Major League Soccer, the U.S. domestic league, has slowly grown in stature since its birth in 1996. Its future is all but secure. And it’s an important feeding ground for U.S. national team development. But how does the league compare to other professional leagues around the world?
Last weekend, Soccer Stud was on hand to find out, half way through the season. We watched defending champions Real Salt Lake squander a one goal lead to draw 1-1 against Chivas USA. While overall play is still lacking when compared to international standards, I can tell you there were at least four world class players on the field: Javier Morales (RSL), Kyle Beckerman (RSL), Jamison Olave (RSL), and Blair Gavin (Chivas), each of which displayed vision and superior ball control.
What’s more, it’s obvious Real Salt lake knows how to play as a team (which explains their championship). And recent victories against top premier league teams—including Manchester United—further proves that the league, its players, and the product on the field is inching closer towards becoming a top 5 professional soccer league.
It’s not there yet. Too many passing mistakes remain. But everything else, including defense and attack, is exciting to watch (except of course for those drab 0-o games that plague all soccer). Put it all together, and MLS is certainly in the top 10 in terms of competitiveness, especially when you consider the resources being put into the league, and the siphoning of aging talent elsewhere.
Soccer snobs, be damned.