English ‘journalism’ and self-assessment when it comes to football both leave something to be desired. By the time a friend emailed me the article linked to above, I had read what Alexi Lalas actually said and what was being reported on in the English press. Lalas has said some really stupid things, probably today. He said he was going to build Red Bull New York into a superclub. Then he said the same thing about the LA Galaxy. He said the Galaxy wouldn’t let Beckham travel to Europe to play in friendlies for England when FIFA rules mandate it (he has since recanted). What Lalas actually said regarding the latest debacle, which is being misconstrued in the London AP article, is in this article in the Guardian.
Lalas called English soccer inferior, but he was referring to Spain’s La Liga. He talks about how there are only 4 teams who compete for the premiership and how most people who speak poorly about MLS have never actually watched a game. Brash, yes – but I agree. He also mentions how many MLS players could play in the premiership, something I also agree with. Look at the results of friendlies between MLS and Premiership sides. DC United has never lost to a premiership team. Look at all the Americans making their way into the premiership. English teams have way more money and thus depth, but clubs 8 – 20 in the premiership would fit in well in MLS.
Finally, let me just say that while I love the English they are delusional when it comes to football. Last summer they constantly sang this anthem “Football is coming home”, fully expecting to win the World Cup. They think they own the game. Expectations are out of whack when taken in context with recent results.
So, thanks Lalas and thanks ESPN for drumming up some interest in MLS. There’s no such thing as bad press, right?