Video: The Beckham View From Across The Pond, Sort Of

Dare I say the game is overtaking these lads?

An overseas video on how Beckham–and MLS–are viewed by dare we say xenophobic pundits.

Interesting here that the two ex-players involved in this exchange has interesting backgrounds:

Dion Dublin played some of his best ball at Coventry in partnership with none other than MLS star Darren Huckerby–he featured for about 15 games at Manchester United but over 140 at Aston Villa as well. Ray Stubbs–perhaps the most critical on the broadcast–never played above League Four I believe in England.

Perhaps the most cutting correspondent is Patrick Barclay–a sportswriter, not ex-player.

This is not take completely antagonist view, but merely to illuminate “credentials.” Whether the critics are right on their review of MLS, the naive approach is one that won’t fly as soccer becomes more and more global.

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47 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dth on 2011/11/22 at 11:21 PM

    Dublin played for Manchester United and Aston Villa.

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/11/22 at 11:25 PM

      Of course, it doesn’t mean they’re any less closed-minded.

      Obviously they don’t know much, but then again they’re getting money anyway. The day the money stops coming in they’ll start learning some things. That may be why England’s wealth is actually a handicap–whenever they lose they console themselves that things can’t be that bad: look at all the cash they’ve got! And so the money, rather than being a resource for boosting themselves, becomes a dependency.

      Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/11/22 at 11:31 PM

      Dublin played for Manchester United for about 15 games, for perspective–though he spent the bulk of his career at Aston Villa.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Kay20 on 2011/11/23 at 1:24 AM

    I’ll be antagonist. This type of stupid commentary on MLS pisses me off. Clearly they took no time to research the league. Plus, no mention of the standard of play LA played at (not including Adam Cristman). Also, Houston is not Podunkville USA.

    A championship is a championship – and it was a hard earned one. Wonder what these pundits would have thought of the LA/RSL semifinal. Or CCL play.

    And if they have spent any time watching QPR and some of the bottom feeders play in the EPL, they shouldn’t throw stones. League 1 my butt.

    Whatever. Ultimately I think this article is right – this attitude in general is starting to just sound ignorant, outdated, and OLD.

    Kudos to The Guardian for finally covering MLS on a more dedicated basis. And not just David Beckham. All semi-final matches (not just LAs) had minute by minute coverage, and multiple stories. And the stories were *well-informed.* They are planning to continue MLS coverage next year.

    Progress.

    Reply

    • Posted by Zack (TDA) on 2011/11/23 at 3:12 AM

      To be fair, though, that was the US version of The Guardian. Don’t get me wrong — I completely agree that it’s ABSOLUTELY progress. However, we should distinguish between online editions so it’s clear that good ol’ Dion won’t be seeing much of those minute-by-minute reports.

      Reply

      • Posted by Kay20 on 2011/11/24 at 12:44 AM

        Doesn’t matter to me. A major UK publication is finally covering MLS. 1/3 of their readers are American. Again, not hard homework to do.

        Reply

  3. Posted by Zack (TDA) on 2011/11/23 at 2:42 AM

    “Naive approach” is right. Just my $.02 as a former resident of their island across the pond, but I can tell you that little-to-nothing is known about MLS in England — even from the most prominent football journalists. They get little bits and pieces through Daily Mirror gossip and that’s about it. Graham Ruthven, who writes for NYT fairly regularly, is the only one I’ve ever come across who has done his homework and actually watched MLS games regularly.

    I’ll be blunt: English football today is in a constant state of absolute denial. As the “golden generation” passes along without any silverware to show for itself, the nation is also being reminded not only at every major tournament, but also in their own league stocked with foreign players, managers and money, that there might possibly be different (and, GASP!, equally valid) ways to approach The Beautiful Game. Alongside this, they are just now warming up to the notion that a lot of traditional minnows might actually be getting half-decent at the sport. Decent enough to draw them at the last World Cup, for example. A nation with such a proud footballing heritage (and I truly mean “proud”) does not take kindly to this and uses every tool in their repertoire to belittle the progress of those nations. This may seem like a reductive analysis or a spiteful tirade, but I’m just telling you what years of pub banter and terrace chatter sounds like when people hear my accent. It’s important to view our league’s progress within and without our own domestic lens — even if the latter is horrendously ill-informed and obstinate.

    Don’t get me wrong, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Brian McBride have gone a long way to turn heads and change the perception of our field players. However, there’s still a prevailing feeling that Becks is playing around kids who couldn’t hack it at Macclesfield (which, really, they could. And so could you probably.)

