This about sums it up:
In addition to their stadiums, the second division continues to expand. The Cosmos will begin play in second half of 2013 while NASL Virginia, Ottawa and Indianapolis are expected to arrive in 2014. No salary cap, new stadiums and ambition that comes with adding teams suggests that the NASL sees itself as a potential rival to MLS rather than a blatant understudy. That competition only means good things as competition between teams to fill stadiums, market and produce talent mean more soccer for the masses.
Not that I'm following this USL PRO / MLS Reserve thing closely, but my impression is that what MLS people mean when then say "American soccer pyramid" is very different from what I thought the soccer pyramid should be. I get the argument that we shouldn't just copy what every other country is doing, but just considering this from a fan's point of view, I'd be more interested the MLS if there was something like promotion and relegation. I get it that promotion and relegation won't happen here because the people in power positions don't want it, or can't make it financially viable. However, simply rewarding teams like Toronto FC with top draft picks and whatever else doesn't make the games they play more interesting for the fan. When a team does poorly in the MLS, who cares? Contrast that with all the media buzz about QPR and Aston Villa in the EPL right now. Apathy about the bottom half of the MLS table can't be a good thing for the league or those cities that have struggling teams.
Also, the playoffs in the MLS may be popular with the casual American soccer fan who wakes up and pays attention at the end of the season, but I found myself losing interest in the playoffs when teams like San Jose and Sporting KC got knocked out. The MLS Cup seemed like a showcase for forth and fifth best team.
I like the NASL's plan this year to make the "regular season" play mean something. And I like the idea that the NASL could come up with a model that engages fan interests better than the MLS is doing presently.