Another Barcelona Star Joins New York Red Bulls – Time To Take MLS Seriously?

Ollie Irish

2nd, August 2010


By Ollie Irish

… And that star is Rafael Marquez. Underwhelmed, much? You shouldn’t be.

After some umm-ing and a bit of err-ing, the Mexico captain has agreed to team up with Thierry Henry and co. in NYC.

It’s a very solid signing for the Red Bulls. Marquez is 31, vastly experienced, cultured and versatile – he can play either at centre-back or as a holding, quarterback-style midfielder. In terms of pedigree, he’ll be one of the very best defenders in MLS, even if he’s in the autumn of his career.

“Coming to New York and playing in Major League Soccer was a chance that I could not refuse. I am committed to doing my very best to help the Red Bulls in their playoff push this year and compete for championships in the years to come,” Rafa said.

Marquez will become the Red Bulls’ third designated player, after Juan Pablo Angel and recent signing Henry.

What do you make of the signing? More evidence that we should take MLS seriously? I think so – MLS is not going away, and it’s only going to get stronger.

Posted in Barcelona, MLS

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  1. Connor says:

    add to that the Sounders adding players from the swiss and uruguay world cup squads…

  2. Miguel says:

    If he doesn’t get hurt, and plays the game 100% (didn’t do that last year and his lapses cost Barca a few points), he can add stability and new ways of attacking due to his superb long range passing. I wish him luck and I hope he does well.

  3. chet says:

    the best mls can ever be is a small feeder league. no shame in that though i suppose.

  4. Jimbo says:

    Nope, they are still shite.
    Absolutely not interested in Yanks attempting to play football

  5. Tim says:

    The point is that you are no longer watching just yanks “attempting” to play football, which is why the league is becoming more viable.

  6. Paul says:

    No problem at all being a feeder league. Get some vets in to teach the kiddies while trying not going broke in the process.

    Jimbo – In the US, we’re not particularly interested in watching English players attempt to play football either, that why we all watch the prem ;)

  7. yank says:

    hey jimbo, how did england do in the world cup? if i may, i think you’ll remember getting 2nd place in OUR group

  8. Jonathan says:

    Another case of the English thinking their squad and teams are better than they are. Everybody over here knew they were going to get humiliated by the Germans but you were too blind to see it. Granted the Premier league is much better than the MLS but most of the best players are from other countries. The MLS could beat any of your teams from the coca-cola league and below any given night. In fact the team I support, The Portland Timbers, a 2nd division club have not lost to any of the English teams they have played in the last 5 years except for Man City. Those other teams were Sunderland,Coventry City, and Burnley.

  9. Jano Olsson says:

    the english national team consists of world-class individual players but as a team they don’t really “click”. The reason for that i think is the tactics mr Capello refuses to stop using.
    the american national team, on the other hand, consists of good players with a few world-class in between, but as a team they “click” perfectly and i don’t think you can say the english team is shite because clearly they have much better players in the team but a coach that is unwilling to play his best players in their right position.

  10. Hirsty says:

    Sorry but to suggest that the Portland Timbers, whoever the hell they are, could hold their own in the Championship is absurd. I agree that the MLS is getting better and better, that the Prem is over-saturated with foreigners blah blah blah but the Championship is still one of the top 10 leagues in the world and Americans ignorance to anything outside of the Premier League is laughable.

  11. Rob says:

    MLS is and always will be just a league where parents take their “soccer” playing kids and the hardcore fans are, well, a bit odd. Nothing really wrong with that if you know what you’re getting; I go to watch San Jose Earthquakes a few times a year. Every now and again there’s an exciting foreign signing who wants to end their career over here (Except Beckham who just wanted to be seen over here) but let’s be honest, it’s never going to be anything other than it is now.

  12. deckard says:

    jonathan, unless you’re a bit slow, that game vs man city was a friendly, win or lose they don’t mean jack to enlgish teams. the clubs just wanna milk those dumb yanks who actually come watch them on their lame pre-season tours.

    mls is a joke. had henry gone to any european sub-top team he’d be laughed at. shouldn’t we now he’ll probably be head and shoulders the best player of the u.s league? no. he’s a total has-been. whether he scores 30 goals against quality-less defences or not.

  13. I still dont think that the MLS is anything to worry about I think it is still the League where good players go to grow old.

  14. Gamblino says:

    What’s to worry about anyway? No harm in the MLS getting bigger, there’s enough proper fans out there to deserve a decent in their league. It can never be massive though, the quality is moving away from England for sure, but the biggest leagues will always be in Europe because that’s where the support and prestige is.

    Jonathan’s comment above is a joke though. Any team in the MLS would struggle to survive a season in a league as competititive as the championship! With or without Henry!

  15. Jimbo says:

    This is the problem with Yanks. You assume that you’re the best at everything, all the time. But face it guys, you’re crap at football. You will always be crap at football and despite an occasional good player sneaking into the Premier League, the American league and the American football teams are not respected anywhere else in the world.

    I like how you guys point out that OH ENGLAND CAME SECOND IN THE GROUP!!! You think we missed that? You think that our team wasn’t the laughing stock of Europe this year? You think WE didn’t realise that we underperformed? England were shite. Embarrassing. But I bet you won’t find another English person who says otherwise because at least we’re honest and not deluded like you lot. Your best teams wouldn’t stand a chance in the premiership and would certainly get raped in the premiership.

