This week’s MLS Big – 5 leads off with expansion news.
1) New York and Orlando Stock Up.
As the 2014 season winds down, Major League Soccer newboys, New York City FC and Orlando City SC, will face off Wednesday in the Expansion Priority Draft. Wednesday’s draft is just one of eight of what the league has labeled, player acquisition mechanisms, that the two organizations will use to stock up on players for their March 2015 debuts.
Here is the complete list
1. MLS Expansion Draft (Picks 1 or 2)
2. MLS SuperDraft (Picks 1 or 2)
3. USL PRO/NASL Player Priority Ranking (Picks 1 or 2)
4. Designated Player Ranking (Picks 1 or 2)
5. Allocation Ranking (Picks 1 or 2)
6. Discovery Ranking (Picks 20 or 21)
7. Waiver/Re-Entry Draft Ranking (Picks 20 or 21)
8. Lottery Ranking (Picks 20 or 21)
Die hard fans of the two expansion sides can keep track of the draft Wednesday at 2 pm ET at MLSsoccer.com. Although it all seems a bit confusing, this is the same method used to provide players when Montreal entered the league in 2012, and when Vancouver and Portland joined the previous year.
A draw will be conducted by supporters of the two teams to decide which club selects first, then head coaches Jason Kreis, New York City and Adrian Heath, Orlando City, will alternate picks among those eight player acquisition mechanisms.
The expansion clubs will pick first and second in five of the eight player selection methods. They will pick last, 20 and 21, in the other three; Discovery ranking, Waiver/Re-Entry Draft ranking and the Lottery ranking.
2) Emotional Lampard Stuns Chelsea
And speaking of NYC FC players, what about Frank Lampard? The Chelsea legend finally saw some playing time for NYC parent club Manchester City, and he made the most of it, scoring a late equaliser to earn City a draw against his old club.
Super Frank left Chelsea as the London club’s all time leading goal scorer with 211, so it couldn’t have been much of a shock to his old fans and teammates when Lampard found the target in the 85th minute on Sunday.
An emotional Lampard refused to celebrate, NYC fans will be hoping he has plenty of chances to make up for it beginning in March.
3) Seattle Suffer US Open Cup Hangover
Just four nights after topping Philadelphia 3-1 in extra time to claim their fourth US Open Cup title, the Sounders fell 4-1 to the New York Red Bulls in Harrison, New Jersey.
Bradley Wright-Phillips led the way with a hat trick to raise his league league leading total to 24, just three shy of the MLS record of 27.
Seattle left several regulars on the bench for this match, including stars Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, and DeAndre Yedlin.
Dempsey came on to score Seattle’s goal, and Martins and another top Sounder Gonzalo Pineda, also saw time, but New York took advantage of Seattle’s congested schedule to pick up some valuable points in the race to the playoffs.
4) Portland Move past Vancouver With 3-0 Win
League MVP candidate Diego Valeri opened the scoring with a brilliant goal, before sending Fanedo Adi in alone for the Timbers second.
Valeri’s goal came on a brilliant left footed volley, giving the 28 year old Argentine nine goals on the season, to go with his 14 assists.
With five games remaining, Portland lead the Whitecaps by two points in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
5) Sporting KC to Visit the White House
This season has had some ups and downs for 2013 MLS Champion Sporting Kansas City, but the defenders will have a chance to enjoy one of the spoils of being an American sports champ with an October visit to the White House.
It took a September 12 trip to the StubHub Center to play reeling Chivas USA, for SKC to snap a four game losing streak, but Sporting is still in second place in the East.
The team’s Presidential visit will precede an October 3 showdown with surprise Eastern Conference front runners DC United, who lead KC by three points in the standings.