For the European soccer fan, MLS might seem a bit strange. It has a whole new set of teams, weird player acquisition rules and this strange notion of "parity" that is lost on most of the world's soccer leagues. However, fear not, I am here to help. Now, thanks to this handy guide, you can take all your EPL knowledge and apply it to MLS and end up one of the most knowledgeable MLS fans out there. Actually not really, the comparisons are at a fairly superficial level and would break down with any serious discussion of tactics. Still, it's probably enough to get by in a casual conversation with an MLS fan.
Colorado Rapids: They are owned by Stan Kroenke, but any Arsenal comparison is far too easy. Also, the two teams could not be less similar. While Arsenal have been a model of consistency, the Rapids have fallen apart since a fluky win in a cup final. Wigan Athletic, this is your future.
LA Galaxy: They have the pedigree of a Man U and the gauche spending habits of a Man City, so their most likely analogs are in the city of Manchester. However, considering the general level of douchiness and likely man purses that exude from LA, they are much more Real Madrid. Heck, the nickname Galaxy is practically Galacticos.
San Jose Earthquakes: Brutally physical on the pitch with fans that are barely literate mouthbreathing scum? Yup, San Jose, you're Stoke. Hope you're proud of yourselves.
Chivas USA: Though they had some success in the past, they are horribly mismanaged and facing the closest thing MLS has to relegation. Hate to break it to you Chivas USA, but you're Leeds United.
FC Dallas: They are Swansea City. Don't see it? Well, they recently sold a key left winger to a contemptable team that doesn't play him very much. Also, much like Wales, Texas is pretty much a different country even though it technically isn't.
Real Salt Lake: Despite the obvious Spanish aspect of their name, a team from La Liga would be an awful fit for this club. While the Spanish league teeters on bankruptcy, Salt Lake are a model franchise. However, despite being consistently good, they tend to fly just slightly under the radar, much like Bayern Munich often attracts less attention than the Barcas and Real Madrids of the world.
Seattle Sounders: The Sounders have one of the more lucrative stadiums in MLS, a smart but hands off ownership group and are one of the most well run franchises around. They also consistently finish high without ever winning the league. Seems kind of like Arsenal, right? Well yes, until you realize how poorly they spend their money and just how many of their fans only started supporting the team a few years ago. Also, despite the priority they place on the Champions league, they never do well there. They are Manchester City.
Vancouver Whitecaps: They are a generally likeable squad, seem to be on the up after some recent chances and the most famous player to pass through their ranks is a fullback who was converted into a winger. This one is easy, they are Southampton.
Portland Timbers: Portland may be Seattle's little brother, but they're more like the little brother that is five inches taller and is a successful Wall Street banker while you're stuck working 9-5 at the mall because you have a bachelors in anthropology. They are Chelsea, the new kid on the block that stands toe to toe with the established giants.
Chicago Fire: The Fire have a fairly impressive trophy case, but their recent struggles often belie that fact. Much like Blackburn Rovers. The fit is uncanny, the first two league titles were won by a United, both Chicago and Blackburn were the first to break up the juggernaut by winning the title in the league's third season.
Houston Dynamo: If Texas is Wales and Dallas is Swansea, they should be Cardiff City and serendipitously, the analogy holds. Recent seasons for both teams have ended with playoff failure. For Cardiff City, they could win the Championship and get promoted in a way that had them avoiding the playoffs all together. Unfortunately, no similar mechanism exists for the Dynamo after two straight defeats in the MLS cup finals at the hands of the Galaxy.
Toronto FC: They have some attacking talent, but they eke out a lot of draws by bringing the other team down to their level. Ryan Neilsen may not be a fascist, but Toronto FC is definitely Sunderland.
Sporting Kansas City: They play an attractive possession style that leads to less goals than you would think and their centerbacks are highly overrated. They have an Argentine striker and a successful midfielder on their bench who is also kind of a dick. They are Barcelona.
Philadelphia: As much as I would like to make a Union-Arsenal connection, I just can't do it (hey, they both have a lot of french players, so that's something right?). I have to be honest, in Philadelphia we are a bunch of exceptionally rude mouth breathing fans and our team has been a lot less successful than we would care to admit. We also hold considerable resentment towards our nearest neighbors, despite how little they seem to care about us. I have to face it, we're Tottenham Hotspur in Philadelphia, as little as I care to admit it.
DC United: DC United used to be awesome but is kind of crap now. Too easy, Liverpool.
New York Red Bull: So they have a trophy drought and Thierry Henry, this one practically writes itself, doesn't it. However, Red Bull have never really been the contenders Arsenal are, and unlike the Red Bulls, it is likely Arsenal could win something in the near future. Instead Thierry Henry has joined MLS' Everton, a solid midtable side that occasionally flirts with being great, but never really is.
New England Revolution: They have a hands off American owner who annoys a large part of the fan base, have signed one of the youngest players in MLS history and often get a lot of mileage out of players that fly slightly below the radar. Heck, with the recent trade for Juan Agudelo, their most famous player is even expected to move during the next transfer window! We finally have our Arsenal. Let's just hope they continue to emulate the Gunners when they use whatever transfer fees they get from Agudelo to build themselves a new stadium.
Columbus Crew: So, Columbus has been very successful, but has kind of faded to the point where in recent years they are more of a polite also ran when mentioning contenders for silverware. Pretty much like an American Aston Villa.
Montreal Impact: Considering the composition of the team, it has to be someone in Serie A, and because they're pretty good this year, I'm going with Juventus. Yeah, that was pretty lazy, but I was out of ideas at this point.
Anyways, thanks to my handy guide, you can now impress all your friends and coworkers with your incredibly elaborate knowledge of MLS. Use it as you see fit.