What Would You Like to See from MLS Talk in 2011?

Confetti falls on crowds of people gathered Times Square on New Years Eve in New York City on January 1, 2011.  UPI/Dennis Van Tine Photo via Newscom

Happy New Year to all our readers and best wishes in 2011!

The past year was a big one for American soccer.  A good but not great World Cup run, a highlight goal from Landon Donovan, and the controversial rehiring of Bob Bradley after the World Cup.  A first MLS Cup win by Colorado, the signings of Rafa Marquez and Thierry Henry by New York, but maybe more importantly the rise of young players like Tim Ream, Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo, and Andy Najar.  The retirements of Jaime Moreno, Brian McBride, and Taylor Twellman as well as the reinvigorating of Kevin Hartman.

And 2011 looks to be another interesting year, with MLS well represented in the CONCACAF Champions League as well as welcoming two new teams into the league.  Will LA be able to finally turn their strong regular seasons into an MLS Cup?  Will the young superstars continue their development while a very strong Superdraft be able to contribute right away?  And will the Eastern Conference, especially a healthy New York team, be able to even the playing field with a stronger Western Conference?  At the national level, can Bob Bradley begin to turn his Gold Cup team into the beginning of the 2014 qualifying team?

We here at MLS Talk are always looking to improve the site and make it the premier destination for discussions about American soccer.  The Gaffer, Randy, Daniel, and all of the MLS Talk contributers all contribute great content to the site, but it is never good to stand pat at a website.  So I open the floor to you, our dedicated community:

What content do you want to see from the site in 2011?

As part of the EPL Talk Network, we are a part of a number of great sites that present many different features for different leagues.  For example, EPL Talk contributer Jesse Chula offers a “Player of the Week” every week while Niccolo Conte at Serie A Talk has a weekly “Five Things” column, among many other features.  What kinds of new content would you like to see on the site in 2011?  Share your thoughts in the comments section, and we look forward to a soccer-filled 2011!

32 Responses to What Would You Like to See from MLS Talk in 2011?

  1. kickit says:

    How about stop blogging about the MLS since most of the people who comment don’t like the MLS and take every chance to bash the league. Your writing tends to be anti-MLS as well so if you don’t like the league, then focus your time to the EPL. Simple as that.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Kickit, if you want to read EPL articles, read EPLTalk.com. If you want to read objective and honest analysis of MLS, read MLS Talk.

      If you want to read MLS analysis which is written with writers wearing rose-tinted glasses that are always pro-MLS, there are dozens of those blogs around.

      The Gaffer

      • Joe says:

        I don’t understand why a critique of MLS is a necessary part of the site. EPL Talk doesn’t constantly talk about things the EPL is doing wrong. Why not spend time talking about the teams, players, and matches of MLS rather than complain about the league?

        • Joe says:

          Obviously I don’t mean that you need to actively avoid critique when critique is needed, but it seems like every week there’s an article about how incompetent MLS is. It gets old.

          • Clampdown says:

            I have no problems with the critiques … and I have followed the league since its inception and have been a season ticketholder for many years. The criticism is necessary. It is still a relatively young league with some issues that are unique to our country. I don’t always agree with the criticism, and sometimes I do think it’s over the top. That’s OK. It is a blog, afterall, not a news site.

            All that being said, I would like to see contributions from supporters of specific clubs with an honest assessment of how their team is doing, where they need to improve, what the other supporters are saying, etc.

  2. Lloyd says:

    You all do an awesome job!! Can’t think of anything more.
    Maybe add a little USL PRO article here and there. Other than that keep up the good work and then some!!

  3. Warren says:

    More features on academy players and academies in general. Infrastructure, new development amongst team tactics and how they develop academies facilities, staff and players, etc.

    Great work! Keep it up and thanks for listening to our opinions!

  4. Charles says:

    I would rather see more articles about the game, rather than negative articles talking about rediculousness like TV ratings, rather than articles hoping that the best players will leave, and rather than articles that focus on what will never happen in MLS and thus US Soccer…ever.

    Go back and see the articles that actually focus on the game and the players last year…..there were barely any. I realize that Gaffer doesn’t watch US club soccer and Daniel will only do the RedBulls bias articles ( which is fine ), but for Robert Hay and a few others, I would like to see articles about the game, the players, the league.

    For instance, right now we are 1 1/2 weeks away from the draft.
    This has impacted every team in a huge ways over the last two years.

    What will the focus of MLSTalk be ?

