Major League Soccer has long struggled to make a place for itself in the American consciousness. This week, it will take another step in that direction -- and it will have nothing to do with the product on the field.
MLS will be featured in notably different ways on two popular television shows this week. The first was on Monday when Andrew Weber -- who's currently fighting for a backup goalkeeper job with the Seattle Sounders -- made his debut on The Amazing Race where he's partnered with his twin brother. The next one is on Friday when the new episode of the sketch comedy show Portlandia will feature the Timbers Army.
While it may not seem like that big of a deal, it is a chance for MLS to reach an entirely new audience -- the kind of people who don't necessarily follow soccer. In the case of the Weber, it will be more of a subtext and it seems unlikely that there will be any direct mention of the league or team.
But in Portlandia, the sketch seems to be very much about the experience of spending a game with the Timbers Army. That one seems to have some real potential to get people interested, even if it's only from a curiosity standpoint.