Tonight in Portland at Providence Park is MLS’ big showcase match where the home team is made up of the highest paid DP’s from around the league, and a few other stand out players. Their opponent is a team, Bayern Munich, who’s annual payroll would probably put MLS out of business.
This is a group of players who recently returned to club training in preparation for the upcoming Bundesliga season, most of whom just won the World Cup. There are more World Cup winners on that one squad alone than can be found in the entire MLS.
I’m really shooting from the hip on this one but I think this whole idea is kind of counter- productive.
A league that wants to see itself as being on par with the top flights of Europe in the next few years, inviting one of the best teams in Europe to come over and make our best players look silly? That just doesn’t sound right to me.
The fact of the matter is that, an all-star game is completely unnecessary and is purely a North American invention. Just because other sports do it, doesn’t mean soccer has to follow suit. And on top of that, why invite the possibility for humiliation at the hands of a European super club? Would that not just signal to the rest of the world that even a compilation of the best and brightest stars of our domestic league couldn’t even be considered a threat to one club? I don’t know.
I’ve always felt that for MLS to be taken seriously, this tradition of mid-season friendlies, that usually end in defeat, and an all-star game, where players from rival clubs are forced to play with each other in a meaningless novelty match and risk injury too boot…well they need to be forgotten.
If you want to progress, if you want to be equals, then you need not look like a kid seeking validation from an adult. To be equals, you must think of yourself as an equal first. Validation comes with time and progress from individual clubs, not through picking and choosing the best players from across the league.
The progress to this point is measurable and will continue for years to come. I just question the need to pit us against them.
If it’s to generate fan interest, it’s counter productive because you’re inviting euro-snobs to condescendingly speak of how far away our league is from rivalling those of Europe. If it’s for the kids, well then it’s for the kids.
But we all know it’s for the money. And if it’s for the money, why play it at stadiums that only seat 20,000?
I doubt I’m the only one to feel the way I do, but it’s just my opinion.
One day, hopefully, we’ll be able to look back at these all-star games and say to ourselves, “those were funny eh?”