On the 14th of November I wrote about the 2018 MLS season, and the rise of Atlanta United. The piece was in the context of competitive balance in Major League Soccer, and the fact that 12 franchises had won the US title, making it more competitive than any major European league over the past 23 years.
We can make that 13. Atlanta United were crowned MLS Champions on Saturday evening at around 10pm EST.
The remarkable thing about the "The Five Stripes" is that they are playing in just their second season of the Eastern Conference. In total the franchise has played under 80 games in its entire existence, yet is now the number 1 US football team.To put this into context, it is great to compare the closed system in the US, to the oldest set of interconnected leagues in the world in England.
It is difficult to know how many tiers there are in England (there could be up to 22) but it is safe to assume that there are at least 8 interconnected divisions. These range from regional leagues at the lower end, to the Premier League at the top, and are list below.
The current dominance of the big six clubs in England's means they have little to fear from the remaining Premier League clubs (Leicester City may obviously disagree), never mind clubs in the lower tiers of English football. The rise of Atalanta United is not something you can expect to be replicated in England anytime soon, if ever.
Just another example of how the structure of the same sport on either size of the Atlantic is different, and can result in very different outcomes.