Fans since league inception v. more recent fans

Discussion in 'MLS: General' started by FlashMan, Aug 27, 2002.

  1. FlashMan

    FlashMan Member

    Jan 6, 2000
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What's the difference in perspective? How does it affect how one sees things - a fan who slavishly watched Wynalda strike the first goal in MLS' history v. someone - like me - who watched his first complete MLS game in entirety in the fall of '99, DC's 3rd game semifinal 4-0 victory over Columbus (I think it was 4-0; Marco dominated; John fell on his face)? Before that, I probably had watched one game combined/total over four years.

    I mean, I've never heard of Jean Harbor, much less knew that he led the Rapids in goals with 11 (with 4 assists) in 1996.

    I never saw a Shootout. Replays of a few shootout plays? Yes. An actual shootout from beginning to end. No. Must have been strange as hell for even remotely traditional soccer fans.

    How does that cloud my perception of the league?

    I never saw Frank Yallop actually play (for the Mutiny was it?). I never saw Valderrama when he could still - well, sort of - run. I never saw Lassiter or Diaz Arce when they were decent. And was Donadoni still pretty good when he played for the Metros? Was Campos anything other than a clown act?

    I can't imagine 17,000 plus average crowds. (Well, I can, but only after a cup of coffee.) I only know contraction, not expansion.

    I never saw Bruce coach a DC United game.

    What other differences are there between the "old-timers" and the "newbies"?

    Just wondering if anyone else has any thoughts.
  2. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    i can do this quite easily, as last year was the first season i paid attention to mls... sure i had watched national matches and some mls matches before... hell, i had been to both before... but i didn't follow until last season:


    i never saw dc dominate

    i never saw the fire win an open cup or mls title

    i never got to see stern john, jmm, lewis, or brad friedel play here

    i never saw a section 8 that didn't include both the ultras and the barnburners

    i did not see that first season where it was a struggle out there on the field, at least compared to today's league

    i never saw the crew play at ohio state's football field

    i never saw the metrostars play on turf

    i never saw the clash

    i never saw the fusion suck on the field

    i never saw the rainbow kits of kc (ok, yeah i did... those were damn funny and laughed at by everyone)

    lalas was retired, so the galaxy is the only team i place him with


    i have seen the drastic difference on the field from the 98 world cup to this past one for the usmnt

    drastic in look, style and confidence... not to mention the increase in ability
  3. pething101

    pething101 Member

    Jul 31, 2001
    Smyrna, Ga
    West Ham United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Everything that Jim mentioned, I saw. Guess I am not a newbie to MLS anymore.

    I remember Ravelli being the World All star goal keeper in the All Star match, simply b/c he was the only non US keeper in MLS.

    I remember Zenga and his hat.

    I remember the Clash and Eddie scoring a couple of crackers for goals.

    I remember Ben Olsen playing for DC United.

    I am sure some more will pop up.
  4. the cup

    the cup Member

    Jul 10, 2002
    Real Salt Lake
    I think someone who has watched the league since 96 would have to say the league is so much better now than it was then. The first couple of years had great moments but as a whole some things were circus like. Especially the carpet at the Meadowlands, the size of the pitch at the Ohio State Horseshoe, the shootout, the away uniforms for the San Jose Clash and the actor from Melrose Place playing for the LA Galaxy. (Andrew Shue I think was his name.) There were moments though that were magical. MLS Cup 96 and 97, games broadcast in primetime on ESPN, (not ESPN2), I'm talking the mothership was showing games, ABC had games on durring the day for a couple of years on Saturdays, Tampa Bay was good with Lassiter scoring left and right, and the Allstar Game in 96 was a battle. The Meadowlands was sold out for the All Star game and Tab Ramos scorred the first goal, it was an amazing shot kicked as hard as I think humanly possible. But the quality of play as a whole is much better now, the shootout is a thing of the past, the Earthquakes have replaced the Clash thank the Lord and Columbus doesn't play on a pitch the size of a basketball court. Eventhough there is still room for some improvements new fans shouldn't knock the league that much since they have a much improved league to enjoy. The league should be viewed with pride.
  5. dawgpound2

    dawgpound2 Member

    Mar 3, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've been following MLS since day one, which means I saw:

