After living in Portland for a few years and becoming a  fan of the MLS, I have done the typically Scottish thing and felt the need to criticize it .

I’ll be the first to tell you that the MLS is a great league and there are many things about the league that I envy.
Firstly the coverage is often a target over here because we see it as daft – “And Beckham supersoaks it into the upper ninety!” . The coverage on average is much better. The sport is relatively new  over there and the sports boffins at their disposal make up for this on a huge scale. When watching any game, you are constantly hit with brand new stats  ie how successful a player’s throw ins are to the closest 0.01%.
The second reason I envy the MLS is that they simply have phenomenal support. It is through no bias that I tell you, the Timbers Army are the best home fans I have ever seen. Ever. The passion is something we don’t get here. Most clubs in Europe have political history or a type of culture behind them. In America it is just good old pride for their city.
The third reason I envy the MLS – the league itself. Broken into a West & East Conference followed by the MLS playoffs. In amongst this they have the leagues best XI take on some of the best teams in the world. It is just like most American sports in the sense that it is well thought out. Well, almost well though out.
What’s wrong you ask?
Unfortunately the MLS decided to make their league run from March – October which means they do not run on the FIFA calendar, which the games’ bosses are not too happy about. This means the league loses it’s best players to FIFA World Cups and CONCACAF Gold Cups. This also deteriorates players moving to the MLS as they see it as something against them when looking for selection for major tournaments. On of the issues of a ‘regular’ FIFA calendar is that clubs like Toronto FC are usually snowed under during the winter months. However this issue can easily be avoided with a winter break.
The MLS has been far from profitable since it started. One reason for this is that the majority of the league’s games are played during a few months when people holiday and go to Adam’s Mom & Dad’s cabin for the week or whatever the kids do these days.
My point being – the target audience are out enjoying their summer and break from school and might not want to look to sport as a way to enjoy their time off. The reason many people get into football throughout the world is because they play it at school for something to do and keep fit. How are they supposed to get into something that is only on for 3 and a bit months of school time.
The other criticism is the fore mentioned play offs. I for one love playoffs , although that is more to do with the nostalgia attached to it from the Mighty Ducks and Remember the Titans. I don’t agree with the argument that Playoffs deter the meaning of the league. I think they enhance it. That for me, should stay.

The MLS doesn’t have the prestige of European Football to back it up, but it has passion. Passion so strong and a spirit and love of the game which we never thought we see in North America.
So, please MLS, just change your dates. Then the league will prosper and grow and Timbers can become one of the best teams in the world!

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