Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

In Which We Try To Work Up Excitement Over The MLS Cup

Do you, dear readers, care about tonight's championship showdown between the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake? Perhaps a better question is, did you even know this was tonight?

It's tough to deny MLS has made strides in recent years. Fanbases in LA, Seattle, Philly, Chicago and Toronto are legitimately passionate for soccer, and actually back their passion up with their wallets. The league is expanding regularly, and hasn't abandoned a city since 2005 (and then promptly gave San Jose a replacement franchise). Tonight's MLS Cup is on primetime on ESPN, in soccer-mad Seattle, and features two of the biggest stars in the league in Landon Donovan and David Beckham (in that order

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So why won't I be watching?

I do enjoy soccer; I haven't missed a USMNT game in five years. And while the level of play in MLS is second rate compared to domestic leagues in some countries, the fact that they're evenly matched against each other makes the games just as exciting.

The fact is, MLS would have worked before satellite TV. There's enough soccer fans in this country now to support a league, but with Premiership and Serie A and Bundesliga and La Liga and Ligue 1 and a host of South American leagues on television every week, I'm going to watch and follow those before I'm going to get into MLS. Unless I have a vested interest.

I suppose I just haven't been able to get emotionally involved in the league. I don't know the players, the rivalries, or the storylines. My local team has been horrible forever (notwithstanding last year's fluke title game appearance), so their games aren't appointment viewing. I still have yet to go to a game, because it's near impossible to get there without a car (the new stadium opening next year will help).

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The league can't control parity, but they can get their players out there so I'm forced to pay attention. Stuff like Chris Seitz slinging fish at Pike Place Market, pictured above. Let their personalities show. Where's MLS's Chad Ochocinco, or Sean Avery? Where's the player who'll make me tune in to see what they'll do next?

So let your freak flag fly, MLS. Bring in the washed up big name players from overseas. Break out the cheerleaders. Encourage over-the-top goal celebrations. Give me something I can sink my teeth into, because competent play just isn't cutting it. Sure it'll piss off the purists, but they've never been numerous enough to keep the game thriving here.

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Now if you'll excuse me, Eagles/Bears is coming on soon.

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Thanks for letting me into your modem, as we begin a mercifully abbreviated week. Remember, there's strings attached to every single blogger.

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