Since it’s inception I’ve found it hard to really get excited by the MLS. The fact that it isn’t just a single table, the playoffs, the no relegation and what I’ve always perceived as inferior football on display being the main factors.
I saw my first live MLS match in the flesh in 1997 when I took in a LA Galaxy game at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, but since then there’s been very little action caught on TV apart from a brief spell watching Tim Lovejoy’s show on Channel 5.
With Vancouver Whitecaps entering the fray in 2011, I thought that this season would get me a little bit more excited. Seattle Sounders games did that initially but being stuck with mostly the boredom that was Toronto FC games to watch on TV, it hasn’t quite happened the way I thought.
Last night though I took in the first leg of the playoff match between Seattle and Houston Dynamo and what a cracker it was too.
Plenty of passion, thrills, spills and chances galore. No goals, but certainly one of the better no score draws you’re ever likely to sit down and watch.
The atmosphere at Seattle’s Qwest Field was also exceptional. The chanting and singing continued for the whole 90 minutes and from what you could see on TV, the whole of the stadium seemed to be standing for the entire game.
Seattle have been a great success story for both the League and the game in general in North America. The crowds they’ve been achieving (opened up to 36,000 last night) and the atmosphere they’ve been creating, have done more to excite me about Vancouver joining the league than most of the football I’ve seen on display.
Their rivalry with Portland will be the best and fiercest in the entire MLS and when you add Vancouver into that Pacific Northwest melting pot, the games are going to phenomenal.
With an exciting second leg in prospect and what promises to be an explosive tie between arch rivals LA Galaxy and Chivas USA to come on Sunday, the MLS has finally started to get me interested.
If only all their games could be like last nights one, then I’d be making sure I’d be watching more often.