Brand X

To paraphrase the late, great Michael O'Donoghue, watching soccer immediately after the World Cup is like looking at pictures of naked women immediately after having an orgasm.

But, they're playing in Europe - throw out the records when Bohemians and The New Saints meet - so it isn't just MLS that refuses to take a breath. The sun never sets on soccer.

So let's see what is happening in MLS.

Huh. The Galaxy suck now. Interesting.

Hey, is the reason we're not talking about parity in MLS anymore is because we haven't been paying attention for a month, or because of the insanely huge gap between first class and steerage?

Turns out it's the former, and the standings lie. The Galaxy gag against the hideous Revolution on Saturday, the Crew fail to take advantage at home against the unbeguiling Wizards, who had won all of no games on the road before tonight. (Say what you want about Major League Soccer Soccer - I certainly have - but if you look in the right place, they will give you everything you could possibly want to know about non-sexy Wednesday night matchups.)

So it's tempting to say MLS has three teams and debris right now, and the standings would theoretically back you up, but I wouldn't believe it. The game I want to check out Saturday is Salt Lake at Dallas. Standings say, RSL gets three points. But Dallas has only lost twice all year. It'll probably be a tie.

The other thing I missed is the rebranding that current and future MLS teams are inflicting on themselves and others.

The Portland Timbers gave only slight tweaks to what was already a very good logo. I can't imagine anyone would be stupid enough to complain about - wait, really?

Well, I can see why they changed it - look how disgustingly offensive the original one was:

Makes you want to puke, doesn't it?

The Portland Timbers are going to bring a passel of touchy, oversensitive, paranoid manchildren to MLS. Congratulations, you'll fit in perfectly!

Meanwhile, Vancouver decided to go for a clean, crisp, classic look for their MLS team:

Simple, memorable, effective.

Timbers fans nearly burned down Portland over a logo that was at least within spitting distance of their MLS heritage, but Vancouver fans are swallowing whole the single most derivative, unimaginative, tedious crap in the long and glorious history of MLS logo design. C'mon, guys, if you can riot over a Canucks Cup loss, you can riot over this, can't you?

The carnage isn't over. This falls under the heading of rumor, but apparently the Kansas City Wizards are considering a name change. Current fans seem to be agin' it.

Which is probably the real lesson of Portland - change for the sake of change isn't worth it, especially to your current customers. If you change a logo, let alone a nickname, make it a slam-dunk improvement. Even then, it's going to take time to carry over the people who were loyal to the old name.

I'll bet fans in Utah would even resist a name change at this point. No, seriously - you could say something innocuous like "How about 'the Lakers'?" to fans in Utah, and...well, I don't even want to tell you the kind of responses you would get. Shocking, really.

EDIT - seconding Bill's review of Beau's book. I want to go into a little detail on it, though, so I'll elaborate at my leisure.