Nothing could ever drag me away from the English Premier League – especially this late in the season, especially with Man U gaining on Man C at the top of the rankings, Tottenham hanging on by a thread, and Arsenal’s Van Persie unstoppable in every match.
Nothing, that is, until last weekend, when MLS games kicked off.
Yes, that’s right, MLS over the famed EPL.Â Beckerman instead of Silva, Buddle over Chicharito, Drew Moor (who? you ask – look him up.Â One of the best defenders in the MLS, although I AM a Rapids fan) over Phil Jones (who? you ask – look him up.Â One of the best defenders in England.)
The MLS did not disappoint.Â A recap:
(Deep breath) L.A. Galaxy lost 3 – 1 to Real Salt Lake in what is fast becoming one of the biggest rivalries in MLS – although the boys from Utah had best not forget about their little brother, small-market rivalry in Denver, the Colorado Rapids, who looked strong Saturday taking care of business against perennial contenders the Columbus Crew.
FC Dallas was unconcerned about big-name players from New York (cough Thierry Henry…) putting the Red Bulls away 2-1.Â DC United has yet to get back to their 90s glory, losing to upstart 2011 playoff veterans Sporting KC.
Most exciting, however, was the raucous crowd at the Portland Timbers home opener against Philadelphia.Â Everyone in the league is talking about the 20,000-plus crowd that showed up for the game, the European-style chanting and cheering, and the impressive 3-1 victory Portland pulled off.
By all accounts the MLS is doing well coming into 2012.Â Most teams have a soccer-specific stadium.Â There are rumors of more expansion, this time into Florida.Â And the two teams with big-name, big-budget European players (Galaxy & New York) lost to teams with some good ol’ home grown CONCACAF talent.
MLS may not yet be the EPL, the NFL, or even the NHL, but that’s OK – give it ten years.Â The league is well managed, well funded, and has taken the long view on U.S. professional soccer.Â With a new NBC TV contract in hand, a couple exciting games, and maybe just a little drama, MLS can certainly have a great 2012.