by Kevan Lee
Kevan Lee is notqualified to do a soccer column. He is an NFL fan with a narrow worldview and a strong distaste for sports that don't involve use of hands. Nevertheless, he thought doing MLS power rankings would be a fun idea. He is probably confusing fun with either masochism or irrelevance.
There are three myths about soccer that need debunking.
1. Soccer is entertaining.
2. America is good at soccer.
3. The MLS is a crock.
Let's start from the top.
Socceris not entertaining. I have watched two hours of 0-0 soccer action,and I can honestly say that I did not walk away from that viewingexperience wanting more. On the contrary, I wanted to murder the gameof soccer.
Somemight say that my bad experience could be partially blamed on watchingMLS soccer on Fox Soccer Channel. That's a discussion for anothertime. But what I have found is that soccer is not consistently,memorably entertaining. If it was, I would own a Frankie Hejduk jerseyand know who Frankie Hejduk is.
Americais not good at soccer. We are good at democracy, competitive eating,and making up reasons to go to war, but when it comes to the beautifulgame (which, in MLS, is up for debate), we are simply above average. Our deep run in the 2002 World Cup is mostly to blame for thediscrepancy between reality and imagination, as we played beyond ourmeans in reaching the quarterfinals. Since then, we have continuedbuilding a strong foundation that should yield benefits sometime aroundWorld Cup 2022 (or so says this Facebook group).
TheMLS is not a crock. At least, it is not a crock in the way the XFLwas. For a league going into its 13th season, the MLS is doing quitefine actually, despite the constant criticism from mainstream media andignorant sports fans.
Forthe longest time, I was one of those ignorant sports fans. I madejokes about poor attendance and Cobi Jones' haircut because I couldhave cared less about whether or not soccer succeeded in the US. I hadmy NFL and my Pretender reruns, and I was happy.
Thena strange thing happened. I got hooked by the US's World Cupappearance in 2002, and I started following the players long after theCup had ended. Naturally, I was drawn to MLS, considering so manyplayers call it home. The action wasn't half bad. The build-up to agoal was exciting, and the personalities of the players were fun towatch.
Still,I am no expert on the game. Far from it. If I hope to achieveanything from this column, it is to entertain die-hard soccer fans withmy naïve comments and to document the journey of a mainstream fan tothe fringe of American sports. Should I learn something along the way,then great. Should I flame out in a bitter post toward theinsufficiencies of soccer, then I apologize in advance.
I really don't know what I'm getting myself into.
MLS Power Rankings
1. HoustonDynamo. The two-time defending champions deserve to start the season atthe top. And I deserve a medal for knowing that they are two-timedefending champions.
2. DC United. The team with the best regular season record tanked in the playoffs. Mavericks fans, the MLS was made for you!
3. New England Revolution. Taylor Twellman is the Carson Palmer of MLS.
4. Chivas USA. Brad Guzan is my favorite goalkeeper. I could not tell you why.
5. FC Dallas. I support any team that plays in a Pizza Hut Park or a Carl's Jr. Coliseum, for that matter.
6. Chicago Fire. The inappropriateness of this team nickname continues to startle me.
7. LA Galaxy. Will a healthy David Beckham make a difference? Will exponentially less media attention?
8. NY Red Bulls. Jozy Altidore should be fun to watch for a soccer player.
9. Columbus Crew. The Crew's Argentinian striker Schelotto must feel so terribly far from home in Columbus.
10. Kansas City Wizards. I know literally nothing about this team.
11. Real Salt Lake. With no Freddy Adu, it will be hard to tell just how many teenage girls to expect at home games.
12. Toronto FC. My goodness. How many of these teams are there?!
13. Colorado Rapids. Rapidly sucking.
14. San Jose Earthquakes. The expansion Quakes will have a tough timestaying competitive in their first year. Fortunately, relegation doesnot exist in MLS.
Kevan Lee is a freelance writer and author of www.kevanlee.com and www.obnug.com.
Read more sports stuff at bleacherreport.com.