    If history serves, MLSTalk will criticize the draft process and player development or ignore it all together. Gaffer would say these type of articles are just not looking through roseglasses, but the reality is the league is WAY better over the last two year because of the draft and the players that were signed for it. These article comes across as the writer wanting the league to fail….which I believe at least a few do.

    The reality is there are MANY players that will make BIG contributions to the MLS teams in 2011. Discussing them is what people that follow the league want.
    The reality is that they have replaced players that were marginal pros…to be kind and the teams are way better for it.
    The reality is the parity created by the distribution of these players has created a league where noone knows who is going to be the best or the worst from year to year.

    The problem is it will not get you more than 4 comments at the start. Most that comment currently on this site do NOT follow the league, obviously. Again check out the articles that actually talk about the game. 4 posts, at least 2 of them mine. There are other sites that talk about the MLS game and they are VERY popular sites.

    The draft is one example, there are a million others.
    Go for it or shut the site down, imho.

    • Daniel Feuerstein says:

      I hear you Charles. I will make more articles besides my Red Bulls Coverage. But just to let you know, there is the Gold Cup this season and 2014 World Cup Qualifying Confederational Draw.

      At least there will be more than two matches if either Columbus or Salt Lake advance to the Semis of the CONCACAF Champions League this coming February, so there will be more to write about.

    • Roger says:

      I think we get it Charles.
      You are very happy with everything MLS does. Single entity is the best idea ever, and if we ever end up we a league that could compare with the best in the world it would be the worse thing that ever happened to US soccer. It would be a total disaster and you would cancell all your seasson tickets.
      And you will do that because you are a true soccer fan.

      Me?! I would like our fans soccer counciousness to keep growing. It is on the very early stages now, even though we have seen signs of its birth on acts like the open letter made by the Vancouver Southsiders regarding away tickets allocation. It was ironic to see our supporters groups having to tell our “leadership” what is the right direction, and then explain with a very clear view and understanding of our game, why it is the right direction. So, I would like to have the Southsiders comissioning the league! They will for sure do a better job!

      I would also like to see the birth of a soccer press that ask the relevant questions and bring the real issues. Several pools have shown that the majority of the fans want things oposit to what the league does, but no interviewer ever ask them “why are you ignoring the fans?”
      I would love for garber to go back to NFL.

      • Charles says:


        Funny you should mention away ticket allocations. Between the two of us which one of us wrote a letter to MLS management/local ownership about that ? That would be me. I understand that going back to the old NASL ways would be suicide, we didn’t know any better then, but in this case QWest should be opened up, so that the Whitecaps can bring as many as they want to.

        I didn’t say that I was completely happy with the way MLS was run. That is just one example, for instance, I don’t like a 10 team playoff.

        But this site doesn’t cover soccer….barely at all.

        It panders to people like you, who want to see the MLS structure fail or change so it is like soccer in the US was 30-40 years ago.
        And those that will argue with them…me.

        • bandeeto says:

          I frequent many different sites, majorleaguesoccertalk.com being one of them. This site certainly has a different spin in it’s coverage/commentary than mlssoccer.com (for example) but that’s what makes soccer so much more interesting than any other sport i could follow in the US. It’s a big world, and I see your point of view, but MLS is a growing league on stable footing. It can take constant critical (not negative, but critical) scrutiny from sites like this no problem.

          I hope that you will follow the reserve league closely… schedules, results, who is injured, up and commers, the managers, tactics, and potential first teamers. Sadly, i missed out on most of Reserve League 1.0, largely because it wasn’t covered very well. I didn’t even know who was on the reserve team or when they were playing. I started to pick up interest right before it was shut down. At any rate, i plan on following RSL’s reserve team much more closely, and hope to get news about the rest of the reserve league here.

        • Roger says:

          You pro MLS people just dont stop manipulating!
          The comparison with the old NASL comes again. What I call the “old dirty trick”.
          The old NASL had free market, right. But it was still a close franchise system. It didn’t practice promotion and relegation, neither was it linked to the international soccer structure through any continental championship, since the Concacaf was on its infancy at that time.
          Me and people like me DO NOT want to go back 30/40 years ago, we want to take our game back from a small group of interest with no deserving relationship neither understanding or knowledge of our game , and brake the tight grip with wich they control it like they own it. We would like to get integrated to the international soccer community, not get away from it. We would like for fans to have a chance to have a club that they could make their own on many american cities, not just 20.

          • Charles says:

            Roger, I applaud your vision, and Iike your enthusiasm, even though we don’t agree at all.

