I know, I know. MLS isn’t all that great to begin with. But give it some time, people! The league is a mere 20 years young and still has plenty of time to develop into something bigger and better. Until American leagues employ promotion/relegation we won’t see the kind of competition that European and South American leagues boast, but it will come… eventually.
Anyway, this year in Major League Soccer has been quite an interesting one for a number of reasons. Everyone lost their minds before the season even started over the signings of Jozy Altidore, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, David Villa and Kaka. All of those, save for Jozy, are worth going mental over, but you have to remember that none of these players, again save for Jozy, are in their prime. But, they’re HUGE names on the world stage so fair play for getting hyped. Curiously, no one seemed to bat an eye when Sebastian Giovinco was shipped over from Juventus to Toronto FC. That was kinda mind blowing considering he’s really the first player in his prime to come from overseas.
World class from Sebastian Giovinco. 👏 https://t.co/kTrLwjP5EE
— FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) September 27, 2015
Seriously just look at that piece of skill. Not only is he in his prime, but he’s a fully capped Italian international who played for one of the biggest teams in Europe. Those who didn’t know about him found out immediately just how talented he is, especially relative to the rest of the players in MLS. He’s bagged 20 goals and 15 assists in 30 games. Those are FIFA numbers, kids! He’s the Messi of Major League Soccer and it’s really, really good for the league. In fact, he set a points total record for goals and assists and he’s still got 4 games to spare.
The NY Red Bulls must’ve fallen into obscurity after losing Henry and Cahill, right? WRONG! They picked up Sacha Kljestan and Bradley Wright-Phillips’ brother Shaun as replacements. So what happened to them? They’re one of the best teams in the league with a few games in hand. They’ve done all this with a new head coach too, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.
So, later in the year Pirlo and Giovani Dos Santos show up. Andrea Pirlo, like Lampard, is on the wrong side of 35, but he’s Pirlo so we know age doesn’t matter. Dos Santos, on the other hand, is only 26. That’s two years younger than Giovinco and he’s also played for a European giant. Does FC Barcelona ring a bell? A goal and an assist on his LA Galaxy debut ain’t to shabby. Then enter Didier Drogba. Another Chelsea legend pops up to play in the league and again he’s on the wrong side of 35. Does that matter, though?
Didier Drogba has 7⃣ MLS goals. This might be his best. https://t.co/C0K1EvtCQx
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 27, 2015
You bet your ass it doesn’t. His first appearance is off the bench, but in his first full start he nets a hat-trick and becomes the first player in MLS history to hit a hatty in his first two games. Hell, he’s scored seven goals in 6 games and looks spritely as ever. The league is seeing a larger number of superstars come over than ever before. Granted most of them are still out of their prime. Regardless, did you ever think you’d see two World Cup winners play together in New York City? Or how about seeing Robbie Keane and Stevie G reunite and play with a former Barcelona man? And what about Kaka?
He’s just helping his boys in Orlando play some really attractive footy, no big deal. In fact, his rookie teammate Cyle Larin broke the rookie scoring record… by scoring a hat-trick.
— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) September 26, 2015
Very exciting things have been happening in the league this year. The hype is so real that it almost made everyone forget about Landon Donovan… except he’ll likely be handing his MVP award to Giovinco at the end of the season, so there’s that. Look, it’s hard to attract top talent from Europe. Really hard, in fact. We all know that top players want to play against the best, get insane paychecks and test their abilities in the Champions League. MLS can’t offer the latter, but to say that the level of talent hasn’t gone up would be a fallacy. It’s not where it needs to be, but give it time and make sure to support your local leagues because if this season was any indication as to where the league can go then we’re in for a real treat down the line.