    So, you can imagine my lack of surprise when I hear Dion say that Houston are League One/Two quality at best. He’s clearly never seen a match. I’m an avid Brentford supporter, so I’ve seen my share of lower league football. Whilst the two brands of soccer are very different tactically and stylistically (rendering them almost incomparable), you’ll be happy to know that there’s actually quite a gulf in quality between Houston and League Two. Houston are MILES above that level at their best…and probably closer to the lower end of the Championship when they’re fully healthy (I’ve seen my share of Watford at Vicarage Road…and I think the Orange Crush could definitely take them). LA could easily challenge for the top of the Championship if they were dropped in England. Simple as that.

    Reply

    • Posted by JGD on 2011/11/23 at 6:22 AM

      Great posting. I agree with the bit about the English having a proud soccer heritage and I imagine it’d be like the U.S. being challenged and beaten at American football by other countries. For right or wrong, the English view soccer as “their” game.

      Assessing the actual strength of the league when compared to the English system is difficult. It really must be on a team-by-team basis. I could see the stronger teams (LA, RSL, SSFC) playing competitive football in the Championship. As we saw this summer, even the best MLS squads are nowhere close to being able to compete with Prem teams. I do think however, that as a league, MLS is at least on par with the mid-range European leagues, such as Denmark, Belgium, and Austria. Certainly not something to be scoffed at, especially since the league is only, what, 18 years old?

      Reply

      • Posted by Thrasymachus on 2011/11/23 at 10:14 AM

        Hey, the Redbulls beat PSG and tied Arsenal at Emirates. Sure, it was pre-season for them but the games were decent and the NYRB did not look out of place whatsoever.

        Reply

      • Posted by Kay20 on 2011/11/24 at 1:03 AM

        The problem with those Prem games was depth. The minute the A team was taken out for MLS, the games went to hell in a handbasket. Our depth can’t handle those games.

        I’d go back and look at the first 45 minutes of those games to really judge (even then quite a few senior team members were missing from MLS sides). Guess what? ALL of them (including the Seattle blowout) were closer than you think.

        This isn’t to say MLS is the Premiership. That’s just dumb. But it is to say the gap is narrowing (but it’s still a chasm against the top teams in the EPL), so this “League One” business is plain retarded.

        Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/11/23 at 8:38 AM

      Of course there’s not much coverage. Are you really surprised about that?England is already saturated with PL and Championship games, and CL. Then there’s the other Top Euro leagues. Most English fans view MLS, J-League and A-League as emerging leagues. Even in the US, I can watch more non-MLS football…

      I guess it’s a bit like Americans not covering overseas basketball or baseball, no?

      Reply

      • Posted by kaya on 2011/11/23 at 10:28 AM

        I was thinking of a basketball analogy myself. I don’t think it’s a problem or surprising that the MLS doesn’t get coverage, but the dismissal of the league is pretty bad. I’m pretty sure if a basketball player were skewered by a commentator for leaving the NBA to play in Europe (pretend there’s no lockout), that person would be deservedly criticized.

        Reply

        • Posted by Freegle on 2011/11/24 at 8:02 AM

          The basketball analogy is the closest thing we have but isnt completely appropriate because of the finances.

          The most recent example of a player turning down NBA money to play in Europe was Josh Childress and it was strictly a business decision because he was a restricted free agent in the NBA and therefore, had limited profit potential there. He went to Olympiacos in Greece because he could sign a bigger contract as he was unrestricted overseas.

          Now, Josh Childress is, by no means, the basketball star/draw that Beckham, Henry, or even Keane is for football. As a result, it wasn’t earth shattering when he left the apex to join a “secondary” league. People were not sitting around discussing how Childress compares to overseas players. However, I do remember a general tone of “What is he doing?/Why would he do that?” It was certainly questioned, even if it wasnt with the arrogant indignation that these folks do in this clip.

          Let me be clear… I’m not defending these idiots. They sound uneducated condescending. As usual with these things, it’s not so much about what one is saying but moreso how they are saying it. But, the bottome line is, that we as fans, want our athletic heroes to seek the best competition, not the best contract. Not to belittle MLS, but football stars coming to the USA to play (and basketball players going to Greece for that matter) are not doing that. They should, however, get more credit for the service they are providing to the globalization of the game.

