Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer (MLS) is the highest-tier of professional football played in the United States. MLS is one of the world’s newest football leagues – announced in 1993, and conducting its first season in 1996 – as well as one of the most unusual. Unusual not because the sport is played in any peculiar way; rather, there are several unconventional aspects to the way the league operates in comparison with top European and South American leagues.
The first difference is that the MLS is played during the northern hemisphere’s summer season rather than winter – which is the norm in almost all European leagues. The general consensus is that this is to avoid the overwhelming American support for the NBA and NHL – played during the winter season – which would have a dire affect on attendance numbers at football games.
The league standings in the MLS are also quite different to typical European formats. Instead of being a single table comprised of every MLS squad, it has been divided into two conferences: Eastern and Western. In this respect, Major League Soccer is very similar to the NHL’s Stanley Cup style of league standings. As each team progresses throughout the season, their standings in both the conference and overall tables are affected. At the completion of the regular season, the Eastern and Western conference standings determine who will advance to the playoffs. The inclusion of playoffs in the MLS is also very different to most football leagues around the world, which typically declare the team with the highest season points as champions.
Whilst the MLS is still attempting to become a significant football league on the world stage, many of its teams have managed to sign eminent football stars. The biggest of those would have to be David Beckham, who transferred from Real Madrid to LA Galaxy in 2007. Surprisingly, the Galaxy has failed to make the playoffs in both seasons since Beckham’s arrival, finishing 11th in 2007, and dead last in 2008.
Other European attractions include: former Arsenal superstar Freddie Ljungberg, who is signed to new club Seattle Sounders; current Blackburn Rovers captain Ryan Nelson, who played for D.C. United from 2001-05; and former Aston Villa forward, Juan Pablo Ángel, now playing for the New York Red Bulls.
Major League Soccer has also been a great exporter of players. Brad Friedel moved from Columbus Crew to Liverpool in 1997, and is currently the starting goalkeeper for Aston Villa. The English Premier League also snapped up USA international Tim Howard. Manchester United bought him from the MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls) in 2003.
Betting on football games in the United States is an exceedingly popular activity. Even though the majority of American bettors wager on NFL, NBA, and NHL matches, it should be known that you can bet on every MLS game throughout the season, and the playoffs, at BetUS. Not only does football betting allow fans to wager on who will win a match, there is also the option to place a bet on a draw. Additionally, during unique matches such as the playoffs or intercontinental friendlies, BetUS will attach special odds allowing for wagers on how many goals will be scored during the match, who will score first, and many more.