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.