Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hooligan's Daily: NISA announces eight debut markets

Yesterday's Scores
USL
Toronto FC II 1-1 Saint Louis FC
(Hundal 90+3')-(Volesky 39')

Rio Grande Valley 1-1 Portland Timbers 2
(Greene 90+3')-(Tuiloma 90+2')

Seattle Sounders 2 0-1 Tulsa Roughnecks
(Ugarte 72')

North American League Tables

Headlines
Before we get to the screaming about lvoer league soccer in the USA, there are a couple transfer stories to catch up on from across the pond. First off, Liverpool have agreed to buy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal for the same £40 million Chelsea were offering. Ox turned down the deal from the Blues while indicating it was Liverpool, who intend to play him at central midfield, I guess, or he was staying at the Emirates. Well, Liverpool came calling and it appears he is heading away from North London again.

Everton have turned down a £25 million bid from Chelsea for Ross Barkley. The club are asking a minimum of £50 million for their prized midfielder. This doesn't mean that he won't leave the club though. He's already turned down a new contract. He may still go before the end of today, but his bum hamstring could complicate matters.

Now, for the NISA news. The new third tier league announced eight markets that will make up their debut season, which is still planned for next year (more on that in a moment). Four of them make sesne. Milwaukee, Chatanooga, Omaha, and Connecticut all lack pro soccer teams and are the exact markets the NISA should be targeting.

It's the other four I want to complain about. Let's start with the stupidest of them all, Miami. I have no idea why the NISA feels the need to throw another club into a market with the most successful and ambitious club in the NASL. Throw in the fact that David Beckham is very close to bringing MLS back to South Beach and you have a recipe for failure.

Then there is St. Louis. The Gateway City already has a successful USL franchise with dedicated fans. I witnessed the Saint Louis FC experience last week during my trip to the city. They do well for a USL team, but the city has already rejected an attempt for MLS to come to town. Now there's apparently a group looking to bring an even klower league into an town that is already taken when it comes to soccer.

Next up is Charlotte. Charlotte Independence are the local USL outfit and they don't do all that well. MLS is looking at the market, but there is little support from the powers that be. This also seems like a foolish idea.

Finally, there's Phoenix, which rivals Miami in stupidity. Phoenix Rising have a good thing going now that they have ambitious owners, and Didier Drogba. They are in the upper tier of USL popularity and have a fairly strong push for MLS to arrive. There's no more room for minor league soccer here, so why is the NISA trying?

I was optimistic about the NISA when it was first announced. They sounded like they were trying a regional approach to building a league utilizing markets that lacked pro soccer. I fiigured they would try to woo Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, and other strong NPSL markets that were on the cusp of going pro. They've done that with Chatanooga, Omaha, Connecticut, and Milwakee. These are the exact markets the new league should be attracting. Then they went and messed it up by throwing in four markets that already have higher level pro soccer. I have no idea how they expect that to work.

Peter Wilt and company claim they had 15 total letters of intent to join the NISA. Seven apparently deferred their application until at least 2019. I can only hope that these markets are the more sensible ones, but I really can't be sure. Perhaps this 2018 start date is a little too ambitious for the NISA, If some of their better market choices won't be ready for another year, why rush this thing? If year one is a failure because you picked the wrong markets to enter the league, than those other seven cities might have second thoughts about joining up.

The only thing I can point to is a desire to beat the USL to D3. This unnecessary sense of competition could very well doom the league. It would be better to take the time and get the formation of the league right than to beat you competition to a very, very weak punch.

Today's Matches
World Cup Qualifying- UEFA
Bulgaria v. Sweden- 2:45pm- FS2
France v. Netherlands- 2:45pm- ESPN Deportes
Luxembourg v. Belarus- 2:45pm
Hungary v. Latvia- 2:45pm
Portugal v. Faroe Islands- 2:45pm- FS1
Switzerland v. Andorra- 2:45pm- ESPN3
Belgium v. Gibraltar- 2:45pm
Cyprus v. Bosnia and Herzegovina- 2:45pm- ESPN3
Greece v. Estonia- 2:45pm- ESPN3

World Cup Qualifying- CONMEBOL
Venezuela v. Colombia- 5pm
Chile v. Paraguay- 6:30pm- beIN
Uruguay v. Argentina- 7pm
Brazil v. Ecuador- 8:45pm- beIN
Peru v. Bolivia- 10:15pm- beIN

World Cup Qualifying-A FC
Japan v. Australia- 6:35am- ESPN3
China v. Uzbekistan- 8am
South Korea v. Iran- 8am- ESPN3
Syra v. Qatar- 8am
Thailand v. Iraq- 8am

World Cup Qualifying- CAF
Uganda v. Egypt- 9am
Guinea v. Libya- 1pm

USL
Orlando City B v. Bethlehem Steel- 7:30pm- YouTube

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