ESPN proves they have the worst writers in sports once again with this doozie of a piece turned in by Andrea Canales of ESPNSoccernet.com where she details some fairly obvious observations about the pros and cons of a league with a great deal of parity like MLS. Some of my favorite quotations follow a laughable introduction, where she claims that Chelsea, Barcelona, and Juventus repeating as champions was "no surprise," never mind that all three of these races were still in contention with only a few matches to play, and Juventus didn't clinch until the final day.
Other favorites include...
Case in point -- last week, the defending MLS Cup and U.S. Open champions, the Los Angeles Galaxy, lost 3-0 to Real Salt Lake
---Let's just ignore the fact that LA is a terrible team, and has yet to win a game at home this year.
Another way that MLS creates parity is through the playoff system. During the regular season teams use the points accumulated in games to qualify for the postseason. The winner of the league title is not determined by the highest point total, but instead by who wins the tournament that the top teams participate in.
---This is the same way that the Champions League, English Championship, and the Dutch League work. She seems so surprised.
In 2003, the Chicago Fire were poised to be the first team to take the domestic treble...Star defender Carlos Bocanegra then transferred to England, where he joined Fulham FC. Though the Fire still retained many core players...
--- They also lost Goalkeeper Zach Thornton to Portugal and playmaker DaMarcus Beasley to Holland, but we'll pretend that only Boca left. Likewise, the 2004 team was very heavy on rookies.
...the 2004 team suffered an extremely poor season and dropped out of playoff contention.
--- WRONG. The 2004 Chicago Fire were in a position to clinch a playoff spot on the final day of the season with a tie, and the New England team that beat them went on to knock off the Regular season Champions, and almost knock off that year's MLS Cup Champions. The Fire also made it to the US Open Cup Final and lost in OT to the eventual MLS Cup runners-up. What a completely absurd statement.
With nearly the same roster that reached the 2004 final, the Wizards failed in 2005 to even make the postseason.
---Again, Kansas City was in playoff contention on the last day of the season.
The maxim of "on any given day" becomes especially true during the playoffs.
---No. The concept of "any given day" means, "on any given day" not "on any given day, except in the regular season where it is less true."
Since 2002 no regular-season winner has also won the MLS Cup.
---True, but misleading. In MLS's first 10 seasons, the regular season champion has won the Championship 4 times, has been in the Championship game 5 times, and in the final four 8 times. In fact, 2004 and 2005 are the only times in league history where the regular season champion has failed to advance from the first round.
A balance between the stasis of European powerhouses and the MLS merry-go-round of achievement would seem ideal. Part of that would start with having a single owner for each team. With a committed organization that starts from the top, the cream of the crop should emerge more frequently.
---First of all, this idea of European stasis is false. 12 different teams have won the Champions League since 1990. No team has repeated in that span. If she is talking about Italy, Spain, and England, as previously mentioned, 5 teams have won the Spanish title since 2000, in England, the title has changed hands 4 times since 2001 and teams in the lower half of the table have been relegated, and come back to post strong performances (Blackburn). 4 Italian teams have won the title since 2000.
---In the United States, wouldn't a single owner per team, devoted to have the cream of the crop emerge more frequently lead to the kind of "European domination" or...."stasis" as she derogatorily refers to it?