Can There be a Better Tandem For MLS’ Success Than Beckham and Donovan?

One wonders what the fallout will be from the disconcerting television ratings of MLS Cup, especially considering the LA Galaxy have possibly the greatest tandem of professional soccer players to ever play together on the same U.S. club team, ever.  Speculating, who knows, this potential greatest tandem hyperbole could stick for the next 50 years. 

Add to the dissapointment that when the match went to penalty kicks, the story line was how arguably MLS’ greatest player botched his penalty shot. 

In other words, Beckham and Donovan, were expected to win and to win flashy, which after the 1st goal, looked to be a possibility.  They lost though.  Too bad, because the league needed the Galaxy to win. 

Overall, Beckham and Donovan showed they need help.  They need more superstars, though Ricketts may become one. 

Beckham and Donovan must become a dynasty.  Its imperative for MLS’ success.  They need to win 3 championships in a row and surround themselves with great players whose names also can become part of the American consciousness. 

Had the Galaxy won the 2009 MLS Cup, the doubters to pro Soccer’s ascension towards mainstream would have been silenced at least for this year.  More would have been made about the Galaxy’s dynasty in the works and how great it is for the League’s crossover appeal. 

Obviously, there’s still a great chance for this league to become a bigtime American sports league.  Expansion and interest are both on the rise.  But the aftermath of this Cup shows that more superstars are needed.

In all the world of Soccer, who would have been a better tandem for an MLS team and which team should it be?  Would Ronaldhino and Altidore playing for D.C. United have been a better attraction to sportsfans?

It would seem for MLS, that nothing could have been better than Beckham, the international superstar of futbol who brings all the glitz, Donovan, the American hope who brings all thats pure about Soccer, and the city with the richest reputation (two letters says it all, ‘LA’ and one of the coolest nicknames in all of U.S. professional sports, Galaxy) winning the title. 

The conditions seemed perfect for this to be a breakthrough moment, especially with 46,000 on hand live to watch.

Maybe the world’s television ratings should be included in order to look beyond U.S. households and sportsbars.  They merit major consideration as part of how to gauge the marketing benefits of MLS. 

The world’s tv ratings could be the hidden upside to what seems to be a pretty bad outcome for pro Soccer in the U.S.  Its a new age for all pro sports and what the rest of the world thinks, matters.

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14 Responses to Can There be a Better Tandem For MLS’ Success Than Beckham and Donovan?

  1. Mike says:

    It’s hard to figure out what you are trying to say in this article since it seems cut off in many sections but the MLS does not need some sort of gimmick to boost its popularity in the American sports landscape. Unlimited substitutions or getting rid of penalty kicks? I would stop watching immediately if the MLS went with any of these gimmicks. It’s bad enough there’s no promotion/relegation or single table.

  2. Jon says:

    Wow . . . Mitch, only one thing came to mind as I finished your article:
    “What you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

  3. Mike H says:

    Wow, this is a difficult article to read. I don’t really see any clear point but it sounds like you are saying that MLS needed LA to win to make soccer a household thing in the US. I disagree completely.

    No one game, one season or one team is going to make soccer a big three sport in the US. Sure, if LA won, it might have got a little more media attention but it would have been nothing like what happened when Becks showed up in the first place and even with all that attention the TV ratings barely moved.

    MLS needs to make some changes (increasing the salary cap to about $4.5m a team would be a good start) but in the end growing the sport will come down to fans of MLS convincing friends that are fans of other leagues to show up (or tune in) to MLS games. The crowds are here (look at the summer of soccer attendance numbers), we just need to get the people to come out. Once they do, there will be a lot more money for MLS to bring in the stars of which you speak.

  4. RSLFaninKC says:

    Mitch, this was a horrible article. Honestly. It was complete garbage. Some of what I read on this site and other soccer blogs is worthwhile, insightful, and just a generally good read, but more and more I am turned off by the negative sentiments expressed about MLS and focusing on what it is not, instead of building on what it is. I understand the need for being realistic, and there is a long ways to go with this league in terms of it’s potential for being a model product for soccer fans in the US and worldwide. But there is a difference between realism and cynicism, and crap like this is what makes me delete sites from my favorites and not come back.

    What was your point to all of that? From your barley coherent ramblings, it is clear you feel the Galaxy winning would have been better for the league. As an RSL fan, I am of course ecstatic they won. I am also a fan of MLS, and want to see soccer and the league grow. That is why I get sick of people focusing on gimmicks as the solution to the leagues problems. Gimmicks are what they are, which is temporary, appealing to a sensory response that has the inherent problem of being temporary and always requiring the next gimmick to be bigger and better than the last, which is NOT sustainable for most leagues, and especially for a young one like MLS. I think a consistent, sustainable, rationed approach to consistent growth over time is what will make this league great in another decade. Listening to garbage like this article and others that choose to lament all that MLS is not is the equivalent of the inmates running the asylum, and long term would be about as productive. I think RSL winning is a great story, and I for one am glad I don’t have to hear people talk about how weak MLS is, when a Beckham can come in with 2/3 of the season over and take his team to an MLS Cup title on a gimpy ankle. Who cares if RSL had only 11 wins? Last time I checked, the Galaxy only had 12.

    Focus on what MLS is doing right, and give constructive ideas with valid solutions when discussing it’s weaknesses. If you can’t tell from the comments to this post, your negativity is not welcome by most MLS fans.

