As in cleaned by the MLS Ministry of Truth, Tino Palace singles out Clint Dempsey by name for praise – since he plays in MLS – and Reyna and Bocanegra for criticism – since they play in England. Then in a section titled "Bid Names did not Deliver" Beasley gets called out a bit, but nary a mention of Mr Invisible Landon Donovan, for me the biggest disappointment. Instead we get "A lot of questions will be asked about some of the big names on this squad, and the answers will be tough to ascertain." Even some not too harsh line like "Even MLS Stars like Donovan failed to play up to their talent" or some such line should have been in there. But no, let’s not put any criticism on the shoulders of MLS’ Golden Boy of the Moment. We should be glad he chose California over Germany and leave it at that.
Is it not in MLS’ interest to single him out like this? Possibly. But then, why have a column on the World Cup at all? If the US had gotten a win or advanced out their group, we’d be reading tons of articles about how much MLS players contributed to it, including all those guys playing in Europe who got their big chance in MLS, blah blah blah. I don’t think its unreasonable to expect some level of honesty about individual MLS players when the US disappoints as it did. Otherwise, all the MLS columns are just mouth pieces for the league’s front offices (well yeah we should have known that all along), and we can’t really trust anything that they try to pass of as analysis, since its really spin.
OK – so why did this article resonate so much and lead me to post? Shouldn’t I, as a media-savy internet user, have known that the MLS web site wouldn’t give us anything but spin? Spin meant to convince me American soccer fan that the league is super-great full of great young talent? Maybe. But before this, I never had the feeling that the league was trying to manipulate my perceptions so blatantly, the article was a pretty poor and transparent attempt at doing so. I’m still a huge DC United fan and American soccer fan, but now when I read the "columns" on MLSNet, I’ll take a dramine first.