Saturday, March 10, 2012

First Kick, Or How I Learned To Love The MLS

MLS First Kick is tonight and well what does that mean? As a fan of TFC I should be a fan of the league itself, right?  I admit, until recently I only paid peripheral attention to what was happening in the rest of the league. Of course I was aware of the other teams but unless it was a game against TFC I didn't usually bother to watch a match, let alone learn much about the other teams. But this past year or so it occurred to me that I wasn't doing myself any favours by maintaining my ignorance. And quite frankly I enjoy watching much more now that I have a clue as to who some of the other players are - crazy, right? Knowledge is power, the more you know, know thy enemy, etc., etc...

While there isn't a single other team that I would actively cheer for, there is good football to be watched around the league. The past several years has seen the style and quality of play in the MLS improve noticeably. While still a very physical style of footy, the skill level and professionalism on display has increased dramatically. You no longer see 90 minutes of the punt and chase style of football (yes TFC, I'm looking at you - see? I can be unbiased, a little), more and more you see lovely movement through the middle, speedy overlapping runs and deadly set pieces. The quality is there and well worth even a little of your time. Besides, it is on us as fans to support the league in which our team plays. 

I have even found myself watching MLS matches in which my beloved Reds aren't (gasp!) playing - madness you say - I say get over it and watch a game.  If you're a fan of the beautiful game you watch - don't tell me that you don't get up at 8am on a Saturday to watch EPL (or Bundesliga, or La Liga, or Seria A) games - you know that you do. Why? Because you want to watch our favourite sport being played, no matter who's playing. I for one will be glued to my computer this evening watching the many First Kick matches; is TFC playing? No, but that doesn't matter - I'm excited that MLS is back!  This is why we're fans; embrace it!

And now the big question; will I be watching the Whitecaps/Impact match and what is my hope for the outcome? Of course I'm going to watch - both of our hated Canadian rivals playing one another - how could I not? I waffle between wanting to see a total mess of a match with tons of goals scored and hoping it's a boring, life-sucking, stultifying draw; still can't decide. I want neither of these teams to succeed this season (see, complete bias!) - but I'm Canadian; shouldn't I support Canadian teams - Hell no; this all about Club and has nothing to do with Country.  But I'll watch and so should you.

End-note: To get yourself truly up to speed on the upcoming season before 6pm tonight I highly recommend that you check out the following previews penned (typed?) by some rather knowledgeable fellows: The Yorkies' Eastern and Western Conference Previews, Waking The Red's Eastern and Western Conference Previews and Partially Obstructed View's MLS preview First Kick Weekend preview.


  1. Rooting is easy for an MLS fan, because it is a play-off league. For TFC fans (in the East), cheer for the West v East. Tonight, cheer for Vancouver. When East plays East (or West plays West, because there are wild cards), cheer for the draw. Near the end of the season, some more tactical cheering may be required, but generally, it's easy!

  2. You are bang on re: supporting other Canadian teams. I've never understood Leafs fans who could even think of cheering for Montreal or Ottawa simply because they were "the only Canadian team in the playoffs". Nope. Sorry. I could never cheer for Crystal Meth Palace or Le Fromage. We can be one big happy family when Canada qualifies for the 2030 World Cup but until then... club and country don't mix.

    1. ^Yorkies - I've done the "root for the Canadian team" bit because I didn't care either way really; just gave me something to focus on in a game. But this is different - this is My Club and they are the Only ones I will cheer for (unless for strategic purposes). Like The Offspring said - Keep 'Em Separated. Qualify for 2030? Feeling optimistic are you?

      ^slknowles - I don't disagree with the East vs. West or strategic cheering. But as you know I am a believer in grudge cheering or "I can't stand your team and must wish for your defeat" cheering. I will do my best to be more logical about it this season; but no promises.