In honor of the MLS Cup final, we're thrilled to release Overlap 04, the latest edition of our digital soccer magazine.
Each year, writers and editors struggle with how to refer to the MLS championship game: Is it simply "MLS Cup," an independent entity like the Super Bowl? Or is it the "MLS Cup final," signifying the end of the mini-tournament that is the playoffs?
To most, it doesn't matter. But we like to call it the "MLS Cup final."
Because this is the end—of the playoffs, of the season, of the year. And it’s only at the end that you can look back, figure out how you got here, and start to contemplate where to go next.
With Overlap 04, our last edition of the year, the MLS season’s complete cycle comes into focus. In his story about LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez, “The Happiest Man in Los Angeles County,” David Davis maps the international breakthrough year for a player sure to be one of the U.S. national team’s stalwarts in Brazil come June.
Meanwhile, in “So Metro,” Michael Agovino profiles Mike Petke, the man who led the New York Red Bulls on their historic run to the Supporters’ Shield, the club’s first major trophy.
An ending is also a good time to look forward. In his essay “Step into the Time Machine,” San Francisco Chronicle writer Alan Black gazes forward to imagine what MLS will look like in 2033. It will surprise you, we guarantee, and make you laugh a few times, too.
And we check in with Phil Rawlins, owner of Orlando City SC, who will join Major League Soccer in 2015. What has he learned from MLS’s past? What does he see in the league’s future? Most important, will Orlando be ready?
At the end of it all, there was this year’s MLS Cup final. At the final whistle, Sporting Kansas City were crowned champions. But both Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake can look back on a season of high accomplishment, as Charles Boehm does in “A Championship Season.” One club celebrates. The other takes heart in the fact that the end of one year is just the beginning of the next.