Viva la public-private partnership! Reports out of Philadelphia today are that the Pennsylvania state legislature will kick in the coin needed to fund the Chester, PA stadium project, paving the way for an imminent announcement that the City of Brotherly Love will host MLS' 16th active club.
For fans of the league, and especially the Philly supporters' group Sons of Ben (SOBs), this clearly is the best of times. Say what you want about Philadelphia fandom, (they're classless, they booed the Pope), they are extremely loyal and get behind their local clubs. Fans of New York and DC will clearly enjoy the new geographic rival and the stadium design looks fantastic.
Will MLS use the entry of club #16 (in 2009, or more likely 2010) to realign into a single table?
Perhaps the league will consist of four, four-team divisions:
Atlantic: DC, New England, New York, Philly
Midwest: Chicago, Columbus, Kansas City, Toronto
Central: Colorado, Dallas, Houston, Salt Lake
Pacific: Chivas USA, Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle
However you slice it, today's announcement is another step in the long, slow growth of the league, and soccer in America. Congrats, Philthadelphia!