The Declaration of Codependence: An Open Letter to MLS Supporters

 

The unanimous declaration of Soccer Mexicana,

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for the sports viewer to spread their wings and to succumb to the viewership of yet another league, a decent respect to the opinions of said viewers requires that the blogger should declare causes that compel them to this additional viewership.

We hold these truths to be self evident, that there is another league. That it resides with your neighbors to the south, but it need not stop at the border. That it would be a welcome guest in your homes. That it is an old league with time honored rivalries and blind hatreds. This league is Liga MX.   You should be watching this league. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.



1)      The Level of Play


The Mexican Primera Division, now Liga MX, is widely viewed as one of the highest-paying leagues, if not the highest, in the Americas (there’s not quite the wage transparency that you might expect in the US).  And with high wages comes high talent. Liga MX is stacked with players capable of plying their trade in Europe. And they often do; the Mexican league has been viewed as a springboard to a European transfer for South Americans for decades. Not to discount the wealth of great Mexican talent constantly coming up. The league is a great mix of all ages and thus the competition is always at a high level.

There is a great economic disparity between the clubs in Liga MX, but (unlike Europe) this doesn’t always correlate with the results. The Mexican league has historically shown great parity from year to year.



2)      CONCACAF Champions League


The CONCACAF Champions League is a great format for international competition. While still the baby brother to UEFA’s tournament, it has been gaining momentum recently as the level of competition has increased. Teams of Liga MX have fared well in this tournament, but MLS squads continue to gain ground.

As your favorite MLS squad prepares to face off against another Liga MX team, wouldn’t it be nice to know something more about the opposing team. You wouldn’t want to be the person whose only observation is, “Isn’t that the team Herculez is playing for now?”  Matches are always more interesting and exciting when you know both teams competing.


3)      An Entertaining Style


Liga MX features of a great range of playing styles. The wide-ranging levels of experience of its directors, managers, and players lends to a league of great variety. Yet, there are some overarching generalities that exist in the Mexican game that come out often.  These can make for an enjoyable viewing experience.

The play is generally fast paced and open. There is a wealth of passing, but not so much to bore you to tears. There is less fouling than other leagues (although the officials are oblivious to this) and flopping is not abundant (comparatively). A love of the playmaker exists but not necessarily the showboat. I would say that the Mexican style of play most closely resembles the less-physical side of Argentinian football.


4)      US National Team Connections


I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if you are an MLS supporter, you are either a follower of EL Tri or the USMNT (I'm sorry, Canadians). And if you are a supporter of the tri colores, you likely need no motivation from me to follow Liga MX. However, USMNT supporters, there’s plenty of your guys down here doing their thing. Jurgen Klinsmann identified one of the objectives of his tenure with the US team was to further tap in to the Latin American community. There are several Mexican-American, US National Team players you should be keeping an eye on. Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona, Herculez Gomez, Jose Torres, and Greg Garza all play at a high level for the Mexican club sides. And this list does not include Damarcus Beasley who is having a successful run in Mexico.

Undoubtedly the US National team is becoming more global, as their players are spreading to more and more leagues. However, if you want to watch these players it will be a lot easier to watch Liga MX then some second-tier German league.


5)      Know Your Enemy


If you are a US National team supporter, doesn’t it make sense to know the ins and outs of your greatest rival? Wouldn’t you want to know the players and their possible weakness so you could complain about lineups and tactics with further ammunition? I know I would. Obviously, Liga MX has a great deal of Mexican National Team players, veterans, and hopefuls. Plus, you could carry over your anger from one player to whole teams. It will be easy to go from despising Oswaldo Sanchez to despising the entire Santos squad. What’s sport without spite?



6)      Being Smarter Than Everyone Else


What’s better than showing up your friends and acquaintances? Make it clear to them that you know more than they ever will. Next time, one of your friends complains that your MLS team can’t seem to score against Tigres. Shout them down with, “What do you expect against this defensive approach of Tuca Ferretti!”  They will quickly learn their place.


7)      Street Cred


Become a fan of Liga MX and reap the rewards. Just imagine the level of street cred you would gain walking around the suburbs of Columbus or Kansas City rocking a Santos or Tigres jersey. Stopping by your local Mexican restaurant might up the ante even further. No more waiting for refills on those tortilla chips.


8)      The Many Similarities


The bad news is that the FMF officials are dreadful. They regularly take the spotlight off the players on the pitch. So in other words, it will be right in your comfort zone. Luckily, the officials are not the only similarity between these two leagues.

MLS consists largely of home nation players, South Americans, and some Europeans in the final years of their career. The player pool for Liga MX is nearly identical. As these collections of players are so similar, the crossover between the two leagues is becoming more and more common.

However, the greatest similarity between these leagues pertains to game times. There’ll be no waking up at 7:00 AM to catch these matches, unlike trying to follow a European league.  Feel free to sleep in and rest up. Most Liga MX matches are early Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.  Perfect timing for some soccer.


9)      Eh, Language


You might be concerned about the language barrier if you are not fleunt in Spanish. This is understandable but not really a big deal. You may not understand what the announcers are saying, but I'd argue this actually be a good thing. When I watch MLS matches I sometimes wish I didn't understand what the announcers were saying. Putting on mute is a step too far because you lose the crowd noise, so I’m stuck listening to the drivel coming out of their mouths. If you can’t understand the language, you can just live in ignorance, assuming you are missing out on countless astute observations.

What you will not miss out on is the explosive levels of excitement coming from the commentary booth. Gus Johnson would be asked to liven things up if he called a Liga MX match.


10)   This Blog

Following Liga MX will give you one more reason to read this blog. It’s hard to assign value to this well of awesomeness.



I write to you in a most sincere, dignified and forthright manner … a manner becoming of only the most time-honored and lauded members of the community, the sports’ blogger.  I call upon your earnest hearts to view my words for what they are -- a plea to your understanding for what is the most appropriate course of action.

I therefore, representative of Soccer Mexicana, solemnly publish and declare that Liga MX is, and ought to be viewed on your television. This league has the familiarity of home but with interesting wrinkles. North American soccer is strong and interconnected. We must not only look at half of the equation. And for support of this Declaration, I pledge a regular stream of snarky blog posts and occasionally well-written articles.  

 

Now that you're on board with Liga MX, what team should you be following? Use this simple tool: The MLS to Liga MX Converter Tool. 

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Comments

Toluca.Fan.In.DC's picture

It's about time folks started blogging on Mexican club soccer in English. Every year there will be more interest given the demographic changes up here. Keep up the good work.

Jason Marquitz's picture

Thanks for checking it out. I hope you are right.

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