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In Diaz We Trust

We had a solid home win against Philly with our defense looking better and better, but our midfield and attack (apart from Hayes) still hasn’t gelled enough for us to decide on our best starting 11. No need to panic about it quite yet, as our defense has been keeping us in games. However, at NYCFC, we’re going to need top performances from every player on the pitch. Yankee Stadium is narrow, making the wingers less effective on the outsides. That means the keys to the game are going to be the creative midfielders, NYCFC’s Maxi Moralez and Mauro Diaz.

NYCFC are going to use high pressure, and that’s where you need Diaz as a release valve, but not just to hoof it up the field; he will need to find our attackers to start a break. I’d like to see Maxi Urruti start over Cristian Colman because NYCFC like to hold on to the ball, and each player needs to press. We could also see a midfield pairing of Acosta and Hayes at some point in the game. (Shout out to Austin DGB member Joshua for saying weeks ago that this would be an exciting prospect.) That would mean a very dynamatic midfield for Dallas. Ulloa has been decent, but Acosta’s confidence and passing ability would give a better chance of breaking down the NYCFC team. It’s worth remembering that he’s likely to come off the bench rather than starting. Mosquera will be more effective in the narrow field than Barrios; his through balls from deep and his ability to cut inside make him more suited for Yankee Stadium.

Regardless of our starting 11, NYCFC is our biggest test so far, and we’re going to have to play our best game this season if we want to stand of a chance of taking a point or three points back to Frisco.

In other news….

In continuation from last week’s blog: Reason number two my friend the Yorkshireman doesn’t follow MLS:

The atmosphere of stadiums and the stakes involved.

The Premier League is a worldwide spectacle and winning is a huge deal.Regarding the atmosphere of stadiums: on a micro level, Antony and other European League fans make the same mistake: they don’t meet with supporter groups before games, and they watch the games in regular seating. I admit I was also guilty of being hesitant to contact supporter groups in the beginning. But after hanging out with Barra Brava (DC United) in DC and DBG in Frisco, I found very accepting and fun fans. There’s no air of pretension with these MLS groups, and that creates a positive atmosphere where you can relax, socialize, sing, and enjoy the game. Take the last game against Philly: DBG’s Grill Monkeys cooked Philly cheese steaks at the tailgate, and exchanged light hearted banter with the visiting members of the Union’s Sons of Ben over their authenticity while sharing a deeper connection. I think the positive MLS atmosphere comes from it being a fan-driven league.

On a macro level, MLS attendance levels are actually rivaling attendances in Europe. MLS has the seventh largest average in the world. It’s also gaining more and more supporters across the league:

As the chart shows there’s, been a steady growth in MLS attendance since 2000. It will continue to grow with more teams expanding stadiums like Portland.

As for the stakes of the winning the league, is it as big to win MLS as the Premier League? Of course that’s a no, but it’s also an unfair comparison. The Premier League, in my opinion, is the biggest league in the world due to the international influences of managers, players, and ownership. That being said, it’s a cruel league if you’re a fan of a lower tier team. Leicester aside, what chances do you have of winning the league? Your hope is to avoid relegation or at best mid table. This is where I think MLS has its niche. Sorry if you readers have heard this before, but it’s parity. Any and every team has a chance to win MLS. Yes, you have your favorites, but let me give you some statistics:

Number of different winners since 1996 in MLS versus other leagues.

MLS: 12

Eredivisie: 5

La Liga: 5

Scottish Premier League: 2

Premier League: 5

Bundesliga: 6

Ultimately, I think supporting an MLS team is more exciting then supporting a Premier League team because fans are more willing to put time into a team that has a chance of winning, and one of the key joys of soccer is unpredictability. MLS is far more unpredictable than other leagues.

Here in Austin, we'll be watching the game at Jack & Ginger's in The Domain. DBG will be at the usual spots in DFW - Peticolas in Dallas and Backyard on Bell in Denton. Make sure you catch some of the watch parties wherever you are, they're a blast!

Busca La Forma,

Marcus Aurelius Wrightus

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