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MLS ONLY HAPPY WHEN IT RAINS? FINAL PLAYED AGAIN IN DOWNPOUR
Published October 27, 1997
A crowd of 57,318 attended the MLS Cup '97 at RFK Stadium yesterday as DC beat Colorado 2-1 in a "cold rain" (William Gildea, WASHINGTON POST, 10/27). MLS also awarded its '98 championship game to the Rose Bowl, marking the first West Coast site for the game (N.Y. TIMES, 10/26). YEAR IN REVIEW: MLS Commissioner Doug Logan: "I can confidently say the terrible twos are over. We turned three last week. The MLS is here for the long run. We are on the right track" (S.F. EXAMINER, 10/25). More Logan: "In year two, the gods were all against us. New York and L.A., for much of the season, both were in last place and neither team had an attractive personality. We had a freak number of weather days. ... The fact that we have weathered it as well as we have is a good sign." In reviewing the league's second season, the AP's Brian Trusdell wrote that its "drop in attendance and cable TV ratings was perhaps not as bad as some might have expected" (AP/HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/26). In L.A., Grahame Jones noted that with MLS' TV deal with ABC/ESPN and Nike's $120M sponsorship deal with U.S. Soccer, American soccer "is ending on an extraordinarily high note." But MLS attendance "remains troublesome," TV ratings "also were off," and stadiums "remain a thorny issue." MLS had budgeted for a $23M operating loss in its inaugural season "but actually lost" $4M less than that. This season, it will lose slightly more than $13M, which was expected (L.A. TIMES, 10/26). In Hartford, Jerry Trecker wrote that while MLS has demonstrated "health at the gate" and "staying power," the quality of play "is still well below the top national league standards of Europe and South America." Trecker: "If MLS has already beaten the naysayers who predicted disaster, it has yet to win over the general sports fan or talk show host" (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/26)....In other news, MLS sold in first "high-profile" U.S. player when it reached a deal to send Crew goalkeeper Brad Friedel to the English League club Liverpool for around $1.6M (WASHINGTON POST, 10/25).