Thursday, June 7, 2007

Another one bites the dust

Add Frank Lampard to the list of people with some exposure to MLS who believe - as opposed to many who have had practically nothing to do with the league - that MLS won't lower the level of Beckham's play to the point where he can't contribute to England.

Lampard, of course, was part of the Chelsea squad that lost to the MLS All-Stars last year.


Gene said...

I think this whole debate about "MLS harming Beckham's game" is further proof that U.S. national team needs to play more quality opponents in friendlies, in Europe and South America. It would show that the game here can be played at a decent level. It seems that our poor showing at the last World Cup isn't helping MLS's recruitment of designated players.

To be fair to the federation, playing Sweden and Switzerland later this year is a good start.

A.C. said...

I'm not sure you're right about that Gene - people weren't terribly impressed with MLS after the 2002 World Cup. They gave far more credit to the Euro-based players.

I'd say Superliga and even the World Series of Football give MLS a greater chance for respect. As long as non-MLS players are in the U.S. team, people will look past the contributions of MLS.

Anonymous said...

I must say that the compliment seems to only be apparent in the headline. Here's one of Lampard's quotes:

'When he [Beckham] plays like he is playing at the moment, it doesn't matter where he is playing in the world.

'If he was only playing in the park with his mates, I'd still have him in the England squad because when he delivers balls like against Brazil and Estonia, they make goals and that is vital.'

I don't know if that's a ringing enodorsement of the league. Perhaps I'm just a bit jaded from the incessant stream of commentary from many folks who likely haven't attended or watched a single MLS match but feel fully justified in denigrating the league. (See, for example, Phil McNulty's commentary for BBC suggesting MLS is the equivalent of the Conference:

A.C. said...

Anon, you're right, it does compliment Beckham more than MLS by far, but the fact that it doesn't specifically insult MLS when the question invited it is a sort of progress. Yes, it's that bad when we consider such a limited sort of non-insult progress.

Gene said...

Andrea, I don't think that giving credit to the European players necessarily takes it away from the MLS. Most of those players did come through the MLS before moving on to Europe.

I am not sure about the Superliga, but I don't think most folks would draw any conclusions about MLS from the World Series of Football games. For the European teams, those games are played in the offseason, when the players are essentially on vacation.

On the club level, a respectible showing at Suda Americana (and may be, some day, at Copa Libertadores) is likely to change the people's minds. Even winning the CONCAAF Champions Cup would be meaningful. But until MLS is regularly involved in quality international club competition, the national team remains our business card, so to speak.

A.C. said...

My point is Gene, that many people's impression of American players in Europe usually seems to be that they got good there, once they left MLS - not that they were good players because of MLS.

Gene said...

Andrea, you're probably right about that one.

My point was that we have to start changing that perception somehow. Until MLS regularly participates and plays respectably in international club competitions, we have to rely on the national team to improve the image of the American game. Playing better quality competition in friendlies should be at least of some help in that department.

A.C. said...

If SuperLiga is a success, it could be the U.S. club entry to the Copa Libertadores. That's how MLS will gain respect. I just don't see the national team route to league credibility progressing much on that count.

hokie soccer fan said...

anybody see darryl powell's comments on sky sports news? he said that beckham's fitness and match skills would not be hurt by playing in mls, but that he would be hurting from traveling from the west coast to europe for friendlies. of course sky sports billed it as darryl powell says that beckham may be regretting his decision. somewhat true, but just seems like they are stirring the pot. i also found it interesteing that darryl powell, who from what i remember was hurt nearly 100% of the time for colorado and hardly saw the field, said that US fans don't understand the game, don't know when to cheer, etc. all in all, a bit of an annoying interview with mr. powell.