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THE most important MLS offseason story was …

Feb 20, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

Toronto FC Introduce Jermain Defoe Getty Images

On a radio interview Wednesday night, Houston-based soccer media do-all Glenn Davis asked what I believed to be the most important MLS offseason story.

Immediately springing to mind: Michael Bradley landing in MLS, at Toronto. (This was, remember, before Thursday’s big news of Chivas USA’s purchase.)

On Bradley and TFC: It’s not just the individual player – although I believe Bradley, as much as any high-scoring striker or world class goalkeeper, is the kind of figure who will help build a log of “Ws” and a winning mentality. His signing (along with two other high profile additions around Exhibition Place, most prominently English international Jermain Defoe) goes to the bigger picture around TFC, symbolic of Tim Leiweke’s make-good on promises to build a winner around BMO Field.

TFC will make the playoffs this year. For the first time. Write it down. And that is a big story in MLS.

The big story effect expands when we consider the implication of another U.S. international in his prime climbing aboard the Good Ship MLS, just as Clint Dempsey did last summer. We’ve certainly talked those through.

But this is live radio – a.k.a. talking off the talk your head. So I immediately began wondering aloud whether, in the big, big, big picture, David Beckham and his MLS expansion efforts in South Florida are a bigger deal in this ongoing off-season?

After all, there is very little that isn’t possible when Beckham and his A-list of media, cultural and financial influencers get involved.

Finally, Davis (the other Davis, that is, Glenn) chimed in. He wondered if the agreements between MLS and USL Pro, which integrates Major League Soccer’s Reserve League teams into the USL Pro schedule and facilitates affiliations for some MLS teams, will have far reaching impact.

  1. danielofthedale - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    The sale of Chivas is the biggest story. It was a massive black eye for the league for years and is finally being fixed. A second would be LA Galaxy II. Hopefully this will lead to more reserve and youth teams in MLS and increased player development.

  2. talgrath - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    In terms of international attention, no doubt that is Michael Bradley moving to Toronto FC. If you look at a truly massive moment though, it has to be the purchase of Chivas USA and its imminent re-branding; it’s the end of the idea that MLS is just a feeder league, where every team was going to be jointly managed by someone with a team in another country. Real Salt Lake long ago severed ties (they only kept the name) as have every other MLS team except Chivas; sure NYFC is associated with Manchester City, but they aren’t managed jointly like Chivas was. The terrible experiment of MLS as a feeder league is over, three cheers for that!

  3. tylerbetts - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    LA Galaxy II will, long term, be the most important development.

    Medium term, it was the new TV deal.

    Instant impact, it was Bradley

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