September 16, 2008

Where will MLS go next?

MLS Fever (not to be confused with typhoid fever, which took my brother's life near Fort Kearney) has spread faster than the video that makes my taco pop. No fewer than nine cities are actively seeking the next expansion bid. Time to handicap the field.

Ottawa: 20/1 The new kids in the Race to Expansion™, Ottawa's biggest draw is its obvious rivalry with Toronto. The proposed 30,000 seat stadium sounds great, but does anyone in Ottawa want soccer besides Eugene Melnyk? I don't see the local hype...yet.

Vancouver: 6/1 Steve Nash isn't a definite yet, but Vancouver might not even need him. The Whitecaps have great support and the city has successfully hosted the U-20 World Cup with an eye on the 2011 Women's World Cup. Vancouver is obviously a great soccer town and would welcome MLS.

Montreal: 8/1 The city already has a soccer-specific stadium with plans to expand. Its USL-1 team, the Impact, not only defeated Toronto FC for a spot in CONCACAF Champions League qualifying but have advanced to the group stages.

Portland: 12/1 A natural rivalry with Seattle and a successful USL-1 team make Portland an easy pick. However, Portland does not appear likely to build a soccer-only stadium, but instead renovate its current baseball field. I guess that could work, but if I were the commish I wouldn't give them the next club until it was done. See you in 2012.

Las Vegas: 100/1 I couldn't find any recent articles or blog posts with specifics on Las Vegas' bid, so unless the Maloof Brothers start partying with CR7, Sin City will have to keep waiting for a major sports franchise.

St. Louis: 4/1 With a website full of testimonials, St. Louis is pretty effing serious about getting an MLS franchise. The STL-KC rivalry would have an extra facet, which I personally enjoy (Ed. note: I went to Mizzou. Go Tigers!). The criticism of the size of the market seems to be moot since MLS is more concerned with the enthusiasm for soccer ahead of overall market size.

New York: 15/1 But then there's a market like NYC. I've written previously about the idea of bringing a second club to the area, and I have no doubt the team would be successful. I fully expect to see MLS place another team here, but maybe as the 20th franchise.

Miami: 30/1 I would have placed them at 100/1 if Barcelona weren't interested in buying the USL-1 team there and and converting it into a sister club. Even with the power and prestige behind this option, MLS is more likely to remember the epic failure of the Fusion. Add the previous failure to the overall poor quality of the Miami sports market and the fact they don't currently plan on having their own stadium, and Barca will need more than cash and their name to succeed. They'll need...Carlos Valderrama.

The perfect chip when you need to get hammered

Valderrama is the all-time MLS assist leader and a member of the MLS All-Time Best XI. And I heard he has a unique look. Have you heard about that?

Atlanta: Eleventy billion/1

So get ready, Vancouver and St. Louis. You'll most likely be the welcome break from every other team's grueling schedule.

(h/t: Du Nord, flickr user worldwidewandering, The Original Winger)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So Wank-couver is gonna get the Womens World Cup in 2011...thats only 8 yrs after we had it here at our 'renovated baseball field'(

WOW, what a supporter website they got...I'm sure we don't have anything like that with crowds topping 13,000 (soccercityusa)... and why would you link a s**ttle paper?!

What's the Timbers army anyway?