    -Ohio Stadium's pitch seemingly make Spartan Stadium's field look HUGE! (Just perception, I believe)
    -Thor Lee actually play for DC United.
    -Victor Mella
    -rosters changing literally daily for all clubs in 1996 and 1997 and 1998. The rosters seem to havee settled a lot since the early days.
    -being scared silly the games would end in ties. I refused to watch shootouts.
    -Bo Oshoniyi playing in goal.....What?
    -Alexi Lalas and Raul Diaz Arce play for EVERY MLS team ever.
  6. bright

    bright Member

    Dec 28, 2000
    Central District
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I remember:

    Excitedly watching the first game between DC United and San Jose with my dad. The skills displayed weren't the best, but that crowd was awesome, and the late goal was awesome.

    Cringing and swearing up a storm through every shootout. Eventually, I began turning off the TV at the end of regulation ties because I could not bear to watch the shootout.

    Meola keeping goal for the Metros.

    DC United dominating and with a star-studded line-up. Wow, it was almost like having a Real Madrid or Manchester United in the league, relatively speaking of course.

    The horrible uniforms. And the horrible look-alike Nike unis, such as Metros, Tampa, and LA.

    It was embarassing to associate oneself with MLS during those days. Combine the unis with the shootout and the clock counting down. 5-4-3-2-1 *blow whistle*.

    Donadoni trying to corral bouncing balls on the sidelines of the Giants Stadium turf.

    The investors for DC and LA ditching the league. :(

    Eventually becoming frustrated with the circus-like style of the league and not watching much of it on TV anymore. But then finding BigSoccer at the same time that Garber replaced Doug Logan as commissioner. Since then, I've been following the league incessantly like never before.

    Getting rid of the shootout! Wow, that felt like such a victory for the fans.

    - Paul
  7. Autogolazo

    Autogolazo BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 19, 2000
    Bombay Beach, CA
    Having seen the whole damn thing, from Wynalda's shot on forward, including the painful elimination of the Burn in the inaugural playoffs when the brick-like Chad Ashton missed a shootout shot vs. KC (saw this LIVE), I think things rapidly improved until about 2 years ago. In other words, every year I could see huge improvements in the quality of the play, but even with contraction, I'm not seeing any enormous difference. Since 2000, I think there's been a bit of a stagnation, in fact, in quality of play. The few exceptions are the Ronnie O'Briens, the Rodrigo Farias, the Carlos Ruiz's, who seem to be trying to head us on to something bolder.
  8. weasel

    weasel Member

    Oct 31, 2000
    I've been around since the beginning.

    High point - 1997 MLS Cup in DC. 55,000+ screaming fans on a rainy, freezing night. That was a sight to behold.

    Low point - 3 years of watching the worst team in the league.

    I guess there is such a thing as karma.

    It's been seven painful years waiting for MLS to get the ship pointed in the right direction. Still not there, and I'm wondering if they ever will get it right.
  9. FlashMan

    FlashMan Member

    Jan 6, 2000
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Somehow I don't feel like I've experienced as many of the "highs" (MLS Cup '96, 55,000 for '97, etc.), and certainly not as many of the "lows" (any shootout game, the poor quality of early play).

    I can't imagine Meola in goal for the Metros.

    I'd like to experience a great MLS Cup: '99 was a dud, '00 was okay but nuthin' special, '01 was cool but they couldn't even fill Crew Stadium for the final.

    Definitely lookin' forward to the new digs at Victoria Street.

    Not watching the league before late '99, I do remember before then often seeing "highlights" on Sportscenter - that usually being the winning shootout shot or save (or however one would say it), something which was a huge turnoff to me.

    It was DC United's "greatness" which finally attracted me - I had to see them in the '99 playoffs after reading/hearing enough about them to truly draw my attention.

    It was the internet and BigSoccer which kept it.
  10. yellowbismark

    yellowbismark Member+

    Nov 7, 2000
    San Diego, CA
    Club Tijuana
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The league has gone through a completely new legion of goal scorers.

