What conclusions can I draw from watching one full NASL match? Quite a few apparently…
On Sunday afternoon I took the time to watch the full 90 minutes between the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and FC Edmonton. After watching Tottenham Hotspur squeak out their first win at home this season in the morning and grabbing lunch off campus but before I started reading for my Monday classes, I was able to watch the whole NASL match. Previously this season I had only caught a few minutes here or there of NASL action in addition to seeing the weekly highlights show on YouTube. I was initially blown away by the product on the field.
During the USL-Pro season I attended all Rhinos’ home games and tried to watch every away game on U-Nation’s streaming service. I also watched all of the United States’ and Mexico’s international matches and the Euro Tournament. Now that fall is upon us, I watch college soccer (both my own school and nationally ranked division I colleges on television), Mexican league and cup games, and a fair share of European club soccer. During this whole time I’ve been watching every Red Bulls’ game and a number of other MLS matches of national significance. The point is I watch a good deal of soccer and NASL ranks pretty highly in that pantheon.
I’m not arguing that NASL is the end-all be-all for American soccer; that’d be silly. MLS clearly operates at a higher level on and off the field, but the style of play utilized by many teams in NASL is very promising. Watching this NASL game, between 5th placed Fort Lauderdale and 8th placed (out of 8 teams) Edmonton, I observed a more exciting brand of soccer than the average MLS match exhibits. Several MLS clubs boast world class players like Robbie Keane, Thierry Henry and Fredy Montero, but as a whole this NASL game had a much more attacking feel than an average MLS game. Continue reading