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MLS keeps selling their fan experience while becoming more anti-fan by the day

Give your money to lower-division and women's teams.

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If you're in the habit of heading into MLS games after work or school -- or just sneaking in some drinks so you don't get gouged at the concession stand -- you are now very much out of luck. The league has "updated" its security measures in order to make sure games are played in a "safe environment," which are code words for "make sure they don't get sued if someone acts like a huge dickhead and injures people." In any event, you can't bring any bag except for a small purse into games anymore. Even small purses will be searched. You're going to be asked to submit to a pat-down, though they can't make you do that.

Larger bags were already being searched and metal detecting wands were already in use, so this isn't making anyone safer. And while it's understandable that MLS wants its security to mirror that of the events with the most stringent security measures in order to reduce liability, this is also part of a pattern of treating fans in a way that approaches contempt.

On Tuesday, we featured a piece by a former Vancouver Whitecaps supporter about why he started supporting a lower-division team after the team mistreated supporters groups and created a corporate, sterile atmosphere. The league has repeatedly threatened teams and fan groups for yelling the totally innocuous "you suck, asshole." D.C. United is still facing an ongoing fan protest after banning a fan who set off a smoke bomb in a parking lot. Their communications director is basically saying it was against the rules, everyone knew it was against the rules, get over it. MLS advertising will probably continue to show D.C. United supporters groups using smoke bombs.

All of this is to say that MLS is not what American fans hoped it could become back when Toronto FC's groups, Sons of Ben, Emerald City Supporters, Timbers Army and the Southsiders were all collectively bringing more attention to supporters groups and the fan experience at soccer games in general. It will not be a cool alternative to the legacy American sports leagues. It will be Diet NFL, plus tifos the league can use in marketing campaigns. If you want to support your club, you must be aware of the giant list of rules intended to keep you in line and spending money without becoming a problem.

MLS doesn't like problems. So get your friends together and start a supporters group for a lower-division or women's team.

Goal of the day

Vurnon Anita's equalizer to get Newcastle a vital point. (r/soccer)

In the news

France wants to extend their state of emergency through Euro 2016 and the Tour de France. It allows police to conduct searches and place people under house arrest. (BBC)

Not only did Neymar fight with Valencia players this weekend, but with Jordi Alba too. (AS)

Manuel Neuer will be sticking around at Bayern Munich for another five years. (FC Bayern)

Celtic manager Ronny Deila will be leaving at the end of the season. (Celtic FC)

Swansea's former owners made a 100x profit on selling the club. (Guardian)

Arsenal fans are fed up and a few thousand members are just not buying tickets for their game against West Brom. (Telegraph)

You should be reading

Jessica Miranda on why Copa Libertadores is uniquely enthralling. (Unusual Efforts)

Kieron O'Connor on Newcastle's finances. (Swiss Ramble)

Constantin Eckner on the secrets behind Leicester city's success on the pitch. (Spielverlagerung)

What happened on Tuesday

Manchester City were mostly checked out in a draw against Newcastle. (Bitter and Blue)

What to watch on Wednesday (click for listings, all times ET)

Serie A: Eight games (from 12:30 p.m.) -- Genoa vs. Inter is our pick to watch.

La Liga: Six games (from 2 p.m.) -- Real Madrid vs. Villarreal might be the best game of the day in any country.

DFB-Pokal: Hertha Berlin vs. Borussia Dortmund (2:30 p.m.) -- Also a contender for game of the day.

EPL: Three games (from 2:45 p.m.) -- Featuring the most accessible game for American viewers on Wednesday, Liverpool vs. Everton.

CCL: Tigres vs. América (9:45 p.m.) -- The first leg of what should be an excellent final.


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