Wednesday, July 05, 2006

MLS too easy??

Is MLS too easy?

The answer really depends on which player you are talking about. For most guys who play in MLS, it is the right level of competition for them. They are facing similar level players and are challenged eveytime they step on the pitch. Then you get some of the guys who look bored and sorta walk through the games. The two I am writing about are Clint Dempsy and Landon Donovan.

I forced my girlfriend to sit through the RBNY vs. New England Revolution match on Saturday, which the Revs won 3-2. She isn't that big a soccer fan, she doesn't understand the rules and just sorta watches the game as it happens. I drag her to every DC United match that I go to, and she enjoys the live games much better than the ones on the TV. So as we were watching the RBNY vs. New England match, she really wasn't too thrilled with me or the fact that the game was on.

However, she pointed something out that set me off on this. She commented Dempsey looked like he was walking around the field when the other guys were running. She asked me why he looked like he wasn't even trying and yet he was making everyone else on the field look bad. The guys scored two goals, granted the first one was a fluke, but he looked like he was bored and didn't need to try out there. Further more, in his three matches that he has been back from, he setup the winning goal in the first, scored 2 goals for the win on Saturday, and scored again on Tuesday. Has the game gotten too easy for Deuce?

The Return of LD?
Landon...did you miss the flight to Germany? You were lost against the Czechs, "showed up" against Italy and got lost again against Ghana. Why didn't you shoot at the open net against Ghana? If you made the trip to Germany, I know that you made the return trip to LA, as you have become the knight in shining armor for the defending chumps, scoring 3 goals in 2 matches, winning them both for your dear old Frankie. Where was the fire you say you have now? Maybe we should have beaten you down before the Cup, just so you had a point to prove.

The thing I am getting at in this is that MLS is a good league, for the 98% of players that are in it that are at its level of play. It is improving their skills and making them better soccer players. It will get better as its players get better. What it won't do is allow the players that have progressed faster than the rest of the leagues players, to get better. They have peaked in MLS. MLS has done its job in its 11 years, it has created great American players. Now it must allow the Great American players to go abroad and play against Great International players, which are better than our Great American players. To get better you need to play against better competition. Being selfish as a US National Team fan, I want our Great American Players to play against Great International players. I am also torn as I want the rest of the US National team members in MLS to get better, so having better players in MLS is pivotal for their development. That is where the foreign players can come in. Jimmy Conrad, when he isn't scoring own goals or getting red cards, is developing as he faces the likes of Christian Gomez, Jaime Moreno, Youri Djorkaeff, Dwayne De Rosario, Carols Ruiz; all good international players who have the skills to challenge him. However, I feel that Conrad is not in the same skill level as Deuce or Donovan. Yes he played great for the USA in Germany, however, his actions in MSL as he has returned have shown that he still has work to do.

MLS is a great American Soccer league. I support it, attend matches, and I am glued to the TV/internet when I cannot attend matches. I watch the Red Bull's when they are on ESPN2, just because it is MLS, and i hate the Red Bulls. All that said, I think it is too easy for some of our players. I do not think it will get them to the next level. If MLS was to give them better competition, such as the proposed CONCACAF Champions League, then I might reconsider suggesting that they leave for Europe. But I think with better competition, comes greater development.


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