BY JOHN ACE
In last weeks’ installment, I narrowed down my search from Minute One, marking certain teams I would take out of my search for various reasons (NYRB, DC, LA, NYCFC, and Orlando). I also laid down an index, which I’m still using here.
In narrowing my search, I still have 16 clubs who I can choose from. These include:
GPR (Good Play Rating): 7
BB (Bully Box): No Despite one of their players (Kofi Sarkodie) picking up 7 yellow cards last season, I wouldn’t pin the “Bully” moniker on them.
Pros: They play good football. I’ve likened Brad Davis to the closest thing MLS has to a Steven Gerrard. He’s a great player, he’s got a great mind for the game, and he fills that role for Houston that Stevie does for Liverpool. One only wonders why he doesn’t start enough for his national team.
I’ve also met Dom Kinnear. He even stopped an interview to take a picture with me and my friend John Lotterhos, which is pretty freakin’ awesome of him. It was cold as cold could be, during the CCC, and we drew, which was a bit of an anti-climax, because I thought the Battery could win, and John spent the night cheering for Houston in e10, so him stopping an interview to talk to us, and sign John’s top was really cool of him, I didn’t expect it.
Cons: Since they won the MLS in their first season, Houston have been one of those teams at the top of the pile. The problem with this is, they get decisions. They get the best players, they’re up there with LA in that fact. And I don’t like that.
BB: Yes. Two players had ten or more yellows last year, (Aurelien Collin, Oriel Rosell)
Pros: I like Matt Beisler. The kid’s a fighter, and their midfield is one of the best in MLS. They play a lot like an English team, (albeit one of the small English teams) and that’s fun to watch.
Cons: They’re not afraid to put a boot in, get a little dirty. Some people like that. I don’t. You can tackle without getting booked, kids. It’s one of the problems I’ve had with Lucas Leiva for Liverpool this season. He can’t make a fair tackle.
And also, Graham Zusi gets too much spotlight. When one player gets more affection than a team full of players that are equally as good as a unit, it’s not good.
Maybe it’s because Graham’s a US international, but he didn’t arrive on that stage until what I like to call “Landon’s experiment,” and was brought in to fill that role. For a while, he did. But he couldn’t do it in the long run.
GFP: 7 I didn’t know, but the RSL Fanbase is pretty awesome… They have a total of eight supporters clubs, and actually have their own songs.
GPR: 6 The team is held together by Kyle Beckerman who’s their captain, and defensive midfielder. When he’s on, he’s on. When he’s not, he looks lost.
Pros: The lead singer of Rancid wrote their club song. While I’m not a fan, that’s kind of awesome to have going for you. They’re steady contenders for the title, and I like Rio Tinto Stadium. Plus, my friend Aneel James supports them.
Cons: Like Kansas & Zusi, Kyle Beckerman gets spotlighted every match, if not for his play, then for his ridiculous looking dreadlocks. While I have nothing against dudes with long hair, the dreads are terrible.
Bad hair-dos aside, RSL are one of those sides who say “Oh, we’re gonna win the league!! Yeah, this is our year, everyone else, watch out!” and then they never do. It gets annoying.
Pros: The Sounders have great supporters. That’s never been a question, even in NASL and USL. They have the Alliance, which is the official supporters’ club, set up by Drew Carey and similar to the Supporters’ club of Barcelona, the Alliance even get a vote on the General Manager of the club. They also have the Emerald City Supporters which is an independent branch. And added to that is the SoCal Sound, an offshoot of the ECS in California, among others.
They also play good football, with Battery alums Osvaldo Alonso, Alex Caskey and Lamar Neagle plying their trade there. Alonso is one of Seattle’s best players, and has been named to the MLS All Star list twice, making the “inactive” list once. They also have ex-Liverpool player Djimi Traore who was part of our 2005 Champions League winning side, and our 2006 FA Cup winning campaign.
Cons: Seattle are another one of those teams who say they’re gonna win things, but don’t. Perennial underachievers in the league, the only trophies they’ve won as an MLS team are three US Open Cup trophies in consecutive years. 2009, ’10, and ’11.
They also have Clint Dempsey on their side, and while I like Deuce, his signing means that he’ll get most of the spotlight. During their time in USL, they had a bit of a rivalry with the Battery, and like with Orlando, while I don’t hate them as much, I can’t see myself following them.
Well, that’s it for this installment of the Quest. Next: Up Top: The end of the Quest for MLS.