MLS: 10 Great Moments in American League History
The MLS has seen some great moments since its inception in 1996—impressive goals and exciting cup victories from fantastic players.
The continued growth in the MLS has had a positive impact on US soccer as the reputation of the league and the level of play has gone up throughout the years.
Here are some of the best moments in MLS history so far.
Inaugural MLS All-Star Game 1996
The inaugural MLS All-Star game saw a crowd of over 78,000 fans show up to watch the East beat the West 3-2.
That type of fan support showed how big football was in the US back then, and the sport has only continued to grow.
DC United Wins the CONCACAF Champions Cup 1998
Just two years after the league began, DC United became the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup (now called the CONCACAF Champions League.)
United was the best MLS teams in the early years of the league, but they pulled off quite a feat while defeating a team from Trinidad and two Mexican teams, including the historic club Toluca.
DC United Completes Intercontinental Double 1998
After winning the CONCACAF Champions Cup earlier in the year, DC United went on to win the Inter-American Cup and be crowned champions of the Americas.
United beat Vasco Da Gama 2-0 in the second leg game to come out as eventual 2-1 winners over both legs.
In the very early years of the MLS, they had a a team that was on top of all others.
MLS All-Star Game 2002
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This game was another chance to showcase some great US and MLS talent. The 2002 All-Star game pitted an MLS team against the US national team, who were coming of an impressive run in the 2002 World Cup.
The MLS won the game 3-2, and it was interesting to see future US stars like Carlos Bocanegra, Tim Howard and Taylor Twellman line up against the current team.
MLS All-Stars vs. Chivas Guadalaraja 2003
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After following the usual All-Star template of East vs.West used in all the other major leagues, the MLS decided on a different format, which has proved to be really successful.
In 2003, the MLS All-Star team played Chivas Guadalajara at the Home Depot Center and won the game 3-2. The league went back to the East vs. West version the following year, but since then, they have faced a series of British opposition in some very competitive games.
From 2005 onwards, the MLS All-Stars have been pitted against the likes of West Ham, Fulham, Celtic and Manchester United and have a pretty decent record in those games.
MLS All-Star Game 2005
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This MLS All-Star game isn't significant because of the crowd or the result, the MLS All-Stars beat Fulham 4-1, but because it was probably the best evidence as the type of talent the MLS could produce.
Brian McBride, a former MLS star, lined up for one of the most storied teams in the English Premier League and Clint Dempsey, soon to be a Fulham player himself, lined up for the MLS All-Stars.
Both US players have had a great impact on the London side, with Dempsey still a member of the team of course, and are tow of the best examples of the talent MLS teams could nurture.
LA Galaxy Signing David Beckham 2007
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In terms of best moments for the MLS, David Beckham's move to the LA Galaxy has to rank toward the top.
Although Beckham's arrival may not have had a major impact on the playing field in terms of silverware, his arrival had a significant impact in other respects.
The reputation of the league went up considerably, and Beckham's move has since been repeated by other stars, like Thierry Henry. From a commercial standpoint, Beckham has been key to the MLS's continued growth.
MLS Reserve League to Return 2011
The MLS Reserve league returned in 2011, which is a good thing for the league. The reserve league will allow younger players to get some valuable playing time.
With the continuing growth of MLS Youth Academies, the return of the reserve league is another positive step towards better youth development.
FC Dallas Wins in Mexico 2011
FC Dallas did what no other MLS club before them could—beat a Mexican team in Mexico. The 1-0 win over Pumas UNAM was a significant moment for the league.
It showed just how far MLS teams have come and proved the growth in quality within the MLS.
MLS Deal with NBC 2011
Towards the end of 2011 the MLS agreed a three-year broadcast deal with NBC sports. As mentioned in the the article,
The NBC Sports Network will televise 38 regular-season games, three playoff games and two US men’s national team matches. All telecasts on NBC and NBC Sports Network will consist of pregame and postgame coverage. According to the agreement, the NBC Sports Group obtains digital rights across all platforms and devices for the games it televises.
This deal will enable the MLS to have even more viewers during the 2012 season and is a result of all the growth the league has seen during the years.