Monday After

ivyAnother great weekend of playoff games in Major League Soccer, with matches from Kansas City and Portland showing packed houses, raucous crowds and entertaining soccer.  When Major League Soccer was first formed and went through its initial growing pains, league investors could hardly have envisioned the scene of this weekend.  Sporting’s re-brand remains one of the remarkable business stories in American sports, while Portland’s explosion on the scene is probably only comparable to the debut of its Pacific Northwest rival in Seattle.

The success of both franchises reinforces a point we have repeatedly made on this site.  Franchises in cities that don’t have representatives of each of the other four major sports have a much better chance of success.  The sports scarcity means more media coverage, fewer sports options and much bigger chance of being treating as major league in their community.  This  model has succeeded in Seattle, Portland, Kansas City and  Salt Lake City, while franchises in New England, New York &  Chicago often struggle for recognition.  Both Kansas City and Portland have pained remarkable pictures of what soccer in the United States is becoming.

Some final business notes.  MLS Cup will take place at Sporting Park, following on the heels of the extremely successful All-Star Game earlier in the Summer.  Fans and journalists will have two weeks to locate flights and hotels.  Kansas City did a wonderful job hosting the ASG and the entire community made the event appear big time.  There is no reason to doubt that a similar effort is underway for the MLS Cup Final.