On a radio interview Wednesday night, Houston-based soccer media do-all Glenn Davis asked what I believed to be the most important MLS offseason story.
Immediately springing to mind: Michael Bradley landing in MLS, at Toronto. (This was, remember, before Thursday’s big news of Chivas USA’s purchase.)
On Bradley and TFC: It’s not just the individual player – although I believe Bradley, as much as any high-scoring striker or world class goalkeeper, is the kind of figure who will help build a log of “Ws” and a winning mentality. His signing (along with two other high profile additions around Exhibition Place, most prominently English international Jermain Defoe) goes to the bigger picture around TFC, symbolic of Tim Leiweke’s make-good on promises to build a winner around BMO Field.
TFC will make the playoffs this year. For the first time. Write it down. And that is a big story in MLS.
The big story effect expands when we consider the implication of another U.S. international in his prime climbing aboard the Good Ship MLS, just as Clint Dempsey did last summer. We’ve certainly talked those through.
But this is live radio – a.k.a. talking off the talk your head. So I immediately began wondering aloud whether, in the big, big, big picture, David Beckham and his MLS expansion efforts in South Florida are a bigger deal in this ongoing off-season?
After all, there is very little that isn’t possible when Beckham and his A-list of media, cultural and financial influencers get involved.
Finally, Davis (the other Davis, that is, Glenn) chimed in. He wondered if the agreements between MLS and USL Pro, which integrates Major League Soccer’s Reserve League teams into the USL Pro schedule and facilitates affiliations for some MLS teams, will have far reaching impact.