I have a huge beef with the MLS. A few years ago, I was excited for the MLS. Top players were flowing into the league, gameplay seemed to be less like little kid soccer and more like professional soccer, and the buzz about the league seemed to be growing. But today, I haven't thought of or heard about the MLS season until I stopped caring about my precious Red Bulls in August. Is that my problem? I'm not sure. But there is an argument to be made that a lackluster league did not hold my interest.
To me, the MLS season comes to the American population in four waves:
1. Genuine excitement at the very beginning of the season.
2. Bitter disappointment from after the fifth game until the point you realize your team is not making the playoffs.
3. Mild jubilation that there is actually a "cup final" in the USA.
4. Hatred and anger that the LA Galaxy are in the final.
The fault of this disinterest (mine at least) is based largely on the league's affinity to make this sport "American friendly." We still have a playoff structure, where winning the league tragically means nothing. I want to see a top of the table clash, last gasp goals meaning the league goes to LA or NY and relegation battles pitting all the crappy Canadian teams against each other. Why not have the European league setup then stroke America's ego with a cup competition? Because conforming to European fat cats is not the way of the Founding Fathers. But I'll have to say, as a huge fan of the sport, the way this league is structured pushes me away. Take that how you will.
Things to note about the Budweiser Cheetos Sony Allstate Fritos 2012 MLS Cup:
1. Houston is the Eastern Conference team, FYI. For some reason, this bothers me. I hear Houston, Texas, and think West. Stop bothering me with this, MLS. And stop making the final and complicating things, Houston.
2. The LA Galaxy just need to stop. They played so bad all year and now they're in a final (my above case in point). They are always in the final and never deserve it. Bias alert: New Yorker here; but still. LA Galaxy: just stop.
3. David Beckham announced it is his last game for the LA Galaxy... Okay. So what? No one cares, Beckham. You are three years and 3,000 promises to make this sport better past the point of caring. Good luck acting, because I'm sure that's where you're going.
I leave you with what we all hope to see on Dec. 1st: