Aaaaaaaaaand, We’re BackBy: Ben | June 22nd, 2012
No, I haven’t given up on MLS. Things were just a bit too crazy between AP’s, finals, the ACT, the SAT, and Euro 2012. Rest assured, though, the MLS Offside is back in business, and will continue to be throughout my time in Spain (yeah, I’m leaving today for a 5 week visit).
I haven’t posted in two months, leaving me a ton of ground to cover. The season really started to take shape in April and May, but it was clear very quickly that the league had taken a few turns we hadn’t expected. Whereas I spent most of the preseason singing praise for LA and predicting a second consecutive “double”, the Galaxy have dropped their momentum like a hot potato. With five wins, eight losses, and only one point earned in the entire month of May, LA now sits above only Portland and Dallas in Western Conference contention. Even with the offensive bonus of Edson Buddle, the Galaxy have been barely able to squeeze out narrow victories over clubs it once clobbered, such as their recent 1-0 win over the Timbers.
DC’s been just the opposite story: 5 and 2 in their last seven league games, United has found the magic it desperately lacked in 2012 with DeRo, Chris Pontius, and Maicon Santos. Their surprisingly potent offense has found the net at least twice in five of their last seven matches, making the team’s claim to first place in the East a surely deserved one. Whether they’ll be able to keep up this momentum is anyone’s guess; Andy Najar will be out for Olympic duty with Honduras (*cough* traitor *cough*), which could prove a test of United’s depth.
Meanwhile, RSL have been on fire, New York has been mind-numbingly inconsistent (looks like at least one of my predictions was right), and the whole league has been overshadowed by Euro 2012. I’ve gotten over complaining about things like that, though; if Beckham and Pele have proven anything, it’s that MLS (or any American soccer league, given the Pele reference) isn’t ever going to be an overnight success, at least in a lasting sense. This is really old news to die-hards, who I’m sure make up the larger part of my readership, but it’s worth pointing out. The 186% increase in TV viewership, the abundant ESPN and news coverage of the tournament, and the general understanding that soccer fandom in a general sense is growing in the US is a very, very good thing; we need to accept as fans that the sport needs to grow conceptually in America before we can start asking for (previously nonexistant) fandom to be channeled toward a domestic league.
Still, it’s been a fairly quiet season. That fact may be in part due to the 25 day international break, but is accented by the lack of any big-name moves or headline-making news stories. And this can be a good thing: we’ve had no steroid scandals, no in-stadium disasters, and no career-ending injuries to players whom we’ll be counting on in 2014. (Though I won’t delve into the US’s recent international stint, given that my elation at being able to brag on Scottish friends’ facebook walls turned pretty quickly into disappointed grievance from the Brazil game on) Things are running pretty smoothly, as I’m sure they’ll continue to.
Yes, this is a rather awkward article. I’ll be resuming more regular postings starting today, meaning I’ll be spending less time covering massive tracts of missed action and more time dishing on current events. Now that we’re up to speed, though, I’ll say that it’s good to be back. I missed our little league.