With the United States coming off of a thrilling World Cup run the thought was the MLS would increase their fan base and embrace the world's sport. There has been an increase in popularity, but nothing like MLS officials had anticipated. Seattle continues to pack Qwest Field, but the rest of the league hasn't experienced the same kind of support. I still believe the great soccer revolution in this country is about 10 years away. Futbol will never be as popular as football or basketball, but it will become a viable commodity that can flourish in select markets.
The MLS playoffs start in a couple of weeks and the MLS Cup is up for grabs. Defending champs Real Salt Lake have their eyes set on repeating, but there are several teams that stand in their way. New York and Los Angeles are getting healthier and the impact of Thierry Henry (New York) and David Beckham (Los Angeles) can't be over looked. Although these international stars are past their primes they are still dangerous and have a ton of experience in big games. Columbus looked like a contender early, but they have struggled in the 2nd half of the season with consistency and don't appear to be a factor. FC Dallas remains a threat having enjoyed a 19 game unbeaten streak during the season (a league record) but I question whether they are ready for prime time. That leaves the Seattle Sounders. The Sounders have had a spectacular 2nd half of the season and managed to win their 2nd consecutive Open cup. If they stay healthy and get past Los Angeles I think this could be the year the Sounders bring the cup back to the Emerald city and establish Seattle as the soccer capital of the country. The Sounders have talent, depth, and a rabid fan base so now all they need is the hardware to put them on the map. Good luck.