Monday, April 2, 2007

End result

I don't want to get too ahead of myself because the story isn't up yet on, but I have a few Blanco thoughts rolling around in my head.

When an MLS club makes a bold move like acquiring Claudio Reyna, David Beckham or Cuauhtemoc Blanco, you need to look at the reasons behind it. It's not like other American sports where teams make moves for the good of their teams or to get rid of contracts.

Reyna, Beckham and Blanco - the three designated players thus far - can all still produce on the field. Of course, that's my opinion but I could find stats to back that claim up. Like any new player with any new club, there will be an adjustment period so forgive Beckham if he doesn't have 6 assists after two games. Over the long haul, though, all three will produce. The arguments, thus, that these moves were bad on soccer terms are weak, in my opinion.

But these moves weren't made only with soccer in mind. Reyna to New York was natural. His former national team coach was there. He's from the area. He's respected in the U.S. He gives the club an identity. Beckham's superstar power is immense and fans will flock to see him and the Galaxy this year. It could be the most important move in league history.

If Blanco has the same effect among Mexican fans that Beckham is expected to have among fans or prospective fans in general, his move will be just as grand. MLS has been chasing Mexican fans since the beginning with little success. You need to look no further than the three Mexico games played here this year to see that. Crowds of 62,000, 68,000 and 47,000 (roughly) turned up to see Mexico. Clearly they are soccer fans, or the large majority at least. And clearly if MLS succeeded in luring even a third of those fans it would be a huge coup.

But history suggests otherwise. This time, it's AEG trying it. Last time it was Jorge Vergara. The times before it was MLS. Nothing has worked before.

Anyway, check back for my SI column because I was about to go into the same type of rant I went in over there.

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