Soccer Fans Pass World Cup Fever To the MLS

Soccer Fans Pass World Cup Fever To the MLS

There is no doubt that World Cup fever officially reached the United States in 2014. From overflowing sports bars to viewing parties with thousands in attendance, we toasted to the excitement, anguish, and, most of all, pride for tTeam USA during the World Cup. Although the USA national team left the race for the cup in the round of 16, it’s safe to say that enthusiasm for professional soccer in the USA is here to stay.

This year, twenty-two MLS players traveled to Brazil to compete; 9 did so for the USMNT (United States Men’s National Team): Nick Rimando (pictured below), Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, DeAndre Yedlin, Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley, Brad Davis, Graham Zusi, Chris Wondolowski, and Clint Dempsey.
The MLS also boasts players on the Brazilian and Costa Rican national teams, who made it to the semifinals and quarterfinals, respectively.

nick rimando goalie saves soccer ball

The popularity of the World Cup in the United States has many wondering if the ardor for the tournament will transfer over to MLS. With the MLS postseason months away, the answer to that question will undoubtedly reveal itself by the end of the year. Until then, fans still have plenty of time to cheer for their World Cup superstars as they play in the States.

The upcoming AT&T All-Star Game is serving as an early indicator of the newfound popularity for the MLS. The game will take place in Portland on August 6. The best MLS players will compete against the Bundesliga powerhouse, Bayern Munich. Bayern Munich is home for many German footballers such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller-who had a hat-trick against Portugal in the Group of Death, ace goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Netherlands forward Arjen Robben and USA’s prized youngster Julian Green . Remember Julian’s goal?!?

julian green world cup goal

In order to determine which players will be part of the all-star team, fans are able to vote for their favorite players. The voting has ended and he results of the voting will be unveiled on July 19.

As a sneakpeak into the MLS All Star voting, ballot leaders were released on July 7. The results revealed how heavily World Cup performances influenced voting. Of the twenty-six leaders, twelve of them played in the World Cup. Considering that World Cup players only comprised 10% of the 152 nominees, it is quite impressive that 43% of the leaders in voting are World Cup players. Chances are that you’ll be able to see some of your favorite World Cup players in Portland on August 6.

But if you can’t make it, there is still plenty of time to catch them during the regular season. It’s hard to keep tabs on all World Cup players amidst all the excitement (and beer), so here’s a rundown of the top World Cup players who you can also catch at a local MLS game. They might even make it to the MLS All-Star game.

Name: Clint Dempseyghana fifa world cup goal
Position: Forward
World Cup Team: USA
Memorable World Cup Moment: Scored the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history with a goal against Ghana after just 32 seconds of play .
MLS Team: Seattle Sounders FC

Clint Dempsey demonstrated that he was truly worthy of being the captain of the USMNT. Although the US only played four games, that was plenty of time for Dempsey to prove himself an integral component of the US team.

Name: Kyle Beckerman      
Position: Midfielder
World Cup Team: USA
Memorable World Cup Moment: He and Jermaine Jones were essential to the win versus Ghana, especially as the game progressed and Ghana proved to be a formidable opponent with their strong pressure and speed.
MLS Team: Real Salt Lake

Beckerman performed superbly as midfielder, making his way throughout both ends of the field. Playing as a defensive midfielder to aid the inexperienced USA defense, Beckerman moved the ball beautifully from the defense to the forwards of the team.

Name: Tim Cahill     tim cahill fifa world cup goal
Position: Forward
World Cup Team: Australia
Memorable World Cup Moment: In the game against the Netherlands, Cahill impressed as he tied the game to 1-1 by timing the drop of the ball perfectly in order to volley it into the goal with his left foot (pictured right).
MLS Team: New York Red Bulls

Australia’s underwhelming appearance in the World Cup provided Tim Cahill with the opportunity to show his incredible finesse as a forward.

Name: Graham Zusi
Position: Midfielder
World Cup Team: USA
Memorable World Cup Moment: With a corner kick during minute 86 of the game against Ghana, Zusi provided the game-winning assist to John Brooks.
MLS Team: Sporting Kansas City

In this World Cup, Zusi was noted most for his ability to provide goal assists. The ability to assist is vital and unique since it requires a player to be steps ahead of the other team and teammates to be hyper-aware of each other.

Name: Matt Besler
Position: Defender
World Cup Team: USA
Memorable World Cup Moment: In the game versus Portugal, Besler was responsible for 12 defensive clearances. This is more than double any other US player.
MLS Team: Sporting Kansas City

Although the modest player probably wouldn’t admit it himself, he was a saving grace among the US defense. He consistently performed well against tough opponents.

Name: Julio Cesar     julio cesar fifa world cup saves
Position: Goalkeeper
World Cup Team: Brazil
Memorable World Cup Moment: During the penalty kicks in the Brazil-Chile game, Cesar saved two of the five kicks, allowing the team to move on in the tournament.
MLS Team: Toronto FC

Although Brazil faced a brutal loss in the semifinals against Germany, Cesar did the best he could given the circumstances. Matched with a relentless opponent and trying to compensate for a team that lacked hustle and a defense that was unable to control the ball, Cesar showed that a goalkeeper can only do so much when the rest of the team is not putting in the proper effort.

Name: Giancarlo Gonzalez
Position: Defender
World Cup Team: Costa Rica
Memorable World Cup Moment: Gonzalez performed superbly throughout the match against Greece. He not only played for the entire 120 minute game but also helped Costa Rica get the win by scoring a penalty kick.
MLS Team: Columbus Crew

Costa Rica was the underdog of World Cup 2014. They were ranked 28 by FIFA and virtually ruined most brackets with their win against the number 7 team, Uruguay. Throughout the tournament, the Costa Rican defense, with the help of Gonzalez, performed impeccably, never allowing more than one goal each game and helping the team make history.

Wrap Up

With the combined success of MLS players in the World Cup, the MLS has begun to show that it is ready to take a place among the most elite leagues in the world by proving the high quality of players that perform in the organization.

Excited to catch a live soccer game in action given all the buzz around the World Cup? Get out and show your support for your local MLS team!