Meet Bob. Bob is an American soccer fan, an avid supporter of the USMNT, and Liverpool FC on weekends, with a soft spot for Barcelona. Bob's seen it all, Champions League group stages, FA Cup replays, La Liga on Sundays. But Bob has never been able to "get into" MLS, for whatever reason. He exactly the sort of character MLS chairman Don Garber was talking about when he told Grant Wahl, “There are still far more soccer fans in this country than there are MLS fans.”
Bob, bored with the American football highlights seemingly on every single channel, happens upon ESPN at 8:30 PM EST last night. Now, keep in mind, Garber wants people like Bob in the MLS fold. Bob considers himself a knowledgeable follower of the game. He's willing to give this a chance; I mean, you're not going to find much live soccer at 8:30 PM on a Sunday evening.
So what's the first thing Bob sees?
That's right, a pitch resembling an abandoned city lot. Bob notices long passes bobbling their way to the feet of waiting wingers, easily picked off by listless full-backs. He sees short passes bungled out to touch. He sees attacks forming almost as soon as they're snuffed out when a player is forced to take too many touches.
Bob isn't thinking, if only there was more money for better players, more DP slots, so it could be a better league. Bob is wondering why the pitch looks like complete and utter shit for a so-called Cup Final. So, after a tedious first half, Bob declares that this is mickey mouse stuff, watches the Defoe highlights again and goes to sleep, vowing never to watch an MLS game again.
Sometimes bringing in American soccer fans to MLS comes down to the small stuff.