The Major League Soccer playoffs get restarted after a lengthy hiatus. There are two games this weekend, with the Portland Timbers hosting RSL at 9:00 Eastern on ESPN. On Saturday night at 7:30, NBCSN will host its last match of the season live from Kansas City. Both games will also have Spanish language broadcasts. The Portland game is a sellout, while the Sporting match will likely be sold out by kickoff.
Fans of the game do have plenty of soccer to enjoy over the next couple of weeks with the NCAA tournament underway. European leagues are also back in action after a brief hiatus for international action.
Based on longevity, what has been the most successful professional soccer league in the United States? (Hint: It folded almost exactly 30 years ago.)
It lasted for 50 years but is hardly memorable. The second version of the American Soccer League started from the ashes of the first version in 1933 as little more than an ethnic-based, East Coast league. Teams relied on local talent with low payrolls while focusing on revenue generated by hosting foreign teams on American tours. Operating during the lowest depths of U.S. interest in the game, the ASL truly was the savior of the game, paying players part-time salaries based on games played and attendance at those games. The league lasted for so long by being so conservative: but it died because it was so conservative. When the United States Soccer Federation granted top-level professional status to the United Soccer Association in 1967, the ASL took notice. After the newer league merged into the NASL, the ASL became a second-rate league, prompting touring clubs to turn their backs on the ASL. The league expanded west and hired basketball star Bob Causey as its commissioner in the 1970s but closed its doors after the 1983 season.
Excerpt from The First American Soccer Trivia Book by Jamie Clary; Copyright 2007 FreeFalling Graffiti. www.soccerprofessor.com
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