20 years on, MLS still faces problems and growing pains. But the league today is in a much stronger position than the league alluded to in the #MLS96 hashtag on Twitter. MLS today is concerned primarily with competition for talent, both within the US (from the resurgent NASL) and outside of it (the Chinese Super League). The league is still working on that magical formula for sustainable growth and cultural import. But those problems are a world away from the kinds of existential crises that plagued MLS that first year and for the following five seasons.
MLS fans will undoubtedly look back on this season 20 years or more hence with the same kind of mild discomfort that we see in the sloppy play and floppy bowl cuts in the inaugural game. But we can also be relatively certain that there will be MLS fans in 20 years. It’s worth remembering that, when the Clash and DC United met 20 years ago this week, that wasn’t necessarily a given.
Read the full article at Paste Magazine.