            I will assume you didn’t watch US Soccer (basically only the NASL back then ) in the 70s and 80s either.
            There were only 21 teams in the NASL….total and NOT AT ONE TIME.
            How do you think they were going to do pro/rel ?
            Seriously ? Were you alive back then ?
            You couldn’t have been. There is no way.

            So now that is the reason NASL wasn’t a free market ?
            You had to have come up with that theory way after the fact, then came up with a name for it….the dirty NASL trick. I watched Kyle Rote Jr play, I was alone. That is a insane arguement.

            The net-net of the whole thing is guys that were alive to see it, would NEVER put up good money again like that. Sounders practically sold out the Kingdome for the playoffs two years before the league went belly up. The Cosmos sold 50k for regular season games.

            So now a guy with money is going to put up money (way more than USL quality ) in a non-franchise, non-parity league, with pro/rel knowing that history ?
            Just hoping:
            That the lower teams dont cause the league to collapse.
            That the money making teams stay up, rather than get demoted

            ps. MLS will NOT stop at 20 teams. NO way, NOT going to happen.
            Way too much money at stake.
            I hope you find a way to enjoy it someday.

  5. Howie says:

    I’d like to see more MLS coverage. If you look at the previous three pages of entries, there are more articles on non-MLS issues (the US national team, Barcelona having a summer tour, a wishlist of what current European stars you’d like to see in MLS in the future, an EPL tour discussion, 2022 World Cup, etc.) than on MLS stuff. The MLS SuperDraft is weeks away, and other than a piece on Akron winning the College Cup there has been next to nothing about it on here. No mock draft, no analysis of past drafts (how about a redraft of the 2010 SuperDraft?), nothing at all really.

    I don’t mind some supplemental coverage of international soccer as it relates to the league, but at times this site feels like like MLS Talk than EPL/World Cup Talk featuring MLS on the side. Look at the tag cloud— multiple teams don’t even appear, the league MVP is mentioned less often than Everton, and the Golden Boot winner doesn’t even cloud.

  6. IL says:

    I enjoy the coverage here. It seems other people see it as anti-MLS. With that in mind you can (as sometimes you have) put two articles up on the same issue with two different points of view.

    I enjoy learning about the attendance and ratings numbers. I am very interested in that and the continuing overall financial health of the league and its teams. Even if the numbers are not very good sometimes its an important subject to write about. So thank you for providing all of that information.

  7. Aaron says:

    MLS Talk does not do “objective and honest analysis of MLS” Gaffer. The editor‘s viewpoint of this site is MLS bad EPL good. If you would drop or lose the MLS Talk by Richard Farley I would stop reading your site.


    • The Gaffer says:

      Aaron, that’s not true. I support MLS. I only really wish there was a MLS team in South Florida that I could go and watch (I used to have season tickets for the Fusion when they were here). I do admit I enjoy the Premier League more, but there’s plenty of room in my life for both leagues. I may seem harsh on MLS at times but that’s because I want it to succeed.

      The Gaffer

      • Charles says:

        You didn’t need to state that you like the EPL better.

        You are one of many on this site that watch the EPL as their league and rip on the league in their spare time, calling it criticism/vision.

        I stated before you didn’t write one positive thing about MLS and you gave me a link to an article that said MLS soccer was way better 10 year ago.

        • The Gaffer says:

          Charles, I run this site, I pay for this site, it’s my creation. I would not do this unless I had an appreciation for MLS. Do I think MLS is horrible? Far from it, but I’ll write about things that move me. I can guarantee you that if I lived in Seattle or if there was a MLS team in South Florida, you would see more positive stories from me.

          The Gaffer

          • Charles says:

            Fair enough, but there is a LOT to be positive about.

            Goal.com is reporting that Beckham has the rights to “buy” a franchise MLS team at the price it was when he signed on the dotted line….$25 million.
            Most think is now worth $50 million.

            The talent is going through the roof right now. Can you imagine three years from now, after three more drafts like the last three (including this year ) ?
            I doubt you could name a team that doesn’t have at least one young hotshot taking the place of a MLS regular starter….maybe New England. 😉

  8. jgm says:

    stop being such homers for nyrb!

  9. Alan Higgins says:

    Since MLS does not get a lot of coverage, start there. Focus on changes to clubs, CONCACAF and how it relates to MLS, the US Open Cup, etc. Throw in some college stuff too if necessary. Be the source for soccer fans in the US so we also know what is going on in our backyard. There is your stuff to be positive about.

    The “negative” stuff interests me too. There are problems in the MLS. They do need to be talked about. The fact that it starts such heated discussions is awesome IMHO. I would say keep it up but find more balance. Not everything needs to start a debate. More positive, more stuff that is happening that not everyone sees, less negative, but keep up the important discussions.

