What the U.S. Win Tells Us About MLS

In truth, I spent my morning kick around the idea that last night's win against Mexico showed a lot of what Major League Soccer (MLS) does in terms of developing players

For long time fans and observers, I don't think there's much that's new in there; the main thesis is that MLS produces players better suited to playing not to lose as opposed to winning. In other words, we can play and play well enough, but there's a thin margin aspect to our game that's keeping us out of the world elite. I think I got closest to putting this idea correctly in the conclusion (yeah, quoting yourself is tacky, but...):

"This is the subtle difference between scoring a goal and making one; they both count the same, but your team better controls their fate when they can make them without relying on the opposition to screw up."

I do think there's a solution to that problem, but it's based on a learning curve and is therefore somewhat evolutionary; hence it's also a bit unsatisfying. We try to accelerate this trend by encouraging American players to go to Europe, but I still question the extent to which this can bring the U.S. program to some kind of promised land. In basic terms, it's just going to take time. The good news is, we're moving closer these days, something that couldn't really be said till MLS came along.

There's a lot of other stuff in there about individual performances - and I think the MLS-based players genuinely did us proud last night. But, no, they ain't world-beaters.

Anyway, read the whole thing if you like.

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