NASL had 4 games last weekend, though hardly anyone noticed. Nobody missed too much anyways, as only two goals were scored.
It is an eight-team league, considered as U.S. pro Soccer’s Second Division (or the top of the Minor Leagues).
All games this year can be seen streamed live and free at www.NASL.com.
It was unfortunate that the goals weren’t there for fans to see. In Atlanta (5,000 attended) and Minneapolis (they played in the old Metrodome; 8,000 people were in attendance), both places hoping to be part of the future of MLS, the games ended in 0-0 ties. This is tough because the first home game is the most promising game of the season, like making a first impression.
This league with a great name of nostalgia from the past is hanging by a thread in its survival. Montreal exited from last year and San Antonio replaced them, but the league intimated that other cities were interested. None have joined, yet.
Even successful Orlando has kept itself in a lesser league, Soccer’s Third Division, because they don’t want to pay higher franchise fees to join NASL.
Orlando is still considered as a possibility for MLS. Being in NASL is not compulsory in order to join MLS, apparently. Don Garber, commissioner of MLS, has not indicated that it is necessary to Orlando’s future plans.
So, though fans of Soccer may be accustomed to low scoring, when there are already few teams in the league and very little national media attention for the league in general, scoring goals becomes a much higher priority for obvious reasons.
Goals are the highlights to the game. Great saves can be highlights too, but if there are not an abundance of shots on goal or the shots on goal are not on target or close, then, there’s not much to market or offer fans.
The 2012 NASL season has just begun. It is a league trying to make it without the support of MLS. It’s on its own with minimal investment. Should they consider trying something different with the rules to generate more scoring, which could generate more interest in their league?
Or, should the league stay the course and battle its way to more scoreless draws and possible extinction?
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com