          Reply

      • Posted by Kay20 on 2011/11/24 at 1:00 AM

        George, we’re not talking about lack of coverage. We’re talking about uneducated and condescending reporting.

        Reply

    • Posted by Kay20 on 2011/11/24 at 12:54 AM

      GREAT post Zack. Great. I agree with you – I follow Everton as well, and the Americans on their boards often have to educate and remind folks MLS doesn’t equal crap. Imagine their surprise when the Philly Union **reserves** went toe to toe with their A team this year in pre-season! The general reaction was: “sna???? this can’t be!”

      There was a fantastic article in the Guardian about England fearing American soccer development. Wish I could find it now, but it agrees with what you write.

      Reply

    • Posted by Kay20 on 2011/11/24 at 12:57 AM

      Oh, and I forgot. Completely agree with you about the top teams of MLS being able to play Championship football. I think LA, RSL and Seattle in particular (and NY if they could ever get their frigging act together) could challenge those teams easily.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Jeff L on 2011/11/23 at 6:33 AM

    I wouldnt get too worked up about this. For one, the bald guy responded to the question of Beckham’s age as “37” as if it was a given. He’s wrong, its 36 and not 37 for another 6 months. Considering Beckham’s age and where he is in his career, I would think that any journalist would do his proper homework and you have to get this correct if you are going to answer it so matter-of-factly. Its relevant to the story.

    Also, let me play devil’s advocate, if thats the right term. I dont condone someone comparing “Podunkville” Dynamo to League 1/2, but we Americans have been guilty too of similar shoulderbrushing. Look at the US basketball team. We steamrolled everyone in the early 90s and knew that everyone other than us were crap, despite numerous warning signs. Evetually, it caught up to us, and we had to self-reflect and really show some respect to the competition to get a competing team again. And anyone who watched the last olympics could see it wasnt a cakewalk. That being said, it will take time for the MLS to gain respect.

    And to build on that last argument, let me pull in another American sports example: college football. I live in Ft Worth, TX. Where TCU resides, one of the most successful college football teams in the last 10 years. After bouncing around several “lower level” conferences they finally landed in a BCS conference: the Big 12. And all it took were some upsets over Oklahoma, a few undefeated seasons, and a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. Oh, and the Big 12 to be on a teetering point of collapse. And does anyone think that TCU can have the same success they did over the past 10 years by playing a “BCS conference” schedule for the whole season? I don’t. Do they deserve it? Yes. But causing a few upsets here and there and competing in a lower league is not going to command the respect of Texas, Oklahoma, LSU, etc. Hell, after they beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, Wisconsin wanted another game but refused to do a home-and-home series.

    My point is although these commentators have their arrogance and ignorance, I dont think its too far off to a fair shake of how people typically view up-and-coming competition. The delivery of the “analysis” is more of the issue here.

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/11/23 at 7:48 AM

      Except the U.S. used its wakeup call to get better.* England got a wakeup call, stirred, thought about getting up, then decided it could sleep for like fifteen more minutes.

      * the main U.S. difference, actually, was just bringing better players.

      Reply

    • Posted by kaya on 2011/11/23 at 10:32 AM

      Not to mention in the early 90s the internet didn’t yet exist outside asci characters. It was a whole lot easier to be ignorant and have a modicum of an excuse.

      Reply

  5. Posted by EFG on 2011/11/23 at 6:58 AM

    Now was it comparing the Dynamo all year to a borderline League 1 or 2 team or just based on the Final? I took it to be based solely on the Final, and, to be fair, they were pretty much outclassed by the Galaxy. I could see, in that one small sample size, they would appear worse than they actually are to someone basing their view on one match.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Soccernst on 2011/11/23 at 7:54 AM

    This makes me love MLS more. The chip is getting bigger on the shoulder and eurosnobbery on the wane (speaking personally). More please!

    Reply

  7. […] they think of MLS on the other side of the pond.  Check out these four idiots on ESPN. (Thanks to the Shin Guardian, who break down the credentials of the talking heads, for the […]

    Reply

  8. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/11/23 at 8:16 AM

    Why the inferiority complex? You’re always going to get baffoons who are ignorant and basing their opinions on outdated stereotypes. The US, Asia and Africa’s time will come. When not if, imo. Why get so worked up?

    And regarding “credentials”, that’s a little rich when you look at who writesbin mainstream US football media or who’s in the studio on game days. With balance, there’s the perpetuating the myth that you had to had a great playing career to know what you’re talking about.

