Remember all that gloating we had last month at the World Cup when the USA advanced out of the Group of Death while England was sent home early? How the progress of the national team was a sign of his far Major League Soccer has come? Well last night was reality check for the league as MLS sides went head to head with five Premier League sides and the results were not pretty.
In the five games, MLS managed one draw, scoring five goals and conceding 18! If you add in Seattle’s 3-3 draw with Spurs last week, MLS is 0-5-1 in the six game tournament so far.
The results last night were:
- Toronto 2 Spurs 2
- Columbus 2 Crystal Palace 2
- Sporting KC 1 Manchester City 4
- FC Dallas 0 Aston Villa 2
- LA Galaxy 0 Manchester United 7
The “lowlight” on Wednesday was the 7-0 dismantling of MLS’s biggest franchise the LA Galaxy by Manchester United. Yes Seattle draws the biggest crowds, but if you ask soccer fans around the world to name one MLS side, the majority will say the Galaxy. They are the poster boy for MLS.
Supporters of MLS will point out that these are friendlies and that teams use them to give squad players some match experience against quality opposition. That is true to some extent. Bruce Arena emptied his bench last night, using 23 players in their defeat. But the English sides did the same, as Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino made 10 changes at half-time against Toronto.
Keep in mind that while MLS players are literally in midseason form, these European teams have just started preseason training and some of them are doing 2-a-day sessions at the moment to get their fitness levels up ahead of the Premier League beginning next month.
Wednesday night was a wake-up call to MLS. If they are going to continue to play these top teams in friendlies, at least play a full side and let them compete with players who are more technically gifted than they are. That is what will make them better players, and as a result the league better. All an 18-5 scoreline does is reinforce to fans who don’t attend MLS games on a regular basis that Major League Soccer is an inferior product.