Filed under: American Soccer, MLS | Tags: Chicago Fire, Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS, Robbie Keane
I went to the Fire v Galaxy match yesterday and came away extremely pleased at the experience but disappointed at the product on the pitch. MLS has done a great job at building its fanbase and creating enjoyable match day experiences. The atmosphere at Toyota Park was nice, but not electric. Parking and tailgating was a breeze and I’d recommend that experience for anyone thinking of going. However, the poor play and lack of imagination on the field sucked the excitement right out of the building. While the Galaxy were clearly better yesterday, neither team looked professional out on the field. The Fire lacked width on their left side and seemed to have no response to the Galaxy shutting down the short passing lanes when playing out of the back other than to kick it long to an attacker who seemed more like the lone actor in a Cast Away remake than a member of a professional soccer team. Perhaps I am being a little harsh, the Fire did show an amazing ability to turn the ball over when passing out of their back line too, so there’s that for a strategy. As for the Galaxy, they were more adept at getting into the final third before committing their mistakes. Scoring chance were squandered on comically off-target shots. My seats were outside of the 18 and I think I had a better chance at getting a hand on the ball than Sean Johnson did. I do have to say that I was impressed with Robbie Keane’s ability to organize his entire team from an attacking spot. He did an amazing job directing defenders on where to go with the ball or their man the entire game. I know the match yesterday was not necessarily a showcase of the two best teams the MLS has to offer this year, but I still feel as if the league needs to do more to put a better product on the pitch. Attendance is deservedly growing due to great management of match day experiences and savvy decision making in the front offices around the league. Television ratings are still abysmal for the league,however, more comparable to bowling and poker than to the big four leagues. Who here would rather watch a MLS match than one in the EPL, la Liga or Champions League? Evidently, about 2 of us would. In order to get those ratings up, and keep their game on television, MLS must find a way to improve the product on the field. Fans need to know they will see a well-played match when they think about tuning in, not the slop-fest that was exhibited on national television yesterday.
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