    Re. WC, one lucky result doesn’t mean anything. We just beat Spain and I know

    Reply

    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/11/23 at 11:24 AM

      This. Hater’s gonna hate…

      Reply

    • Posted by Kay20 on 2011/11/24 at 1:09 AM

      Why do you keep trying to justify it by comparing it to our media? I would call something that the US did in regard to analyzing a sport in another country this way just as ignorant.

      For instance, Fox Soccer’s coverage is often “Americanized” and plain stupid.

      Does change the fact this behavior was still ignorant.

      Reply

  9. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/11/23 at 8:20 AM

    And the most amusing thing is that France, Spain, Germany, Netherland and Italy probably think the same thing, but most of us cannot read or understand their media (and don’t have the time to translate it), so nobody says anything. #OneDimensional.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/11/23 at 11:27 AM

      Great point there. That said, I think that there is this niggling thing that England’s main squeeze Beckham choose MLS.

      Can’t put my finger on it…

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross [@BhasViswanathan] on 2011/11/23 at 2:05 PM

        People were slightly annoyed that Beckham chose MLS over the other options he had, *because* said he wasn’t going for the money, but for footballing reasons.

        The reason why MLS targeted** Beckham, was precisely becasue he was England’s [football’s] main squeeze – let’s not be naive here…

        And when I say targeted, I mean waved they waved a few quid in his face.

        Reply

  10. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/11/23 at 9:26 AM

    And FYI, Patrick Barclay is Scottish. But I’m sure you all knew that as his accent is obvious…

    Reply

    • Posted by Thrasymachus on 2011/11/23 at 10:15 AM

      I will say this, the guys on the excellent Football Ramble podcast always speak respectfully of MLS and are quite knowledgeable. They are never condescending or dismissive. The mention it with some frequency.

      Reply

  11. Posted by Paula on 2011/11/23 at 10:25 AM

    Chip on the shoulder is real, but I think it’s mostly on the English media.

    I remember some offhand comments last year when it seemed that the English media were a bit peeved by the post-World Cup excitement over Spain/Barcelona style. When some really quick play occurred, their comments carried more than a whiff of “but English footy’s still more exciting than La Liga” petulance.

    Their ignorance of MLS is real, but the English footballing world in general appears in danger of getting lost in its own navel and knowing Houston’s major city status is hardly going to help that. I mean, I remember people complaining that they didn’t even seem to know what was going on among the youth in Germany before WC 2010 just because they didn’t play in the Premiership.

    Reply

  12. Posted by Union on 2011/11/23 at 11:11 AM

    This whole conversation is somewhat ridiculous. And typical of American/European relations in general, not just with soccer, but with everything. So I wouldn’t get too worked up over it.

    I, personally, think that while the commentators are likely underinformed and prone to stereotyping when discussing the MLS, they have a point. I’m a full supporter of the MLS, and while I don’t consider myself a random fan, I think its a league headed in the right direction, especially with its emphasis on developing its own talent through the new, but ambitious youth academies.

    But, its time to own up to certain things, one of which being, that the style of play and talent level is still relatively low. I don’t get why MLS fans get super pissy about that. We all know it deep down, so why get so offended when it is announced? That being said, it is fair to say that the starting lineups on most of the MLS teams are pretty solid and sure, they can hang with most teams in Championship. But the depth on these teams is still atrocious. The playing style is also very American, based around scoring on set pieces and counter attacks (a style that Europeans have always mocked). And then of course there are the issues that come with any “new” league. The artificial turf, the low attendance, the bizarre playoff rules. Things that will be rectified in time, but until that time, its fair to criticize them.

    I guess my point is, from a neutral perspective, its understandable to see why the MLS is still dismissed. I wouldn’t worry about it. It takes time to earn respect.

    Reply

    • Posted by Jeff on 2011/11/27 at 4:06 AM

      “The artificial turf, the low attendance, the bizarre playoff rules.”

      Almost every league some stadiums with artificial turf.
      All but 9 leagues (soon to be 8 as Japan’s attendance has declined following the natural disasters there) in the world have lower attendance.
      Some other leagues have playoffs. Hell, the two biggest competitions in the world are essentially playoffs (World Cup, Champions League).

      Reply

  13. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/11/23 at 11:32 AM

    The reason I put this video up was:

    1) To get a different opinion than the American opinion on Beckham, MLS, etc.
    2) To foster a discussion on global football media

    As writer/editor of this publication, I would say–in general–that Americans tend to value MLS and their players too highly. The reality is not a single American has made an important play ever in the history of the Champion’s League–which is probably the highest club competition I think would be agreed.

