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slug_mlsweekEight by Eight’s Andrew Helms pens an ode to the American fan and rounds up our MLS coverage from the past week

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Photo by Andrew Hetherington for Eight by Eight

MLS fans are, by nature, defensive omnivores. Though we consume all varieties of the beautiful game like a recovering gambler at a Vegas buffet, we still can’t escape the ridicule that has dogged American soccer since its early day. We’ve heard it all before. The best players are in Europe. The player acquisition rules are byzantine. The stadiums are cavernous, soulless, empty.

We could surely dispute each point, but the trend holds. Try walking into a bar with an MLS kit on and watching a match without getting lectured about your life choices. I’d wager that it’s just as likely you’ll get accosted by a know-it-all Chelsea fan as it is that Dominic Oduro will shank an easy chance wide of net this season.

These encounters breed a reflexive, defensive nature in MLS fans. At the slightest bristle, we’ll unleash our inner Alexi, defending the sanctity of the American game with a fervor that can be as intense as it is self-defeating.

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The rub is that most MLS fans I know love the Premier League and the Champions League with as much fire as they love the rusty, concrete wreck called RFK. They’ll scour the dark caverns of the Internet for grainy highlight videos of the latest American kid lighting up the Tippelagen. They’ll spend late, beer-fueled nights painting massive tifo to taunt their MLS club’s biggest rival only to then wake up at dawn’s ass-crack to hear Rebecca Lowe announce the Premier League fixtures.

At Eight by Eight, we love MLS as much as we loved Mohamad Salah’s spellbinding breakaway against Juventus on Thursday. MLS is quirky and competitive, homegrown and imported. As a New York City-based publication, it’s our hometown league. We might not tiki-taka like Bayern Munich, but watching Lee Nguyen orchestrate a Revolution counterattack is just as fun to watch.

So to celebrate the return of our best friends in MLS, we ran a weeks worth of stories to get you ready for the season. Here’s a quick recap for your clicking enjoyment. As always, thank you for reading and supporting Eight by Eight and for helping to build this crazy-fun game here in America.

  • On Monday, I spoke to Matt Doyle of MLSSoccer.com about the upcoming season. We covered everything from Giovinco and the Red Bull town hall to the importance of USL on the future of MLS.
  • On Tuesday, Chase Woodruff gave you Six Rock-Solid Predictions for the 2015 MLS Season, one of which has already come true!
  • On Wednesday, Jack Williams dissected the history of the Columbus Crew’s nickname and the delightful weirdness of America’s early football clubs. Jackson Culley reviewed the new MLS kits for 2015.
  • On Thursday, Robert Kehoe, III took you inside USL to see how the growing third division is building a bright future for American soccer.
  • On Friday, Noah Gordon profiled Jozy Altidore whose up-and down career is on track for a reboot in Toronto. Justin Block gave the necessary viewing material for the 2015 season, highlighting the 12 best MLS short films you can watch right now.
  • And today, I wrote about the Kaká experiment in Orlando where owner Flavio Augusto da Silva is hoping to use Kaká’s global popularity to strengthen ties between Brazil and Orlando.

If you liked what you read this week, please let us know! Sign up for our newsletter and visit our shop to purchase a subscription.

Follow @8by8mag and @andrew_helms on Twitter.

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