TFC Fans…. Fans of the club but not fans of the League?
I must confess that I did not give much thought to the MLS before Toronto FC came along. And for the majority of TFC fans I would think the same is true. I was focused on the EPL and international footy (especially Canada of course) before the prospect of a local team came on the horizon in Toronto. Today for example I got up to watch Everton play West Ham on TV and I had the Fulham/Wigan and Liverpool/Birmingham matches streaming on the laptop at the same time. It was like footy Mission Control in our living room.
Arsenal played yesterday and none of these matches had any impact on the Gunners, but yet I saw enough in these games today to get up early on a Sunday to watch them. Torres, Gerrard, Dempsey, Saha and Cahill were some of the reasons for watching these games. World class players playing top quality footy. This afternoon I even spent a little time watching Udinese lay the smackdown on Juventus 3-nil.
I must confess that getting as excited and engaged for a non TFC MLS match is significantly harder for me. The developments surrounding the recent Designated Player rule changes got me thinking as to why I am not as interested in watching the non TFC MLS games as perhaps I should be. It comes down to I think the quality of the players on the pitch. In a salary cap league there will never be enough quality on display to make one forget about the Premiership, La Liga or Seria A, but there certainly could be more quality on display than there is right now.
The way the DP rule has been implemented in the MLS is in my humble opinion completely off base. A club like Toronto that is profitable and has a strong ownership group should be allowed to bring in two or three DP’s without having to sacrifice squad depth and quality on the lower end of the salary scale to do it. And after thinking it over I have no problem per se with a “luxury tax” going towards teams not using DP’s as allocation money to even the playing field.
But this league will never ever be considered “Major League” Soccer instead of just Soccer then it is time to take some of the shackles off and let more quality onto the pitch.