Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The MLS international talent: Where's the D?

Yes, the title makes you think David Beckham, but that is not what this post is all about. IDYFT contr'ebutant Garwood pointed out his dismay with the new head coach selection and I agree. But I'd like to talk about a discrepancy under old Brucey boy. When the US team had success back in 2002 Bruce Arena praised the MLS for nurturing the US teams talent, while after the US crapped out last year he blamed the MLS for not challenging players enough. The MLS has a problem, and it's ticket sales, and I think their solution has been to recruit international players who can score goals, and they have been ignoring the back four. While you could point out that the US didn't score many times last World Cup, the only people forward were Donovan and McBride. If Zindane and Henry had trouble scoring against skilled defences, Donovan and McBride don't stand much of a chance on their own (and many other reasons - Donovan should NEVER play with his back to the goal, etc.). The reason only two or perhaps three people made a run is that the other 8 had to stay back and defend. If you want US talent to improve in the MLS, you need to recruit some international defenders. The MLS currently has 44 midfield and forward internationals - some well known - and 12 defenders; none of which I recognize and only half of them actually see time on the field. Rather than give up and try to send our youth talent out of the MLS and abroad, the MLS should seek experienced defenders to develop our national team players in the MLS. Finally, if our National Team players face better defenses in the MLS, they can also improve their skills.

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