    From having: Lassiter, Diaz Arce, Hurtado, Bravo, Savarese, Takawira, Galderisi

    To: Razov, Twellman, Ruiz, Diallo, Graziani, Donovan

    The first group is terrible in comparison. Of course there are a few that have been around the whole time and have managed well like: Kreis, McBride, Jones, Washington

    Also, I remember when guys like Harkes, Lalas, Ramos and Wynalda were the 'golden calfs' of the league, with max salaries, being the centerpieces of all the promotions, they were on always on the all-star teams-even though they had sub-par seasons.

    Now those guys are all on the fringes somewhere. Of course, Lalas is having a pretty good season.
  11. Nate2L

    Nate2L New Member

    Jul 21, 2001
    From what I remember as my first MLS games was the 2000(I maybe wrong and it is late) champoinship match between KC and Chicago. I feel in love with MLS. I followed the off season. Checking every day. Ever since then I have breathed the game. I don't remeber when I first saw the National Team but the same thing happened. However with the short time I have watched I have realized threw reading posts and seeing clips/games, that the league and National Team has greatly improved with MLS and time. I am proud of how far they have come and wish I would have started following sooner. But saddly I didn't and I regret it.

  12. MLS3

    MLS3 Member

    Feb 7, 2000
    Pac NW
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've been following since 96...but i didn't have ESPN2 so i missed alot of the off-season is when i got the internet, and since then i've been obsessed with looking up news and rumors on the internet and espeically reading what people have to say on bigsoccer...i check it everyday but i rarely post...but I feel the same as some others, 96 was the most exciting season i feel...just because it was new...etc (I started watching soccer 94 World Cup, then read in the USA Today sports page the day before MLS started about the thank USA Today for making this fan)...96 Cup is also my favorite...and the 97 Cup is my 2nd favorite game ever, the broadcast of that game I believe is the best ever...even though Bob Ley was annoucning...I'm became a Phil Shoen fan and wish he was still doing MLS if not on ESPN2 then at least regionally for a team...I liked how he yelled goal, he got excited about the game and didn't sound like a teenager like Rob Stone (even though I do prefer Stone over Edwards)...I even like the trophy from the first few years better than the one we have now...The only thing i didn't like was the shootout, I didn't get it really cuz i was still kinda new to soccer and I only new the world cup (started watching EPL in 97 and something with MLS didn't see right)...but yes, like others have said, the quality of play hasn't went up or down since 2000...I think that was the season i was most excited for with all the big names coming in, etc...If I could change anything for MLS is would be let teams stay together (DC could have really been something, like international recognized) so let SJ stay together, let teams get better and better...and get a single table and recognize the supporters shield winner (League Champion) actually have it be like the most important thing...then have the MLS Cup be a seperate tourney that the top 8 teams or whatever qualify then MLS teams would have a chance at 4 titles, League Champion (Supporters Shield), Lamar Hunt US Open Cup (let all MLS teams compete again please), MLS Cup (top 8 qualify), and then the FC Champions League (heard they were making a champions league starting next season, hopefully it sticks for once and becomes traditional...)
  13. billf

    billf Member+

    May 22, 2001
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    To some extent, I think the newer fans are lucky. I was so excited to follow MLS the first few years, but the games often didn't live up to expectations.

    The first Wynalda goal was great, and I remember the first all-start game and that great final in the rain at Foxboro. I was sitting in the stands at the Meadowlands with 45,000 other people when Nicola Caricola scored an own-goal to win the game for the Revs.

    A lot of the early games were just brutal though. You also had to deal with the really really bad uniforms. Does anyone remember when the Clash wore a color called "cloudy day"? I never watched an entire shootout. It was painful, but I love soccer and wanted the MLS to make it.

    I also remember a 6-4 game in 96 played in front of a pitiful crowd in KC. I enjoyed that game, but after seeing the huge crowds at other matches, I remember being dissapointed too.

    I think what I remember most was how the players who established themselves with the national team prior to MLS, never really lived up to what we expected.

