This week has been a warm up for what my life is likely to be like after November 20th. There will be a gaping chasm left by the disappearance of Major League Soccer and I’m not looking forward to it. The end of MLS 2011 will, for me inevitably instigate a return to watching the safe, comfortable English Premier League where quality is guaranteed but my readers will know that is not what I covet. Until the return of Major League Soccer I will yearn for a feast of goals at Pizza Hut Park and I will long for the chance to see the ungraceful Luke Rodgers partner the effortlessly cool Thierry Henry upfront. Most of all I of course will miss getting up at silly o’clock in the morning so I can watch Toronto FC perform rather inconsistently and lose points from winning positions. It might sound like I’m being disparaging towards Major League Soccer but these are truly some of the occurrences that have caused me to fall in love with your superbly peculiar league. At points I have half expected to see a former women’s national team player jump on the pitch to interview Rafa Marquez whilst he is still “playing” for New York Red Bulls. You might think I’m joking (and you would be correct) but I assure you it is only a matter of time before MLS let journalists on the pitch whilst play continues.
So because Major League Soccer won’t buckle to pressure from Europe and play when we play (selfish), I have only the MLS Cup final to look forward to. Annoyingly it looks set to go just as David Beckham dreamed it would. The superstar’s final contribution to Major League Soccer will probably be his most significant; lifting the trophy itself. If LA beat Houston Dynamo (as I fully expect them to) then I am certain Beckham will leave Major League Soccer claiming his job done. The big question I suppose is has Beckham bridged the gap between MLS and the rest of the world and the answer for me is a categorical no. The truth is if one player could have won MLS a global audience then it was Beckham, he couldn’t and therefore no one player ever will. That is not to say Major League Soccer won’t get there it will just take a collective effort and of course plenty of money. Someone who I’m sure will have an informed opinion on Beckham’s probable departure is Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl who this week told the world of his fondness for this very blog. I have been shamelessly boasting ever since.
It was good to see Robbie Keane representing Major League Soccer for Ireland during their play-off victory over Estonia although I’m not sure all LA Galaxy fans will see it that way. Robbie Keane will now miss at half of Galaxies June 2012 schedule and possibly even longer. Colorado Rapids fans do not seem as concerned about missing Caleb Folan. Something I put down to the fact that most of the Irish nation would have to contract some sort dilapidating illness before Giovanni Trapattoni considered him for selection again. That is probably unfair, but I just am one of those old fashioned football fans who believe strikers should offer some sort of goal threat.
And finally I want to offer my fellow Toronto FC fans some well deserved recognition. One of the drawbacks of following a team that is based 3372.803 miles away from you is that you miss out on the wonderful harmonic repartee that you only get at a football match. However this week I learnt of Toronto fans singing one of the most superbly spiteful chants I have ever come across. Unless misinformed I’m told fans of the Reds can often be heard singing “We don’t pay for healthcare, we don’t pay for healthcare lalalala” towards their American adversaries. What can I say other than well done?! Captured in that song is the very essence of what every football chant should have. What I like most is the wonderful childish unkind undertone that even the opposition’s fans have to reluctantly chuckle at. Not quite malicious but brilliantly mean and I take my hat off to whoever thought it up. Until next time Canadians, enjoy your free health care and to those from the U.S.A (and Caleb Folan) I hope you have a sense of humour! Goodbye.