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Author Archive for Graham Ruthven

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Rainbow splash to electric green: the best (and worst) kits in MLS history

The league does not have the lengthy history of other competitions but it has delivered plenty of memorable uniformsWhat makes a good soccer kit? For some, bold and brash is best. For others, clean and simple works. Some fans remember their favourite k…

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Will MLS and Liga MX merge to form a North American behemoth?

Executives from both leagues have talked up a proposed united competition. And there are reasons to believe it would workLast September’s inaugural Leagues Cup final, played in Las Vegas between Cruz Azul and Tigres, didn’t draw much of an audience bey…

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For MLS, anything less than astronomical losses could be a victory

The league’s centralised structure should help during the pandemic but it is also vulnerable in a way that European competitions are notThe warning from Adrian Hanauer was stark. According to the Seattle Sounders majority owner, the shutdown caused by …

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Fake plastic unease: Can MLS become a world-class league on artificial turf?

Major League Soccer’s ambitious goal of growing into one of the world’s best leagues is ever compromised with so many of its teams still playing on artificial surfacesIn every other way, it was a marquee event. The sight of 69,274 fans, a stadium recor…

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MLS to become bigger than baseball? Why the need for comparison?

Figures around the league like to make glorious predictions of the future. But the competition is successful enough in its own rightEvery so often, Major League Soccer likes to beat its chest. Great strides have been made over the past 25 years and tho…

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26 teams and counting: has MLS become too big for its own good?

The league will have 30 teams by 2022, and that figure may rise even higher. But there are fears that expansion has come at the cost of qualityThe number ’25’ has formed a central pillar of Major League Soccer’s promotional push ahead of the new season…

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US Soccer wants coaches. It’s a shame the feeling isn’t mutual

Raphael Wicky is the latest coach to defect from a job at US Soccer to MLS. It’s a worrying trend as the federation attempts to rebuild itselfEarnie Stewart already had a busy 2020 in store when news broke at the end of December that Raphael Wicky had …

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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…