were so combative, especially in games against Barcelona, that even senior figures in Real wanted him out. They treat their home-grown players without much consideration (Raúl, Casillas, Callejón) despite having very good academies and some of their most expensive deals are in effect subsidised by local authorities while unemployment in Spain is at 25%. At least they got a real (ha) coach, but there are plenty of reasons to dislike Real.

I'd agree though that with Bielsa and Valverde Bilbao have been playing good football.

Also, isn't Bayern the equipe du jour to love/hate? Barcelona aren't who they used to be.
posted by ersatz at 6:39 AM on March 10


I have to say that by far my favorite code of football aesthetically speaking is aussie rules.

Back when ESPN was just starting out and desperate for programming, they'd show Aussie football late at night. Good times.

Go Hawks!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:42 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


uh, why can't we like both European and MLS...and Mexican and Argentine and Brazilian and J-League and whatever we can stream on our computers? Americans and their need for competition - "my leagues better than yours" and if we can't be the best it's not worth watching. Like to guy in the over-sized pickup truck with a small penis.
posted by incandissonance at 7:20 AM on March 10


I thought this was trying to convince people to avoid a Master of Library Science degree, but I guess not....

I misread it at first and was trying to get people to avoid My Little Pony.
posted by Evilspork at 8:26 AM on March 10


I misread it at first and was trying to get people to avoid My Little Pony.

Teamwork is Magic
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:53 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of the dislike of MLS from supporters of European football comes from the implication of disloyalty--being told one should support a local team, or should watch MLS. This doesn't sit well with people who may have spent many years, much time and money, and a certain amount of sacrifice following football before it was easy and local. They (we) were and are loyal and made a lot of effort when it was difficult and lonely to do so in the US; now they feel they have a previous relationship.

I can remember the 2004 European championship when everyone had to congregate at one house (mine) because it was the only one that got the satellite feed. Friends, relatives of friends, some guy who worked in the same building as a friend, etc. On the day of the Denmark-Sweden match some vacationing Swedes showed up, knocking on the door; they had found a friend of a friend of a cousin connection and driven a few hours out of their way. We all squeezed in and watched. (2-2 draw, by the way).

If I started watching today, MLS might be an option, but it's too late for me to change clubs. Now that Arsenal have thrilled me and broken my heart, I'm stuck with them. The ultimate unrequited love affair: Not only does a club not know you exist, it can't know.
posted by librosegretti at 9:15 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Americans and their need for competition - "my leagues better than yours" and if we can't be the best it's not worth watching.

Who is this America? Maybe use a slightly narrower brush.
posted by bongo_x at 9:18 AM on March 10


So many rules...

Can't I just enjoy my local league play without offending anyone?
posted by maximum sensing at 11:38 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Can't I just enjoy my local league play

I dunno about you, but I can't enjoy my local MLS team, because they play in freaking Gillette, which is basically inaccessible to anybody in the Boston area who doesn't want to spend all day in the car (or, as with many people in the city, does not own a car). Add in the fact that they don't get shown on broadcast, and I never actually see them, despite being interested..

Compare that to the Boston Cannons (lacrosse), who play right in the middle of town, at prices around half the Revs. That is how you get people interested in a local sports team.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 12:46 PM on March 10


It's true, a suburban stadium makes it difficult to get to a game. I only started following the Fire last season and Toyota Park is a solid 2-hour ride for me on public transit. I watch streams online and keep up with news.

In any case my point was more along the lines of asking: why worry about aping european soccer traditions [when they're the most commonly accepted] or whether it's the best league in the world [when it's the best league in the country] or ultimately, whether someone else likes something you don't (not directed at you, personally)?
posted by maximum sensing at 4:46 PM on March 10


I never understand the argument which says "it's just imported, it's not homegrown". I'm pretty good friends with the head of tifo for the ECS in Seattle, and I know that he and a rotating crew of about 30 people put in weeks of work for that minute-long display at the start of the home opener. It's not like you buy that shit at Home Depot. That's hundreds of hours of painting, rigging, sewing, all volunteer, all unpaid, nights and weekends, just because they love the club and want to do something to show it. I saw Portland's tifo display and it looked like it probably took around the same amount of time. Sure, there's a lot of imported songs and chants, but that's because the imported ones are the ones that more people know, so you hear more people singing them. The more original or tailored ones take, surprise surprise, time to catch on and become a tradition.

You start with the things people know. How many clubs sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" again? You think it's because they're all secretly Liverpool fans? If these things are manufactured, it's because the fans are making it themselves. Believe me, if it were manufactured from the front offices, the chants would be closer to "Sounders! We give you free scarves! Use the extra money to buy an Xbox One!" And then Timbers would start up a PS4 campaign just to be contrary.
posted by Errant at 6:00 PM on March 10


The fuck does this have to do with Emma Watson?
posted by oceanjesse at 6:22 PM on March 10


I guess I have to stop liking Mexican and French food too. And if I don't use an outrageous accent when I pronounce said foods, I shall be mocked.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:23 PM on March 10


Whitecaps here.

Jesus H Christ. If you don't want to watch the MLS don't. I don't care. 21,000 out for the Caps opener against New York, 1200 Southsiders members standing strong and we killed the league champions 4-1. And I watched my other team Tottenham play a shambles against Chelsea.

I've supported Spurs since 1978 and the Whitecaps since 2008. Last weekend, the Caps were the superior product. And standing there singing my heart out for them wasn't astroturfing at all.

Back in your hole, haters. I just don't care. We just don't care. Enjoy your baseball or golf or whatever you watch while you are despising us.
posted by salishsea at 12:47 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Also can I just say that terrace culture is a folk tradition and as such it observes the basic rules of a folk tradition. If you like something you make it yours. Sometimes you make something yourself and it spreads around. Football supporters around the world borrow and steal each other's songs and ideas for celebrating their clubs. If it's imported it's because the traditions are older. But there is some fine supporter culture on this continent and it is doing its own thing quite beautifully without either the violence of some places or the downright racism and homophobia and extreme politics of other places. MLS supporter culture has found a niche and a a character all its own and it's awesome.

in Vancouver we have two supporters groups that make up a lot of chants. And some of our traditions - like the one we started for Joe Cannon where everyone says sssssssssssssBOOM on goal kicks - have started spreading to other grounds as well. Take the haters out to a match and stand them up in the supporters sections and dare them to say it's unauthentic or astroturfed. I haven't met a single visitor to our section who hasn't been truly astonished and delighted by hundreds of adults singing together for their team for 90 minutes.

madajb, you seem to have some pretty fixed ideas about something you never watch. Go to a Timbers match and stand with the Timbers Army for one lousy match. Then come back here and tell us how manufactured it is.
posted by salishsea at 1:29 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


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