Soccer fan Will Smith thinks the Red Bulls’ Luis Robles is the best goalkeeper in MLS, bar none. Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports)

(Will Smith, who lives in Brooklyn, is a soccer fan that follows all three New York-area men’s professional soccer teams.)

By Will Smith
Special to Front Row Soccer

Here are my random musings subsequent to the start of the 2017 Major League campaign and in advance of the North American Soccer League season:

1) ‎ Atlanta had a great crowd of 55K for their opener, but the mouth of the south is historically poor at supporting their teams. There will be an attendance problem within three years if the team is mediocre or worse.

2) Speaking of the fans in Atlanta, those last 16 minutes against the Red Bulls not only shut them up, but it got them to whistle and jeer the home team. Terrible fans.

3) Sacha should never play up top again. It is a waste of his distribution skills.

4) I am getting old. I remember Derek Etienne’s father when he played for the Long Island Rough Riders. Now young Derrick is setting up the game winner on opening night. I have a good feeling about his future. Gonzalo Veron better get healthy soon or he will be Wally Pipp-ed.

5) Luis Robles is the best ‘keeper in MLS. There’s not even room for discussion.

6) David Villa can whine all he likes about how NYC FC outplayed Orlando, but if City can’t breakdown the defense of a sub-par team like the Lions after falling a goal behind, then they’re just not very good.

7) One thing is certain: the Cosmos can whip teams from the Dominican Republic. How they fare against NASL and Lamar Hunt/Open Cup competition is a matter that remains to be seen, but the team does appear to be coming along nicely.

8) It was nice to see the “Cosmos in Brooklyn” ad on FS1 during the Red Bulls game.

‎9) A merger of United Soccer League and NASL, with divisions based on geography, would cut travel costs, is inevitable and in the best interests of U.S. Soccer. USSF president Sunil Gulati is smart enough to know that. I’m not so sure the league commissioners, particularly the Soccer Don, are as astute in this regard.

10) Roma lost to Napoli Saturday. Really, guys? Don’t you want to win a trophy ever again? Bring back Delvecchio and Montella and Batti-goal! Now THAT was a strike force!

11) ‎My daughter roots for Tottenham, the team of Handsome Harry Kane and the Dave Clark 5, when she’s not rooting for the Cosmos. Nice win on Saturday! It brought joy to at least 1/3 of our household.

Let’s see what excitement the new week brings.

As the song says “Till then.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at