  10. John says:

    How about having your articles/posts for majorleaguesoccertalk.com be available on your iphone app just like EPL talk version. It currently just has the podcasts.

  11. Dave C says:

    Personally I’d prefer more articles talking about actual football-related matters (as suggested by Charles), and less articles talking about bad audience ratings, bad TV coverage, etc. I mean the occasional critical article is OK, but too many of them seem to be rehashing the same point (TV ratings are low: OK we get it….).

    Also, I wish the commentors (rather than the writers themselves) would stop using every single excuse to launch into rants about single entity, pro/rel, comparisons with other leagues etc. It’s just boring after a while.

  12. Dave C says:

    I agree with Charles and a few others – I wish there were more articles on actual football matters, and less negative articles about audience ratings, etc etc. I mean I don’t think negative articles are inherently wrong, but too many of them seem to be flogging a dead horse (OK, TV ratings are bad, we get it).

    Also, I wish commentors (rather than writers) would avoid the urge to turn every topic into a rant about single entity, pro/rel, comparisons with the EPL, etc etc.

  13. Robert Hay says:

    Thanks for the comments so far everyone, there have been some very good suggestions!

  14. Jeremy says:

    I don’t normally comment on posts, but I wanted to chime in here.

    There does seem to be a slant towards the negatives of the MLS on this site, but if you read some of the blogs on other pages in regards to the MLS you’ll find a lot of the same. The problem is most soccer fans (yes I used that word) here in the USA fell in love with the game watching a European league first, and now that the USA is coming along we compare it to what we grew up with. That’s natural!

    I think it’s healthy to look at where our league is falling short and promote what changes could make it stronger. So, why not include more about the development of future professionals in the USA? If you read websites about other professional leagues in the USA you see a lot of content related to the “up and coming” talent and what their impact might be at the professional ranks. We have a unique system of development here in our country, and it has some shortcomings as well, but they are the future of MLS soccer.

    With the draft so close it would be great to see some commentary on where our future stars are at and what impact they will have in our professional league. What about the Academy system? This has been a huge point of discussion among USSF fans. How is the Academy system doing in developing the talent that will be joining the college, and eventually, professional ranks?

    If we want to give as much attention to how we can improve the MLS as we do to what is going on in the MLS, why not focus on how the development of our future stars? There are hundreds of players in the college and Academy ranks that are turning heads right now and MLS Talk has only focused on one team (Akron).

    I enjoy the site, and I enjoy the podcast! I am a huge fan of the MLS, because it is my national professional league. Do I wish we had better soccer? Absolutely! But I appreciate this site and the work that everyone puts in to help raise the awareness of the MLS and it would be very encouraging to see some commentary on the future stars of our country.

  15. Peter C says:

    A discussion of MLS, where it is, where it’s going, etc. cannot ignore TV ratings, particularly as it relates to future television deals. We are witnessing that now as the Fox Soccer deal is over and MLS has requested a nearly seven fold increase from $3M annually to $20M. This will make for an interesting discussion given the flat ratings on FSC, about 53,000 viewers for a couple of seasons. We can leave the issue of leveraging FSC against Versus for another time.

    The point I”m trying to make, and not so well at that, is that in order for MLS to improve on the field, it needs to appeal to more young and in prime talent and that takes money. Why is the EPL so good? Look at the players. Why are they there? Money. And when you have top talent, it draws more top talent as athletes want to compete with the best. And how does the EPL do it? Domestic TV fees of over $900M per year. That’s domestic only. Last year, MLS domestic rights were around $20M.

    Fannies in the seats can only do so much financially, but what they can do is create an environment that appeals to good players. Just part of the complex puzzle that MLS must negotiate in order to raise the quality of the game. And great fodder for a wide range of posts on MLS Talk.

    • Alan Higgins says:

      The MLS is what it is. It is a domestic league alternative to the top leagues in Europe (and I do get tired of hearing about EPL, not even the best league in Europe IMHO, or even second best). But, the top US players go there just like the top Brazilians and Argentinians go there. They watch the European leagues in those countries, but also follow and root for their domestic leagues. THAT is what we need to strive to be like.

      With all the flaws of our league, I would never want it to be another EPL. They have only a few teams anyone cares about, teams that destroy the competition every year, and I would never want a winter season. Does the MLS have issues? Yes, but I would never want an American version of EPL.

      Let’s accept the MLS for what it is, embrace it, but work at making a better product instead of another EPL.

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