World Cup illuminates difference between 'Soccer in America' and 'American soccer'


World Cup illuminates difference between 'Soccer in America' and 'American soccer'

With the World Cup coming to what can fairly be called a delightful climax, we can see again, even more clearly, the stark difference between soccer in America and American soccer.

Soccer in America is doing great. American soccer is still trundling along at its slow but steady pace.

Soccer in America is the World Cup, and to lesser extents the Champions League, the Premier League, Real Madrid and Barcelona, the fading debate between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Soccer in America is the technological revolution that has given us the best players in the world doing their remarkable things on a regular basis, and being exposed to Ronaldo’s and Messi’s replacements (Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku,  et. al.).

Soccer in America is actually having a rooting interest not only in the country you adopt as yours for a month, but marveling in the magnificent matches that have drawn you in. By any standard, this has been brilliant entertainment, which brings us to the two things Americans do best.

Label-shop, and watch a good show. We are watching the best players do their best things in electrically-charged environments, they are providing scintillating responses to our entertainment demands, and we are pleased.

And there’s not an American in sight.

Not that the U.S. team would have ruined all that, mind you. It’s just that they could not have improved upon it. They missed the World Cup on merit, and the experience of the World Cup has been better for it.

That’s soccer in America. American soccer, on the other hand, is still largely a stadium experience. In Portland and Seattle and Atlanta, to name but a few, being there is the difference. MLS does not yet translate best as a television/streaming sport, and the rivalries that exist do so only in a local environment rather than a national one. The game is growing, and the experience is growing, but it still lacks, and will continue to lack, the one thing Americans do best.


Fans of soccer in America know that the big names that have come to MLS are past their meaningful sell-by dates, and the players they have come to enjoy and want to watch even more are the ones they are watching in Russia right now. Because the World Cup wins, soccer in America wins.

And American soccer . . . well, it does what it does. It tries hard, it makes modest stadiums and occasionally fills them, and then the Premier League starts August 10, and it becomes soccer in America again.

Earthquakes shut out by Los Angeles FC, fall to 0-4 on season


Earthquakes shut out by Los Angeles FC, fall to 0-4 on season


SAN JOSE -- Carlos Vela capped his first career MLS hat trick with a curling shot from distance and Los Angeles FC beat the San Jose Earthquakes 5-0 on Saturday.

Vela has six goals and three assists in five games this season.

LAFC (4-0-1) opened the scoring in the eighth minute by capitalizing on a goalkeeper mistake as Daniel Vega whiffed on a clearance attempt and Vela walked it into the back of the net in the eighth minute. Vela added a goal in first-half stoppage time by redirecting home a cross if front of the goal, and he had the goal of the match in the 66th.

Former San Jose defender Steven Beitashour got past the defense for a through ball in the 26th and poked it inside the far post for a 2-0 lead. Diego Rossi scored a relatively easy goal to cap the scoring in the 68th, and Tyler Miller kept his first clean sheet of the season against San Jose (0-4-0).

Cristian Espinoza scores first MLS goal in Quakes' loss to Red Bulls


Cristian Espinoza scores first MLS goal in Quakes' loss to Red Bulls


HARRISON, N.J. -- Alex Muyl scored a pair of second-half goals on Saturday and the New York Red Bulls rallied after an early deficit for a 4-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.

Muyl tied it for the Red Bulls (1-0-1) on a close-range shot in the 51st minute and made it 2-1 with a volley off a defensive deflection in the 71st minute.

Bradley Wright-Phillips added a third goal for New York in the 85th minute and Daniel Royer capped the scoring in the 89th.

Cristian Espinoza opened the scoring in the fifth minute for San Jose (0-3-0) with his first MLS goal.

Matias Almeyda, who joined San Jose in the offseason after leading C.D. Guadalajara to a CONCACAF Champions League title in 2018, is still looking for his first point as coach of the Earthquakes.