With Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, and the U.S. WNT dominating the sporting headlines it may be a little bit difficult to remember that Major League Soccer is kicking around during these hot August days and nights, but MLS stops for no one, so here is our Big – 5.
1) $200 million!
After Bloomberg reported that MLS expansion fees could soar as high as $200 million MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott released this statement on Monday.
“There has been incredible interest from cities across the country in acquiring a Major League Soccer expansion club and we continue to have productive discussions with a number of prospective ownership groups.” Don Garber’s right hand man continued, “following the Board of Governors meeting, the league is continuing to work on the timetable and the details, including pricing, for future expansion and no decisions have been made. Based on the increasing value of MLS clubs, expansion fees could be as high as $200 million.”
2) Nashville Want In
No word so far that the mammoth price tag is scaring off cities and ownership groups, in fact, a Nashville group has thrown its hat into the ring. A group of prominent Music City advocates is planning to compete with the likes of St. Louis, Sacramento, Detroit, San Antonio, and Cincinnati among others as MLS heads toward 28 teams in the not too distant future.
Atlanta United is set to be team 21 next season with Minnesota also possible 2017 debutantes. LAFC are expected to come on board in 2018 and David Beckham’s Miami project would be next, if a stadium deal gets done.
3) Record Setting Rimando
With Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Chicago Fire, Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando claimed the record for most wins by a keeper in league history with 181.
The mark will look nice in the record book alongside Rimando’s citations for the most shutouts, 126, the most starts, 414, and the most minutes, 37, 413.
Listed variously at 5’9” or 5’10”, his height is the only mark against the 37-year-old and it may be one reason that Rimando never secured a European move and has had to settle for the third goalie role on the U.S. MNT.
As the ultimate MLS player, it is appropriate that Rimando takes up plenty of space in the league’s ledger.
Consider his history since being drafted out of UCLA in 2000. Rimando was selected by the Miami Fusion, a team that no longer exists. At Miami, Rimando beat out Jeff Cassar to earn the starting job. Cassar is now Rimando’s coach at RSL. Rimando was even traded with Freddy Adu. How MLS is that?
Undoubtedly one of the best to ever don the gloves in MLS Rimando was the winning keeper in the 2004 MLS Cup with DC United and again in 2009 with RSL, winning the MLS Cup MVP in ‘09.
He’s done it all and won it all in MLS except oddly the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award. At 37 time may be running down for Rimando but don’t bet against the RSL man adding one more trophy to his overcrowded mantlepiece before he is through.
4) U.S. Open Cup Ready for Its Closeup
In a seemingly endless battle to get noticed this was a big week for the U.S. Open Cup, the oldest soccer competition in the nation, as both of its semifinal matches were televised live on ESPN2.
Tuesday night’s matchup featured the Chicago Fire and the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium with the Revolution winning 3-1 on their home turf.
If the playoffs began today New England would just about qualify in sixth place in the East while Chicago is entrenched as the worst team in the league and having scored a league-low 20 goals in 21 games, the Fire are not a whole lot of fun to watch.
Chicago fell behind on Kei Kamara penalty kick after just 16 minutes on Tuesday but bounced back on David Accam’s 40th-minute tally. The deadlock was, however, brief, with JeVaughn Watson heading home two minutes later to put the Revs back on top.
Teal Bunbury made it 3-1 New England and then Accam ended the visitor’s night on a sour note when he was shown a straight red card for unsporting behavior in the 89th minute.
After 90 goalless minutes on Wednesday night outside of Tinseltown, FC Dallas provided the drama in a game that saw three goals in extra time, with Dallas’ winner coming in stoppage time of the extra time!
Dallas looked set to exit at the hands of the home team when Mike Magee converted a penalty kick in the 101st minute of play. The Galaxy earned the pk when substitute Giovani dos Santos was chopped down by FCD keeper Chris Seitz, eliciting howls of protest from New York Red Bulls fans who were still enraged that their club was twice denied penalty appeals in the closing minutes of Sunday’s match in Carson, California versus L.A.
But Dallas refused to panic drawing level on a powerful header by Matt Hedges from a Mauro Diaz corner kick in the 116th minute and then, remarkably winning the match in the 121st minute when Victor Ulloa got his head to another perfectly placed corner kick from Diaz moments before the referee’s final whistle.
The final will be in Frisco, Texas, at a still to be determined date. The drama of the semi-finals bodes well for this 2007 U.S. Open Cup Final rematch, won by a 3-2 score by New England.
5) Some Transfer News
A couple of loan and transfer notes to close out our top five, two of which have yet to be confirmed.
This time last year Matt Miazga was making a name for himself with the New York Red Bulls, eventually earning a January transfer to English powerhouse Chelsea.
It was no big surprise that Miazga saw very limited playing time in London, now the New Jersey product looks set to move away from Stamford Bridge on loan to gain experience.
German source Bild says Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt is the destination, ESPN said hang on, there are other suitors. Either way, it will be a big move for the center back, who will hopefully get the opportunity to show he can make the step up from MLS to a top European league.
In 2011 L.A. signed 16-year-old Jack McBean to a Homegrown contract. Since then the striker has amassed 19 appearances, seven starts and just one goal for the Galaxy spending the majority of his time with the LA Galaxy 2 or Los Dos of the USL.
McBean has made short work of the U.S. Third division in 2016, scoring 15 goals in 17 games and with that in mind, the Galaxy is looking for bigger challenges for the 21-year-old.
To that end, McBean is reportedly set to move to Coventry on a six-month loan. Coventry City plays in League One, England’s third division but the Galaxy evidently think the change might do McBean some good.
And finally, former Columbus Crew and Chivas USA forward Ryan Finley, who we profiled here in June (http://blogs.gotsoccer.com/?p=17514) has moved from Angelholm FF in Sweden to Denmark where he has signed for 1st division side Naestved BK.
Finley told GotSoccer back in June that he was hopeful of working his way back to MLS, we’ll see if this move is a step in that direction.