    Someone brought up Jean Harbor too. I remember seeing him play in Trenton, NJ way back in 1991 when he was with the Maryland Bays of the APSL. That brought back some memories.
  14. CFnwside

    CFnwside Member+

    Jan 25, 2001
    Humboldt Park
    lived in san francisco during the inaugural season. went to the san jose's first game which i think was the first mls game, and then went to several others. the train ride to san jose was cool, the atmosphere at the ground was morbid. we usually went in a group of 15 or so. we would do english chants we knew, changing the words. it was really pathetic. thankfully, i moved to chicago a few months before it's first season. the high point was seeing the ultras develop from a group of 15 at times to part of a group of 1000 singing and chanting in unisom our last season at soldier field. the low point was god knows how many hours on a bus to see us loose 0-1 in the cup, and then straight back on a bus to chicago. i can't believe the short 7 years are already history.
  15. MtMike

    MtMike Member+

    Nov 18, 1999
    the 417
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Hey, I remember when Welton scored 20 something goals. How's that for a flashback?

    Or, when Eduardo Hurtado was the most feared forward in the league.

    When Roy Lassiter wasn't making a higher percentage of chances, but when he was putting more on goal, so no one could tell

    I remember:

    Tommy Reasoner-- Own goal king
    Stern John -- goal scoring king
    When Mark Dodd was one of the best goalies in the league
    When Ravenelli was suspended for kicking the ball at the ref
    The KC-Columbus 6-4 game in 1996, my first ever live game (Wizards goals-- Chung, Sorber, Johnston (2), Preki (2)
    That Classic 98 semifinal between Columbus/DC when Etcheverry willed DC to win
    My favorite playoff series ever, between Chicago and DC in 99, the one where Kovalenko broke Pollard's leg (that is certainly not why it's my favorite)

    Man, I feel awful old for a 27 year old.
  16. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I remember when I discovered MLS AND soccer in general, during the 1998 WC. Never followed the sport before, but I was home for a few weeks with the new baby, and my Euro-born wife said "Well, we've gotta watch the World Cup," so we did, and I got hooked immediately. By halftime, I knew the rules, more or less, and already knew that watching soccer was going to be my hobby for life.

    Then, the halftime commercial for MLS, with Cobi Jones. Keep in mind, other than college football--I'm from Nebraska, see--I'm not really a sports fan, and didn't have cable for years. So I see this ad, and I realize "Holy crap, there's a league HERE?" Wrote down the time of the game, made a point of watching. Found an abandoned copy of SoccerAmerica in the basement of our apt. building, started studying the names of teams.

    My first game? It was my 29th Birthday present from my wife--KC vs. LA, Oct. 1999. Horrible game. I was in heaven.

    By then, we had a computer, and the internet, and my new habit had become an addiction.

    Now I live in the DC area. I will, next spring, be an MLS season-ticket holder for the first time. I've already explained to my wife that the decision between cable and digital will hinge on the availability of the MLS Shootout PPV package next year.

    And so it goes...
  17. metroflip73

    metroflip73 Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    To all newbie fans:

    Glad to have you aboard.

    Someone's gotta believe, right?
  18. hangthadj

    hangthadj Member+

    A.S. Roma
    Mar 27, 2001
    Zone 14
    Columbus Crew
    I remember watching the first game from Crew stadium on tape delay on espn or espn 2 and thinking, this league actually has a chance.
  19. Mike Marshall

    Mike Marshall Member+

    Feb 16, 2000
    Woburn, MA
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My favorite early MLS memories:

    * Joe-Max Moore's backflip after he would score an important goal.

    * Columbus rallies from a 2-1 deficit with a pair of late goals to beat New England at Ohio Stadium, and thousands of Crew fans storm the field in celebration.

    * Alexi Lalas playing both ends of a doubleheader that included a USMNT game, and a Revolution-Mutiny game.

    * Getting absolutely poured on at MLS Cup '96 -- and still having a blast.

    * This:
  20. FlashMan

    FlashMan Member

    Jan 6, 2000
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So, having joined only in '99, let me guess:

    In the back:

    Tab, Roy, somebody (Logan?), John, Mike Burns?, ??????

    Front row:

    no idea, no idea, no idea, John Doyle??, no idea

    See what the difference is between following the league from inception and joining in '99?
  21. MtMike

    MtMike Member+

    Nov 18, 1999
    the 417
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    that's Alan Rothenburg in the Suit

    Mike Sorber in the Wizards Jersey

    Is that Doctor Khumalo in the Crew Jersey?