    I also tend to think that England–as we know–over-value their position and that they tend to overvalue their superstars. While I think that the average English player can compete in any league worldwide, I tend to thing that beyond perhaps Wayne Rooney–and I have my doubts–there are few English stars that would count in a World’s Best 11 or 22 for that matter. Maybe Gerrard a few years ago or perhaps Beckham many moons ago…

    These are off-the-cuff remarks used to provoke discussion, but I’d love to keep the discussion going in a civil manner if possible.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross [@BhasViswanathan] on 2011/11/23 at 2:32 PM

      England’s tabloids are the definition of hyperbole – I read them with a massive pinch of salt, and find they are entertaining, rather than newsworthy. Equally, I ashamed of them and wish they didn’t keep on doing it, especially on the run up to tournaments. And I am also afraid to admit that to many people, these Red Tops are the main source of their “news”- football or otherwise.

      When I watch clips like this, and hear the comments by the pundits, I just shake my head. Mainly because it is clear that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Which is fine, nobody knows everything about every league. But why make a comment on something that you’re not informed about?

      In a perverse way, the fact that people are getting annoyed because there isn’t MLS coverage overseas is almost as arrogant and outrageous in itself. At this moment in time, why would there be? The fact is that outside the US, people aren’t interested in MLS.

      But with all of this, I still believe there is a fair amount of frites on one’s shoulders here. Just look at the derogatory remarks generated because some nobody made an ill informed comment. Then I could point to Alexi Lalas’ continuous England-hating, and Grant Wahl’s inferiorty complex too. Both of which have a snowball effect.

      Reply

    • Posted by JGD on 2011/11/23 at 8:15 PM

      Matt, you seem to be forgetting England’s deadliest weapon, one who can walk onto any squad in the world and steal a starting role…

      Reply

    • Posted by Kay20 on 2011/11/24 at 1:27 AM

      Matt – I love your publication, but I don’t know if I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say Americans overvalue MLS and their players. I find MLS fans in general to recognize properly where their league is. There are a ton of them that support EPL/La Liga/Bundesliga/whichever teams as well. Or they watch national teams. So they have a benchmark and compare properly.

      There are those folks that have what I like to call “reverse euro-snobbery” – that refuse to entertain European soccer in general and are just as derogatory and arrogant with a giant chip on their shoulder. I find that silly as well.

      There is a way to appreciate both.

      What I do mind is a lack of knowledge in this day and age of google and youtube.

      Yes, Houston’s game in the final was not as good as usual, but just visiting the MLS.com home page could have told you that. And LA was a solid team.

      These “reporters” couldn’t be bothered. I know why, but it’s also a giant bummer.

      MLS gets compared a lot in Europe to League One/Two – when I think with their starting XI (not the 18) a decent chunk of teams could be competitive in the Championship. Some (LA, RSL, Seattle) even with their 18 competitive.

      This is starting to be a bit of an opinion that’s gaining traction. I’ve seen that analogy a lot lately.

      But the constant put downs at some point become draining because often times they are a result of an opinion that was formed 5 years ago. And MLS of 2011 is so different than MLS of 2006. You only need to look at CCL progress to show that.

      As an avid fan of the EPL and MLS, I want to show my support of both leagues.

      Reply

    • Posted by I have no name on 2011/11/26 at 1:19 AM

      Beasley played in 10 matches and scored 3 goals(1 game winner in a 1-0 match, 1 meaningless, 1 putting a tie completely out of reach) in the 04-05 Champions League when PSV lost in the semifinals to Milan on away goals.

      Reply

  14. Posted by Union on 2011/11/23 at 12:09 PM

    Sorry if my prior post was seen as too rough around the edges. Not the intention. I used the wrong word when I said “ridiculous”. The post itself, was great, and I think that having a honest conversation about the MLS, without comments driven by bitterness towards European arrogance, would be amazing. The ridiculousness I was referring to, were the comments more driven by the general frustration with English opinions on football, than driven by the actual issues being discussed.

    That being said, great point Matt.

    Reply

  15. Posted by Primoone on 2011/11/23 at 7:00 PM

    close-minded or not…there is truth in what they say. Even though the delivery was very matter of fact and pompous, the message remains on point. The MLS was completely unwatchable. Hek, my Galaxy was unwatchable for the first two seasons that Becks was here. What do you expect EPL analyst to say about the league? Top of the Championship or Bottom table EPl? Not realistic.

