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Toxic Talk: LA (Soccer) Is Burning Edition

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Welcome to Toxic Talk, where our resident hater tells you what sucks about soccer this week.

MLS: LAFC Groundbreaking Ceremony Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles is a problem for MLS and USSF. It should be of equal importance to the league as New York, if not greater. It is a massive market and potential source of revenue, yes. But even more than economic considerations, Los Angeles represents a major conundrum: a metropolitan area with a dense soccer fandom, where the vast majority of soccer fans don’t give a rip about MLS or U.S. Soccer. They’re watching Liga MX instead. 2018 looked like it could be a banner year for MLS in Southern California, however. From the ashes of Chivas USA, new club Los Angeles FC is born, starring Mexican forward Carlos Vela. The LA Galaxy brought in the Jonathan Dos Santos to complete the set. These acquisitions were targeted specifically at the Southern California market, where Spanish-speaking households are so prevalent, a huge concentration of Mexican-American families reside. These players will help their teams on the field, yes, but they were also brought in to win Liga MX fans over. The Los Angeles teams felt like they really wanted their own community to care.

All these things would be enormously positive if it weren’t for the tire fire of the rest of the respective Los Angeles’ organizations.

Let’s start with LAFC. New. Sexy. Really, really great snapbacks. And such a great color scheme, it would be impossible for them to not have great looking jers

Like

These are fine. Ok? They could’ve been really, really nice looking, albeit just like the ones the Galaxy already had a few seasons back, but the YouTube logo is bad. It just is. It could’ve been salvaged if the colors had been adjusted to the actual team’s colors, but as it stands they’re a distracting eyesore from an otherwise clean kit. It’s not like we’re looking at a Las Vegas Lights kit, right?

LAFC’s kit sponsorship ties in closely with the marketing scheme they’re going for with broadcasting their games as well, partnering with YouTube to broadcast their games. It was assumed that they would couple this with a local Spanish-speaking tv deal. Buuuut

You are in the Spanish speaking market in MLS, at the very least until Miami starts up (read: if Miami ever starts up), and you haven’t announced a Spanish-speaking broadcast deal or schedule. Half your tweets from your Spanish Twitter account are retweets from your players tweeting your copy-paste jersey advertisement IN ENGLISH. LAFC is Chipotle. They will look good and taste good to a bunch of people in a fast food kind of way; most of those people will be white.

Which brings us to the Galaxy, which are the Moe’s in this scenario.

The Galaxy have always kind of been that team that has a fanbase that really gets behind them when they’re doing well. That’s worked decent enough for LA, since they have won more MLS Cups than any other team, and are still the last MLS team to win the CONCACAF regional club championship, then known as the CONCACAF Champions Cup. But here’s the thing: the Galaxy have been bad, and interest is waning. Significantly.

Let me put it to you this way. When I got on to Wikipedia to double-check what the CONCACAF tournament was called before it was the CONCACAF Champions League, I typed in “Los Angeles G” and my first result was the Los Angeles Gladiators. That’s Los Angeles’ team in the Overwatch League. This is not meant as a dig at esports, but it seemed kind of fitting that the Galaxy seemed so irrelevant, because they have been irrelevant on the field. And when it seems the only way you manage to retain your fans is by winning championships, that’s a problem. Despite pricey signings, the team never really found players that could emulate the Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane glory days, and LA’s vaunted academy system has seemingly dried up. Once promising youngsters like Gyasi Zardes and Jose Villarreal have been let go, and players still with the team have struggled to find playing time.

The spotlight is currently on USSF and their perceived failure at engaging Hispanic communities within the U.S. It is in their best interests, as well as the best interests of MLS and the individual clubs, to find a way to reach into these communities in some meaningful way. But right now, signing a Mexican national teamer and calling it a day seems to be the only plan at work in SoCal.

Boiling Points

  • Wakanda Forever -

Romelu Lukaka put the team on his back, Manchester United secured a big 3 points against Chelsea, but the most important thing that happened in this game was Jesse Lingard’s Black Panther celebration and that’s all I’ll say about that.

  • A Cup for Pep -

Manchester City played Arsenal right off the field in the final of the Carabao Cup, taking the title easily and erasing what was Arsenal’s last real hope at silverware this season outside of the Europa League. Even that looks dodgy for the Gunners at the moment, as they survived an early rally from Swedish side Ostersund to limit the damage to a 2-1 loss, enough to send them through on aggregate 4-2. They play AC Milan next.

  • Schmelzer Scores; Batshuayi Shushes

Dortmund advanced at the death against Atalanta, courtesy of a messy goal from unlikely scorer Marcel Schmelzer. Michy Batshuayi took particular enjoyment in the proceedings, as he leveled accusations of racial abuse at Atalanta fans before shutting them down after the game.

  • Freddy Adu Sighting -

He is alive, well, trialing with the meme-iest team in North America, and he hung an assist on boyhood club DC United to boot. This has been your Freddy Adu news for this moon cycle. Come back for more in March.

  • David de Gea Is a Damn Cheat Code -

“I am a God” -de Gea