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Author Archive for Graham Ruthven

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Atlanta United now have a seat on Aberdeen’s board. Why?

It has traditionally been European clubs that invest in North American soccer. But a recent deal has reversed the trendOne wonders what Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes thought when he walked into Atlanta United’s 71,000 capacity Mercedes Benz Stadium, w…

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Did Bradley Wright-Philips’ success show MLS’s weakness or its strength?

The Englishman routinely tore through defences in North America after a humdrum career in Europe. But his Red Bulls career was far from a jokeThierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robbie Keane, Wayne Rooney, David Villa … they all left their mark on Major…

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Thierry Henry’s Montreal landing tips MLS’s rep as managerial incubator

Patrick Vieira and Jesse Marsch are exponents of Major League Soccer’s growing reputation as a proving ground for young managers, a path Henry hopes to follow in MontrealHe was the right man at the right time for the New York Red Bulls. Having just mov…

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Zlatan says goodbye to Hollywood, leaving behind a legacy hard to define

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has picked up and left LA Galaxy after a season and a half, but what legacy has North America’s most headline-worthy player since Pelé left behind for MLS?In his own not-so-humble words: “now go back to watch baseball.” Because a lea…

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The secret behind the Seattle Sounders’ MLS dynasty? Efficiency

Major League Soccer’s original super franchise has made an understated, under-the-radar efficiency their calling card – and it served them well en route to their improbable second titleOn the statistics alone, Toronto FC had the edge in Sunday’s MLS Cu…

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Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC resume unlikely rivalry in MLS Cup final

One of America’s most unexpected and unlikely rivalries will resume on Sunday when Seattle and Toronto FC meet in the MLS Cup final for a third time in four yearsThere are derbies and there are rivalries. Most derbies are rivalries, but not all rivalri…

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NYC FC are one of MLS’s best teams – and they’re still playing in baseball stadiums

Five seasons into their existence, NYC FC are still in their temporary home of Yankee Stadium. On Wednesday they won’t even be able to play thereDome Torrent started thinking about how to acclimatise his New York City FC players to the unusual surround…

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How Ibrahimovic and Rooney became advocates for MLS players’ rights

Major League Soccer’s two biggest stars are using their clout to expose the league’s flaws, ensuring their impact on American soccer won’t just be quantified by their number of goals scoredHe is one of the best strikers of his generation, yet for many …

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Is MLS blessed with brilliant attackers … or terrible defenders?

Goals are up this season in MLS and players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic are thriving. But are they just feasting on easy pickings?Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 50th game in Major League Soccer came earlier this month. The LA Galaxy suffered a soul-crushing 4-3 d…

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MLS and Antifa: America’s top flight grapples with political signage ban

The lone major North American sports league to ban political statements inside stadiums is finding enforcement isn’t so simpleIf you’ve attended a Major League Soccer match at some point over the past month or so there’s a good chance that you’ll have …

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Wayne Rooney revived DC United but Europe still clearly trumps MLS

The former England captain has been brilliant during his brief career in the States. But MLS is still a temporary home for the best players in the leagueWayne Rooney was always pretty clear about what he wanted to achieve in Major League Soccer. From t…

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Bob Bradley recovers from Swansea nightmare as LAFC take MLS by storm

The former USA coach admitted he ‘failed’ during his brief stay in the Premier League. But his new team are close to unstoppable this seasonLos Angeles already had the most successful franchise in Major League Soccer history. A team that have won more …

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Window or aisle, Zlatan? Why MLS teams still fly commercial

MLS players have complained about flying cross country with little legroom and plenty of layovers. Others says the league has more pressing problemsThere are a few different categories of Airport People. There are the holidaymakers, often already in be…

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Wayne Rooney has driven a revolution at DC United

It’s nearly a year since the former England captain joined MLS. DC United are almost unrecognisable from the shambles he found when he arrivedFor years, DC United had targeted June 2018 as a turning point. It was the moment everything would change for …

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Has MLS expansion come at the expense of the league’s established teams?

The league is spreading its reach across North America. But some believe MLS and its owners have forgotten about clubs who helped build the league in the first placeThe routine is well practised by now. The great and good of the North American soccer c…

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FC Cincinnati pull in crowds as MLS continues its knack for expansion

The Orange and Blue are the latest expansion team to become a success with fans. Major League Soccer appears to have done its researchBefore Atlanta United, expansion teams in Major League Soccer were given something of a free pass. Between 1997, when …

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Why David Beckham is desperate to keep Inter Miami out of the suburbs

The former England captain wants his team to play in downtown Miami, as soccer in North America markets itself as an urban gameFirst, David Beckham’s MLS franchise, then unnamed, were to play in PortMiami, not far from the downtown home of the NBA’s Mi…

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Why many LA Galaxy fans don’t believe David Beckham deserves a statue

The former England captain has been honoured for his time in LA. But players like Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan were far more crucial to the teamDeciding on a statue is never easy. There is the archetypal celebration statue, as demonstrated by the Th…

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How MLS and the Scottish Premiership became unexpected frenemies

Both leagues are unable to compete in financial terms against the European elite, and a mutually exploitative relationship is developingMatt Polster either made the best or the worst decision of his career in January. Not long ago he was seen as a futu…

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Is Christian Pulisic the first part of a US European invasion? Not so fast …

The new Chelsea player is the latest of a number of Americans making moves to big European clubs. But the US youth system remains fractured and fractiousOf all the tales told of the USA’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the most haunting dep…