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Now it’s no secret at all that the US dominates 4 of the major sports. When it comes to football, basketball, and baseball we are the cream of the crop. We have the best leagues and the best talent of any other country where these sports are played.
In hockey I would give the edge slightly to Canada, but the US is a very close second. Then you get to the sport of soccer. Not only are we not number 1 or number 2, we aren’t in the top 10 or the top 25 for that matter.
The most recent FIFA world rankings have the USA ranked 30th and this past MLS all-star game made this ranking even more painfully apparent. What we saw was a team comprised of the best the MLS has to offer, and even with the help of once successful European players Thierry Henry and David Beckham we saw a squad that was out played and out matched.
Aside from a few early chances by the All-Stars, the Red Devils had no problem pouring it on the clearly weaker MLS squad. Rooney and Berbatov were able to set up a trailing Anderson for the first goal of the match 20 minutes in.
Seconds before halftime Park was able to beat Sean Franklin in the box and place a shot past goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón. Not even substitutions could help the MLS squad turn there luck around in the second half. Seven minutes in Berbatov off of a nice feed from Rooney was able to knock home his own attempt which struck the crossbar to put Man U. up 3-0. Second-half sub Welback sealed the deal when a shot from just outside the box was deflected by a defender on its way into the net.
Now I understand that the MLS doesn’t have just US players and that many of USA’s better players play elsewhere, but that right there points to the problem. Our best players go to play where the better game and talent is, Europe.
The players from overseas that come here do so in the twilight of their careers and are still some of the best players in our league. Take Beckham out of this game and we probably don’t have half as many decent scoring opportunities as we did. If we as US soccer fans are to take anything from this match it’s that we are still vastly far behind the upper echelon of the soccer world. Still don’t believe me when I say that we are out of our league then think about this.
The best of the best of our entire league couldn’t even scratch a goal against a club team from theirs. We are still many years away from reaching the top tier and every year we are reminded just how far away we are when our MLS All-Stars suit up against some of the best in the world and every year they get manhandled.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/60278244@N00/5988841058/