Thursday, September 24, 2009

Under construction....

Since arriving back in the UK from my trip round Major League Soccer, MLS has continued to hit the sports pages on these shores, and is gaining an increasing amount of coverage despite several British players leaving the league.

This may be in part due to David Beckham's return from his loan spell at AC Milan, together with the very public criticism of him by Galaxy team-mate Landon Donovan in the Grant Wahl book 'The Beckham Experiment'.

The cause also been helped by the excellent performance of the US national team in the Confederations Cup this summer, where a win over European champions Spain raised a few eyebrows, before they let a 2-0 lead slip against the much-fancied Brazil in the final.

But while Danny Dichio (Toronto FC) and Darren Huckerby (San Jose Earthquakes) announced their retirement in recent weeks, and Rohan Ricketts (Toronto FC) and Ian Joy (Real Salt Lake) returned to Europe to continue their careers, it's clear there is still a strong British following for Major League Soccer despite a lack of British players.

The performances of Houston Dynamo's Scottish-American midfielder Stuart Holden have seen him earn his first caps (and goals) for the US national team, while Beckham's performances, despite a couple of blips including an incident where he confronted angry Galaxy fans, and a red card against Seattle, have seen his club mount a serious title challenge. Even Fabio Cappello has been impressed, including him in the last two England squads.

But there is plenty more to look out for in the MLS than Brits. Seattle's Colombian wizard Fredy Montero was recently linked with a move to Everton in the Premier League, after an explosive start to his career in MLS; last season's MVP Guillermo Barros Schelloto continues to defy his age and keeps banging in the goals for reigning champions Columbus; and US internationals Landon Donovan and Jeff Cunningham
have had no trouble finding the net either. Speaking of the net, you can even spot the ever-green Kasey Keller in goals for Seattle.

So with plenty to talk (and write) about, I'm going to carry on with this book. I'll keep you posted with how it's going...