A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about how I’d decided to give Major League Soccer and Real Salt Lake a try this year. Here’s what I’ve decided so far.
I’m hooked. I know it’s only two weeks into the season, but I love it already.
It didn’t take long for me to get to this point. I had watched two RSL preseason games, and really liked the team and enjoyed watching them play, but what really got me hooked was the first regular season match against the Los Angeles Galaxy. What really stood out to me during the first match was how much the quality of play has improved in MLS.
There might be some American soccer fans out there who follow the European leagues and assume that the MLS doesn’t have quality players or exciting soccer. If you watch a few matches, you’ll learn otherwise.
In RSL’s games alone, I’ve seen plenty of attacking play and many goals scored. While the quality isn’t up to the level of the elite leagues in Europe, it is still a very exciting and fun league to watch.
RSL has a crop of talented players. Before I became a fan, I was aware of Kyle Beckerman, Javi Morales and the other big-name players, but there are just as many talented youngsters on the team. Sebastion Velasquez, Luis Gil and other newer RSL players have already made an impact on the young season and have made the team so fun to watch.
After following multiple players and fans on Twitter, I feel connected to the team. Already it’s become a part of me.
Another thing that has stood out to me is the quality of fans in many MLS clubs. In a previous column, I talked about RSL’s fans and the ‘Believe’ chant. I was impressed, though, with the overall passion of fans in the league. The average attendance for the first week was around 21,000, and the Montreal Impact, a first-year club, drew a massive attendance of 58,912. While some clubs don’t have the passion that is evident in the European leagues, many teams do.
Along with RSL and Montreal, the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps fans all provide a great atmosphere at their games, and that’s something that makes the games so much more fun. As a fan, I love watching games where the fans are so involved. It’s something that makes soccer so great. For a long time, that’s why I was so partial to the English Premier League.
In my previous column about RSL, I mentioned that my favorite team is Tottenham Hotspur, and I assumed they would always be my main team, while RSL could be a close second, but now I’m not so sure. I’ve found myself feeling more excited about watching RSL’s upcoming games then Tottenham’s (that also could be due to the fact that Tottenham have been playing some frustratingly bad soccer lately).
After just two weeks of the season, I’ve become a big RSL fan. I love the club, I love the fans and I feel a connection to the team.
Before too long, when people ask what my favorite team is, the answer may be RSL.