    Reply

  16. Posted by Gregorio on 2011/11/23 at 9:00 PM

    Don’t Believe the Hype. This talk is rather silly, MLS isn’t as bad as portrayed as England is not as good. Its so much akin to the English Newspapers, they live & breathe soccer (Notice not football!) so they are over emotionally invested and that discolors their reality lens. Yeah the premiership is awesome to watch, full of cash, stars,etc. but England I’m pround not sorry to say are not a world beaters, forget the new FIFA rankings. All they do is talk talk talk, hell we tied them in WC, fluke goal or not. as in the words of Janet Jackson “what have you done for me lately?”. It doesn’t help our cause when guys like Luke Rodgers are percieved as a force. But MLS teams are on par with Championship sides and a team like LA could play in the EPL if they had the same cash to bolster their thin side.
    Anyway besides I bet if we looked into the origins of the game,we probably see that the game was probably started somewhere else and adapted and rules made by the Britiish who now claim they invented it. Yeah, sure, imperialism at its best, the Mayan Indians played a game similar to football centuries ago but they didn’t record the rules in english besides the winners were sometimes sacrificed. I bet the beautiful game probably was some founded by Greenlanders kicking around a seal’s skull while stoned on grog.

    Reply

  17. Posted by BAGG10 on 2011/11/24 at 6:13 PM

    They are arrogant in how they make there argument and I certainly wouldnt class this particular group of pundits as experts but in fairness I do think there is some truth behind what they say. I support a League 1 side (Sheffield Wednesday) and although its not as aesthetically pleasing as higher divisions there is certainly quite a strong quality there, so to be compared with that division after MLS has only existed 18 years is not the biggest insult in the world (even if that was how it was meant). Saying that I would also agree that there are teams in MLS that have already been mentioned that could more then hold there own in the Championship and I honestly would say LA would for my money be superior to quite a few teams in the division, in fact if they moved to the championship tomorrow they would certainly have the best 3 players in the league. As an Irish person living in England I have noticed nothing gets English football fans backs up more then questioning the quality of there leagues, they constantly feel a need to talk about how its the best in europe and the world but to be honest I agree somewhat with the sentiments of the Benfica coach before the United game the other night, its not the best league in the world, not the best in europe and i would like to know who bestowed this honour on the EPL. 1 uefa cup and 2 CL in the last 10 years does not look to me like the fruits of the best league in the world. Sorry I ranted off topic there..

    Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/11/25 at 11:24 AM

      BAGG10,

      One of the big problems with these comparisons is the various levels within the different leagues.

      When Dublin says MLS is on par with League One at best is he talking LA Galaxy vs. Sheffield Wednesday? Or are we talking Wycombe Wanderers?

      I find it hard to believe Henry, Rogers and Lindpere and co. could not take on Scunthorpe United or even Tranmere if both teams were in midseason form and money was on the line. Which, of course is the problem with the different schedules.

      When comparing MLS to any given foreign league/division there is no way to properly evaluate the validity of the comparison where it matters, on the field.

      The one competition that allows this is the Champions League.

      You mentioned the Benfica/ Man U. CL fixture. Two teams in mid season form, home and away, in game with money and other things on the line. You should get the best both teams have to offer.

      I have been following British football for many years and the English, in particular, seem to have a deeply ingrained inferiority complex about their football.

      That the recent success of the EPL is based in large part on foreign players, managers and most especially foreign investment only makes that complex more incipient. The kind of xenophobia and condescension evident in these pundits is very old news and is quite commonplace. I would like to ask that Barclay fellow, the Scot, how did his country in a short time, go from producing football geniuses and national teams with World Cup contender status, to a damp squib of a footballing nation with the Old Firm completely dependent of foreign players and a national team with only one international class player, Darren Fletcher?

      On the other side of the coin, the enlightened UK pundits and football people know far more about MLS and US players than most other nations, though this may be more a function of the common language, as someone pointed out.

      Reply

  18. Posted by matt on 2011/11/24 at 9:20 PM

    Well, Frings, who plays for the team from my city, TFC, recently said the MLS is similar to 2.Bundesliga/German 2nd Division. I would say that is a valid and credible statement from a current soccer player and one who was a starter for the German national team in the 2002 World Cup where they lost in the Final to Brazil. This is a positive sign for MLS.

    Reply

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