The world game is rife with leagues dominated by a handful of clubs. The Prem takes turns passing the baton between the Big 4. La Liga often boils down to a two-horse race. The Bundesliga title race is only interesting when Bayern are faltering. Juve and the Milans face only limited competition from the Rome sides. And that's not even factoring in all of the second and third tier leagues that regularly send the same sides to be eliminated in continental qualification matches.
But MLS? Oh, MLS has no pre-ordained aristocracy. Oh, DC United may have pretensions based upon their trophy haul in the early days, but hell, they may not even exist in a few years if they can't find a permanent home.
No, MLS instead operates under the jackbooted heel of the Parity Police, the nebulous karmic energy fashioned from joint ownership, salary caps, the SuperDraft, and continued expansion (replete with corresponding expansion drafts), all of which conspire to keep any one team from having any sort of lasting dominance. What we're left with is summed up by the state of the league heading into the final week of the 2009 regular season.
Twelve of the fifteen teams still alive for playoff spots. Six of those twelve sit within three points of each other in and around the fringes of the playoffs. The Western Conference leader board boasts three teams tied for the league and a fourth just one point back. The second-placed team in the league only boasts a +3 goal difference. Three teams with realistic playoff aspirations have negative goal differences. Even the strongest team in the league (Columbus) won't win more than half of its games this year. In fact, they'll draw at least a third of their matches. Heck, of the sides currently in playoff positions, only Chivas USA hasn't drawn right around a third of their games.
Those, my friends, are the skull-bashings, finger-fracturings, and determined truncheon-work of MLS's lovely Parity Police in action...