Did anyone else watch the Bayern Real Madrid game yesterday and see Lothar saying goodbye to the fans? Had he scored that place would have gone absolutely beserk, and he did come close! I predict he'll not stay long in the MLS.
Lothar Matthäus originally should join the NY/NJ Metrostars in the Bundesliga winter break, this means after FC Bayern's last game in December 99. But with the suspension of potential Matthäus-successor Jens Jeremies in the Champions League and with potential Matthäus-successor Thomas Strunz out indefinitely Bayern asked the Metrostars if Matthäus could stay with Bayern until the second CL-game vs. Real Madrid. The Metrostars allowed that, because the season in the American MLS hast begun this weekend. That's the reason, why Matthäus leaves on such a strange date.
And: because Matthäus' contract expired during the winter break, it was a free transfer, so FC Bayern did not receive any transfer fee (What a pity!).
When signing for the MetroStars, Lothar had several reasons:
At first, he always said, he wants to experience the American culture. Another reason was - you mentioned it - to promote the MLS, to direct the interest of the Americans towards football. I think the main reason was: He still wanted to play football for some years, he still wanted to get some money for playing football. So the USA were the best solution: He can play football, earn money, but there it is easier for him, because the level of football there is by far inferior than in Europe.
But in last months, Lothar almost completely lost his motivation for the move to New York. The MetroStars management axed coach Bora Milutinovic and also the manager (I forgot his name). This were the two people, Matthäus talked with, when signing his contract.