  5. andy in ohio says:

    The only way MLS will be accepted as a big league in the US sports landscape will be if the US makes a run in a world cup and MLS start paying USA players major league money to the talent to stay and grow the league. Until then MLS is major league in name only, and thats coming from someone who loves my Crew. I want it to be taken seriously, but there is no way the casual sports fan will respect a league losing good MLS players to Europe over $75,000 (*cough* Rolfe *cough*). I should also mention sitting young players on the benches while canceling the reserve league. Its going to take a long time, and over-expansion will cause quality of play to suffer if the league isn’t careful. Stars are a temporary solution, success of the USMNT will be permanent however.

  6. LI Matt says:

    …the LA Galaxy have possibly the greatest tandem of professional soccer players to ever play together on the same U.S. club team, ever


  7. Emerald City SC says:

    mitch, may i call you mitch? you seem to think that without ageing superstars that MLS would fall. sure it would be great for the league and exciting but theres alot of american and *cough* canadian *cough* talent out there. plus i think MLS has grown to a point where we should stop talking about the league as a whole and rather talk about individual teams. you dont see the EPL being talk about as a whole other than political issues.

  8. dan says:

    what the MLS needs to do is raise the cap to 4 or 5 million, bring back the reserve league, make the DP salary cap exempt, build good club promotion to put people in the seats(Hunt Sports group are you listening). and force ESPN to promote the game better.

    Espn needs to start letting people know that the USA has a Pro Soccer League. Give us an MLS show so the people know who the teams are and who the players are, Espn needs to give MLS more Exsposure on Sportscenter and Inside Report.

  9. Oscar says:

    I’d love to see one of the MLStalk writers crunch some numbers on the fiscal state of MLS. I would assume there’s some sort of golden plateau, where if every team in MLS consistently breaks 20,000 seats filled in a game and X amount of ratings, the league as a whole can expand their shizz.

    I apologize if my wholly unresearched estimate of 20,000 is off the mark; I’m a Sounders fan, so my sense of reality about the average team’s numbers are skewed.

  10. Charles says:

    Great posts to a absolutely incorrect article.
    Let’s compare.
    LA versus LA in LA, doesn’t sell out for a PLAYOFF game. I don’t even know how this is possible. Zero articles about the game in the LA newspaper the week leading up to the biggest soccer game of the year.

    Sure the championship was played in front of the biggest MLS Cup attendance in a long time….in SEATTLE…with almost no LA fans.
    The league needs Seattle to win the next three years if you are arguing for “non-parity for the good of the league”.
    Seattle would have sold 50,000+ seats for every game in 2010 if they had made the finals, not even needing to win. That is LA’s ticket revenue plus 2 other teams for the league. What is LA going to do with this success? They will struggle to fill a stadium with a capacity of half of that.

    I hope they do, but your argument is rediculous.

  11. Charles says:

    RSLFaninKC>>>”Who cares if RSL had only 11 wins? Last time I checked, the Galaxy only had 12″

    RSL didn’t have 11 wins, they had 15 ( the most in the MLS for 2009 ), including wins over LA in the regular season AND the final game of the season, the MLS Cup, to be the best team in the MLS for 2009.

    As a side note, they outnumbered the LA fans 10-1 at the MLS Cup…unless the reporter is counting the great Donovan and Beckham, who failed to hussle in the biggest game of the year, as the strength of 10,000 people.

    • RSLFaninKC says:

      I was referring to 11 wins in the regular season, since 9 out of 10 articles I read leading up to MLS Cup 2009 had to hammer on that point while failing to mention the Galaxy only had 1 more regular season win. It is a stupid argument and not something that should be used against RSL. The Cup was earned, victory is ours, and RSL are the champions of MLS 🙂 Long Live RSL!

  12. Brad in SoCal says:

    As a Galaxy fan, I say congratulations to RSL. Beckerman was impressive controlling midfield, and Rimando was awesome in goal. Beckham had a number of great passes that almost worked, but didn’t. Donovan didn’t see enough of the ball during the run of play. The missed PK–devastating, obviously, but it happens to the best of them.

    As for the topic immediately at hand, I agree with the anti-gimmick folks. Put a good product on the field (a grass field with proper lines, please), pay the players fairly, and keep ticket prices (and parking prices!) as low as possible, and MLS will continue to grow. Beckham may even retire after South Africa, and then where will the “partnership” be?

  13. Leyton says:


    honstly I am suprised by the MLS. When I moved to the US from England
    I really didn’t think much of MLS…..also didn’t help when i watched a really boring game with Colorado Rapids …..
    but thats the problom they don’t show enough MLS games for someone to get into it
    but evetully I got more chance to watch some more games and got into it.
    I think MLS have allot of good teams (Huston , LA, RSL, Fire )….atlist I like to watch them the most ….
    altho it does get anoying that the players get really tired after 60 Mins
    I Think clubs need more fitness

    also I agree with Mike but I understand why MlS does it
    and its because the US is too big ! but maybe they should just give the league title to eachside as a winner of the East and West confrences and the playoffs should be mixed with east and west so the leage feels more untied

    Also the local teams have to be more visable for the local ppl!
    and if MLS wants more attention they should find States and city in the US that loves soccer and add them up
    for example SEATTLE!
    more of those kinda teams which have an absoulte backing from their local commmuntiy

    even with all that its all bla bla bla because we can’t do anything about anything lets
    just cross our fingers and hope the next year its gonna get even better !

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