Major League Soccer’s Season 20 is off to a bang up start, so let’s check in with this week’s Big – 5.
1) Minnesota In as MLS Expansion Plans Expand
24 by 2020 has been Commissioner Don Garber’s expansion plan for a while now, but with this week’s news that Minnesota United FC has been moved to the top of the queue, the commish will “evaluate potential potential expansion beyond 24.”
Minnesota United FC beat out a rival Minnesota bid, backed by the NFL Vikings. United is owned by Bill McGuire, partnered by Minnesota Twins and Timbers owners. United’s intention to build an outdoor stadium was a key to the bid, which is expected to be finalized in the next month or so.
Atlanta and a new Los Angeles franchise are set to join the league in 2017, with Minneapolis and Miami, pending a stadium deal, on deck.
2) Ronaldo to MLS?!
So says Sports Illustrated, who say that the reigning Ballon d’Or winner is targeting 2018. Ronaldo will be 33 then, and his Real Madrid contract will have expired.
No surprise in Ronaldo’s preferred MLS destinations, Miami, New York and Los Angeles. Who knows if this will happen, but Ronaldo has enjoyed good health throughout his career, and should still be a world class player in 2018.
3) What’s Up With Norway?
Is it Bob Bradley? Or maybe it’s because it’s so much fun saying Tippeligaen? Who knows, but suddenly the Stabaek coach is not the only Yank pursuing his soccer dream in the land of the midnight sun.
First, former New England Revolution defender A.J. Soares landed with Viking after a deal in Italy fell through. Soares was soon followed by Colorado’s young Jamaican international striker Deshorn Brown, and now Philadelphia winger Danny Cruz is on his way to Tippeligaen side Bodo/Glimt on a season long loan.
4) Seattle Sign for 10 More Years at CenturyLink
And why wouldn’t they? Every year Seattle lead the league in attendance by a wide margin. In 2014 the Sounders drew an average of 43,734 per match to the stadium they share with the Seahawks. Toronto were a long way back in second place, with an average crowd of 22,086.
The team also announced that a new (artificial) turf field will be installed prior to next season, now let’s see if the Sounders can deliver an MLS Cup to all of those loyal fans.
5) NYC FC Sells Out – Its Scarves
NYC FC, another team sharing a stadium, set single game MLS merchandise records at last Sunday’s home opener.
David Villa took care of business on the field, his goal and assist led the new club to a 2-0 win over New England. Off the field vendors was kept busy selling out the teams entire supply of 4,000 scarves, as well as woolen caps, jerseys etc.
Last Sunday’s cold weather might have something to do with the sales figures, but that is still a lot of scarves.