For those of you that decided to forgo sleep and get up early, you were treated to Manchester United destroying one of Major League Soccer’s top teams, the LA Galaxy 7-0. If this is the best that the top American league has to offer, there doesn’t look to be much hope.
Let’s not confuse this with the U.S. Men’s team that had a great run in the World Cup and was able to get themselves out of the “Group of Death” and into the knockout stages. The MLS just doesn’t have the pedigree at this point to compete on the same stage as the top leagues in Europe.
Former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole recently let loose with this statement which offended many MLS fans: “I have had offers from the USA, but I didn’t want to sit on the beach yet”. He instead signed with AS Roma of the Serie A. Now let it be said that Ashley Cole will never be a spokesperson for any company in the near future but he does make a valid point. The MLS has many European and Latin American players to fill their ranks. The issue is that the majority of them are at the end of their careers.
Former Liverpool player Stephen Nicol blasted back on Twitter: “Ashley Cole said if I wanted an easy ride I would have gone to MLS. Such an ignorant comment. MLS does not want you thanks”. Nicol also Tweeted: “he was good but he ain't as good as he thinks he is” refering again to Cole.
Cole is right though; the MLS has become the league where former great players go to end their playing career: David Beckham, Thierry Henry and now Frank Lampard have all moved to the US to collect one final paycheck and have another season or two on the pitch.
The MLS has come a long way in the last several years, but still has a long way to go. As “soccer” becomes more main stream and the understanding of the game grows, the MLS will have the ability to become a world class league, but it will surely need to bring in more quality players, not just those looking for a final payday and of course lots more money to lure those players across the pond.