USL side Saint Louis FC very well could be the next MLS expansion team. They have received conditional approval to join the league yesterday with the main condition being the approval of a stadium deal in the city. The club has joined forces with MLS2STL to corm a new group called SC STL. Current team CEO Jim Kavanaugh has joined with several other prominent business people to spearhead the bid. The group would acquire the current USL team, their stadium, and the Louis Scott Gallagher youth club, which would presumably turn into the Saint Louis FC youth academy. The stadium plan will go to a public vote this coming April. If that gets approved, expect a formal announcement shortly thereafter.
Andre Blake has been named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Blake took over the starting job from Rais M'Bolhi at the end of last season and has done a fine job holing onto the position. He is the second Jamaican to win the award after Donovan Ricketts, who won it with both LA Galaxy in 2010 and Portland Timbers in 2013. I wrote over at Last Word on Soccer about it, and I don't think he actually deserves the honor. He ranked out as merely average in terms of MLS goalkeepers. He may have made some flashy saves, but he really wasn't all that great.
Another old European is departing his MLS side. Robbie Keane is leaving LA Galaxy after six seasons with the club. Keane has scored 92 times in regular season games with the club and won three MLS Cups. He was league MVP in 2014. He hopes to continue playing, rather than retiring, but there is no word on where he might end up.
The other old man to leave LA Galaxy has another possible job lined up. Steven Gerrard is in contact with third tier side MK Dons. The League One club has a managerial vacancy ans has contacted the former Liverpool star about the opportunity. Gerrard hasn't decided on his future yet, but Glasgow Celtic and Newcastle United are interested in his services as a player. He is in the process of obtaining a UEFA A coaching license, their second highest qualification.
England and Scotland players wore poppy armbands during their World Cup Qualifying match on Friday as a tribute to British servicemen. This technically qualifies as a political statement, which goes agaisnt FIFA's rules for international matches. FIFA has opened a disciplinary investigation against both federations, which could lead to both being fined. England and Scotland knew the possibility and were willing to take the risk, feeling that honoring the military outweighed the potential punishment.
Bayer Leverkusen v. RB Leipzig- 2:30pm- FS2
Real Betis v. Las Palmas- 2:45pm
Lorient v. AS Monaco- 1pm
Lille v. Olympique Lyonnais- 2:45pm
Veracruz v. Tijuana- 10pm
50,000 Words of Soccer Update
This and the Andre Blake piece linked above take the word count to 29,111.