In a week of big MLS stories, let’s begin by asking…
1) Did MLS really turn down $4 Billion?
Yes, but the media rights deal proposed by MP and Silva, owned by Miami FC owner Riccardo Silva, came with a catch, a big one. In order to get its hands on the $4 billion on offer, the league would be required to adopt a promotion/relegation system.
Another obstacle to any deal is the league’s current contract with Fox, ESPN, and Univision, which runs through 2023. Silva’s proposal would begin when the current arrangement concludes but MLS Executive VP Dan Courtemanche shot the proposal down in remarks to ESPN.
“As was stated to Mr. Silva both in person and in a subsequent letter, Major League Soccer is prohibited contractually from engaging in discussions about our media rights with other distributors,” Courtemanche said.
“We are not in a position, nor are we interested, in engaging with Mr. Silva on his proposal.”
2) Dwyer Dealt!
Fresh off of scoring two goals in three games as he debuted for the U.S. MNT Dom Dwyer has been traded, sold really, to Orlando SC for an MLS record fee.
KC will miss Dwyer, who set the club record for goals in a season with 22 in 2014 and is consistently near the top of the MLS goals chart. But Peter Vermes will have plenty of cash on hand to find a replacement with SKC bring back $500,000 in TAM, $400,000 in GAM, plus as much as $700,000 in future allocation fees if Dwyer reaches certain performance targets.
Orlando can team Dwyer with Cyle Larin to form a super strike partnership and Dwyer is also insurance should Larin land that oft rumored transfer to Europe.
3) USA vs Jamaica in MLS Heavy Gold Cup Final
Sunday’s 1-0 Gold Cup victory for Jamaica over Mexico could also be looked at as a win for Major League Soccer, with 10 of the Reggae Boyz game day roster, nine starters, earning their keep in the league.
Jamaica’s heroes were a pair of MLS men, goalkeeper Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union) and goalscorer Kemar Lawrence (N.Y. Red Bulls) and coach Theodore Whitmore gave the league a shout out in his postgame remarks.
“MLS has done a lot for our football back in Jamaica,” the coach said. “The experience, the exposure, these players get in MLS and what they bring back to the country, it’s a plus.”
“We have a couple of players, Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers), Kemar Lawrence, Andre Blake, they keep improving and that’s what we need. I can only hope that they can lift our local players to a level where we want them to be, because we are a very young, inexperienced team and they are the ones who have to chart the way for the younger players coming,” Whitmore said.
Jamaica plays the U.S. Wednesday in the Gold Cup Final at 9:30 PM ET at Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara, Calif. The game can be seen on FS1, Univisión, and UDN.
The U.S. has won the Gold Cup five times, second to Mexico, who have seven titles, with Canada claiming the remaining championship in 2000. Jamaica has never won the Gold Cup.
4) “A freaking headlock!”
Mike Petke was mad as hell and he simply couldn’t take it anymore following his Real Salt Lake side’s 1-1 home draw versus Sporting Kansas City. The focus of the passionate Petke’s ire? The ref and the MLS league officials who refused to overrule RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman’s recent suspension.
At the July 22nd post game presser, Petke brought some photographic evidence, a shot of Philadelphia Union defender Oguchi Onyewu being strangled by SKC midfielder Illie Sanchez, for which there was no suspension. Petke was incensed that Beckerman’s recent suspension had been upheld for what the coach said was extending his arm.
The second pic showed RSL attacker Joao Plata with an arm around his neck as he bore down on the SKC net. The “freaking headlock” in question. Petke wasn’t happy and he will likely be fined and possibly suspended but the combustible coach will at least have gotten his money’s worth.
5) Rampaging Red Bulls
For much of the 2017 season “what’s wrong with the Red Bulls” was a popular parlor game among MLS pundits. Sacha Kljestan was singled out often but the midfielder and team captain appear to be back in form as do the surging Bulls.
A pair of dominant wins just three days apart will cure a lot of woes and a two match 8-1 week will do nicely. First New York topped San Jose 5-1 on July 19th, three days before shutting out Minnesota 3-0, with both victories coming at home.
Along the way Kljestan passed Thierry Henry, no less, to take the club lead in career assist with 43. Congratulations. Daniel Royer had an even better few days, scoring three goals and adding a helper across the two games to earn MLS Player of the Week honors.
Royer was joined on the Team of the Week by Kljestan and coach Jesse Marsch. The team has climbed to fifth place in the Eastern Conference on the strength of a 5-1 run in league play with the lone loss coming at the hands of local rivals New York City FC.