    You’re getting the players that are ageing and that are only coming to you for money. You got Becks, and he didn’t even want to play. You’ve got Henry because he’s a greedy Frenchman and also because he knows he won’t get first team football in Europe. Amongst your players, he’ll look like a God, whetheras here he’ll look like he needs to retire.

  16. Jimbo says:

    wouldn’t stand a chance in the championship, soz

  17. hollis says:

    Yes, we should all take the MLS seriously.

    Any league that has to host mid season friendlies to try and remain relevant should be taken very seriously.

  18. Jon says:


    I’m a realistic (i.e. honest and not deluded like you think we all are) American who has played football, watched American football, and watched English football for years. I recognize the many current limitations of the US Men’s National Team and MLS, though am often frustrated that progress seems to proceed slowly.

    However, I need to emphasize the key word there: progress. After a 40 year drought, the US Men’s National Team qualified for the 1990 World Cup and has qualified for every WC since. In 1994, 2002, and 2010 the team progressed beyond the group stage. In 2009, the team only lost 3-2 to Brazil in the Confederations Cup final. In 2010, the team won its first group stage at a World Cup. More American players are playing abroad than ever before (okay sure, only a handful in the top European leagues). This combined, to me at least, suggests progress. Are we going to win the next World Cup? No. Will we win one within the next 20 years? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we make a semi-final or final appearance.

    As for MLS, let’s remember that the league has only existed for 15 years. The league is still in an expansion phase, is still evolving financially, and still has to compete with 4 other major sports for fan support. Yes, the league still attracts ageing players but at least now the league is attracting players to come over for more than just one final glory year. Would some of the MLS teams be “raped” in the premiership? Well, sure some of the weaker MLS teams would probably be destroyed by an in-form Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United. But I tink some of the stronger MLS teams would compete well against the likes of Stoke, West Ham, West Brom, or Bolton.

    The link that needs more work is young player development. Once that begins to click, then the league will become much more competitive. With that said, this all takes time. In another 10-20 years, the league will be much more developed, stronger and competitive.

    So if you want to bury your head underground and pretend like this isn’t happening, then fine by me. But to suggest that Americans are “still shite”, “crap at football” and “will always be crap at football” just ignores recent history and these current trends.

  19. Jeff says:

    As an Englishman there’s nothing worse or more embarrassing than English football snobs who can’t accept the fact that America is getting better at football every year whereas English football just seems to get worse. It’s almost as if the English don’t want America to be good at football. England is a mediocre team and will have a hard time qualifying for the Euros. And if they do qualify they won’t have any impact.

  20. Les says:

    They’re doing quite well considering that both Beckham and Henry were wanted by Premier League teams before going to the MLS

  21. Jeff says:

    England and America both went out in the 2nd round of the World Cup but it was the WAY they went out that was different. I was embarrassed that England just rolled over and died whereas the Yanks really fought and could hold up their heads with pride. They may have lesser talent but they play well as a team. Americans CAN play football and to be brutally honest they seem to be playing it better than the English which is why the Premiership is so full of foreigners as English talent seems to have vanished. Come on lads, 1966 was a long time ago.

  22. Jeff says:

    Oh and England were not the laughing stock of Europe. I believe that honour was split between France and Italy.

  23. Jonathan says:

    Completely agree with everything Jeff said. And yes the Portland Timbers could compete in the Championship league and it is not one of the top ten leagues in the world. Sorry.

  24. Jimbo says:

    And neither is the American league, by the way.
    Like I said, the proof is in the pudding, and so far, there’s no pudding.

  25. Gamblino says:

    You make a good argument Jonathan and the English league has peaked. It’s fucked now (which I think is a good thing). But sorry, the Portland Timbers COULD NOT compete in the Championship! The best MLS teams would struggle. I remember Beckham compared MLS standard to League 2. But I suppose until we open our league to minor league American teams no one is gonna convince you!

  26. deckard says:

    next 20 years, next 5 world cup that is, do i see the u.s reaching the semi-finals(under normal circumstances)? then the answer is no. uruguay was the odd duck in the semi’s this year, overall a fairly average to average good side but with one world-class exception: diego forlan. the u.s don’t have such a technically brilliant player and if landon donavan is the best the u.s can conjure up in 15 years of mls then i don’t see you guys being among the best 4 in the world within the next half century or so.

    stop exaggerating will ya. i’m dutch not english so i was laughing all the way when england got spanked by germany. but it’s bs to say england won’t qualify for the euro. they will blitz through that group, have you seen it? wales, bulgaria, switzerland. capello’s side will have no problems. it’s when the pressure is on at the tournament itself when we get to see england at it’s worst.

  27. Jeff says:

    I have no idea what young players are coming up through America’s youth system but it has to be better than England. Until the elite Premiership sides start signing young players (not foreigners) and develop academies then the future is bleak for English football. What worries me is that American football grows every year and English football declines. 20 years is a long time. For all we know by then the World Cup will be won by America or Australia or Japan! No more golden generation. No more Beckham. I’m not even convinced by Rooney after his useless World Cup. I don’t know. I’m at a loss. Thank God I’m not Capello!

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