Colorado Rapids and Republic of Ireland forward Kevin Doyle has defended Major League Soccer's level of play against critics from abroad, and says the negativity coming from Europe toward the North American league is misplaced.
Doyle, 33, and the Rapids advanced to the Western Conference finals after beating the popular LA Galaxy in the previous round of the MLS playoffs. However, despite the excitement of postseason play, the league hasn't been able to shake off a reputation for poor defending -- an opinion Doyle believes stems from a "double standard."
"That negativity is misplaced and to be honest, I think there are some double standards at play here," Doyle said in an exclusive interview with ESPN FC.
"I see English fans and their media saying the defending in the MLS is second rate, but I looked at Liverpool beating Crystal Palace 4-2 in the Premier League a few weeks ago and the defending in that game was pretty dreadful.
"This is hyped up as the best league in the world, but the defending in that game suggested otherwise. It is not the only game I have seen in England this season with pretty dreadful defending."
Doyle continued: "We certainly have no problem with defending at Colorado as we have a fine record in that department and people should open their eyes a little bit before they dismiss MLS as second rate.
"Okay, it is not the best league in the world, but it has moved forward a lot in recent years and should get more credit than it does from European soccer fans."
The Rapids will face the Seattle Sounders in the West finals. The first leg of their two-legged tie begins on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 10 p.m. ET.
Information from ESPN FC contributor Kevin Palmer was used in this report.