I got chills. Really. I hope Nike keeps it up all the way through to Germany, and best of luck to the boys vs. Panama tonight (8pm ET, ESPN2). Perhaps we'll see some new TV creative as well on the broadcast?
“Less than 20 short years ago, even microscopic island nations drooled rivers at the opportunity to dribble around us…Other nations do not scout us anymore; they toss and turn and develop digestive problems over us…This is soccer. A game for the flag-waving, tax-paying, apple-pie eating, Star-Spangled Banner-singing, red-blooded American.”
MLS Commissioner Don Garber put a scare into the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment folks trying to land a franchise in Toronto by laying down an October 31st deadline to get their Exhibition Place stadium plans in order. Speaking on a conference call yesterday afternoon, Garber made it clear that expansion will pass TO by without a firm construction plan that will get a stadium in place for an April 2007 kickoff. Apparently, MLS saw an opportunity to open the new market when Canada was awarded the 2007 FIFA World Youth (U-20) Championship. The league then approached MLSE, the owners of the NBA’s Raptors and NHL’s Maple Leafs and asked them to join the league. Other nuggets gleaned from the conf call:
-If all goes well with Toronto, MLS will announce the league’s 14th club at the MLS Cup in Frisco on 11/13
-Finalist cities include Houston, Philly, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and St. Louis
-The league will get an expansion fee “slightly higher” than the $10 million Chivas and RSL paid last year from MLSE
-The Toronto club will serve as the de-facto “Team Canada,” with a mostly Canadian roster. In the 1980’s, the NASL had a similar deal with US Soccer with the DC-based club “Team America”
-There may be a groundsharing agreement with the USL’s Toronto Lynx to play in the new stadium
Garber’s timetable gives MLSE just 14 business days to get their deal done. Best of luck to them. The Kin Of Fish will be fasting for a while, but will be back on Friday.