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One Of The Best Passers Of All Time Believes There Is Too Much Running In MLS

Andrea Pirlo criticized MLS and American soccer, saying that there is a cultural void that holds American players back. 

New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo had some critical comments for MLS and American soccer culture in the lead up to NYCFC vs NY Red Bulls.

Speaking to Reuters at an MLS promotional event last Friday, he commented on a “cultural void” that he believes exists in American soccer:

"It's a very hard league to play in. It's very physical, there's a lot of running. So there is a lot of physical work and to me, in my mind, too little play," Pirlo told Reuters. "What I'm talking about is actually a system or culture. I don't mean that the level of technical skills are low. I just mean there is a cultural void that needs to be filled."

The cultural void he is talking about can be observed today as a lack of room for technical ability in the game. MLS players run and jump and fight, to the exclusion of taking their time and expressing themselves on the ball.

Pirlo thinks that this mentality is coached into American players from a young age, and he went on to say that said that European coaches take time to instruct their players on the technical side of the game.

“[In Europe coaches take players] and they train them in much more than just running," he said. "They train them in stopping the ball. Here that doesn't happen.

In an unfortunate turn of events for Pirlo (and also possibly in a way proving his point) NY Redbulls beat his NYCFC 7-0 the day after he made these comments.

It was a game in which all of the traits that Pirlo had just criticized came back with a vengeance. NYCFC was out-worked and out-classed, and things got ugly very quickly.

While Pirlo is no doubt right in his criticism of American soccer and its lack of technical play, he might want to speak about it from a place where his 37-year-old legs won’t undermine him so much: the bench.

Follow me on Twitter: @yetly

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