    Can't be Alan Prampin in the Mutiny, can it?

    John Doyle looks just like Kenny G there
  22. crewcrazy17

    crewcrazy17 Member

    Mar 5, 2002
    Is that Scott Stapp in the Burn uni?

    I have more or less followed MLS from the beginning.

    I can remember hating DC from the start and joyously watching the Crew beat them 4-0 in the 97? home opener.

    I can remember rejoicing the addition of Miami and Chicago in '98 and screaming at the loss of Miami and Tampa this year.

    I can remember player like Digital Takiwara, Bo Osheoyni,
    Andrew Shue and others and hope that it would get better. (It Has)

    In another 7 years we should all look at players like Warzchya, Paule, McCarty and be glad that those players wouldn't have a chance to see the field.
  23. anderson

    anderson Member+

    Feb 28, 2002
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Having watched since 96, I think your perspective is affected in a few ways:

    First, you recognize how much the quality of play has improved. It was so terrible in 96 and 97 that it was amazing that anyone showed up at all. That inaugural SJ-DC game alone probably scared away a lot of fans. Except for maybe 2-3 teams (Galaxy, TB 96, DCU), most of the league was unwatchable in the first couple of years. Remember Houghton's Rapids and Stapleton's Revs? If you do and you still watch, I think you officially qualify as hardcore.

    You also recall that the league used to get much better media coverage (as other posters have pointed out above). So, you don't get quite as wound up about how the media ignores MLS today because you know that they got a fair shake in the beginning. Coverage died off as ratings and attendances went nowhere.

    Finally, you wonder what could've been had the quallity of play been at least similar to a first division professional level in most of the Americas.

    I'm sure that some of people who came out for some of the early huge attendances were just novelty-seekers who weren't going to come back anyway. But a lot of those folks were life-long soccer people who came out and saw a joke so comprehensive and so deliberate that they didn't feel like they needed to come back for more. Some of us came back, but I can't blame any sensible person who didn't - particularly people trying to support families on fairly low incomes.

    That's all history now, but it didn't have to be that way. Fortunately, the league has gotten its act together in a lot of ways and I think a lot of those fans who were appalled by what they saw in 96 may start trickling back after this last WC.
  24. Thomas A Fina

    Thomas A Fina Member

    Mar 29, 1999
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Is that Fraser in the Galaxy uni?

    I've been there from Day 1 (even trying to figure out who would go where in mock drafts - I still can't believe Firmani didn't just go ahead and scoop up the LI Rough Rider team from the previous year)

    ** The play is much, much better

    ** I can remember those awful unis (it's like a Jackson Pollock painting)

    Anyway, one thing that hasn't changed is :

    The Metros are still a disaster (from Day 1 on
    through). Charlie S****itano, Kluge & Subbo are singularly responsible for stunting MLS' growth.

    and I still go to games, what a glutton

  25. cpwilson80

    cpwilson80 Member+

    Mar 20, 2001
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Dude, it was Cloudy Jade! I almost bought a Cerritos jersey in that color ;)

    That picture is fantastic. If it weren't for the Claudio Reyna WC picture, it'd be my background

    If you watch the tape of the first SJ v. DC match in '96 on super slow mo, you can see my buddy, Dad, sister and myself for about .5 seconds before some guy jumps in front of us with a (thankfully used) goal sign.

    I remember freaking Ben Iroha had an assist on that goal.

    While I always disliked the shootout, I viewed it with seething animosity after Wynalda got injured

    I remember watching some Metros game on Univision during the first season, and after watching some God-awful pass, hearing Andres Cantor mutter "Oh Jesus"

    I remember the whole Missael Espinoza ordeal

    I remember how the Clash were the Golden State Warriors of MLS with their trades and front office.

    I remember calling some Miami player "mittens" the whole game (the one before US v. Macedonia) because he was wearing gloves when it was like 70 degrees!

    Good times all around, but I'll take MLS 2002 over MLS 1996 every time. I'm glad to see there are so many new fans - it gives me hope for the future of the league.

    This is my favorite thread in quite some time.

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