I agree with all this, but think that every sport has also needed a "Big Bang" to put it on the map. Baseball, by virute of being "first" and the "national pastime," did not rely on such a bang initially. But, with the sport floundering in the wake of the Black Sox scandal, it took Babe Ruth and juiced balls to revive interest in the sport in the 1920s. Pro football was a weak cousin to college football until about 1958 or so, when the famous Colts-Giants championship was televised, and suddenly people began caring about the pro game. Pro basketball stumbled along for years. Chamberlain v. Russell, the mighty Celtics, even Dr. J were not enough to make the game a truly successful national presence. It was not until the arrival of Bird v. Magic and, just behind them, Michael Jordan which put the NBA where it is today. And, with hockey, it was obvious: 1980's Miracle on Ice. MLS today is no different than any of the other sports leagues (well, the NFL, NBA and NHL) pre their respective "bangs": relatively stable (if not profitable), respectable fan base (even if not as "national" or across-the-board as the other sports), TV presence for those willing to find it. But it (and soccer as a rule) will need a "bang" to cement it into the national consciousness. It had Pele in the 1970s, but this was more a "pop," and the NASL owners didn't know what to do with it anyway. It's been said before, but it will take something like a World Cup victory to really make soccer "American." Until then, we'll get along just fine, just as the NHL did--even if it is in a limited amount of cities and without a lot of TV coverage.