Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hooligan's Daily: Columbus Crew threaten a move to Austin if they don't get a new stadium

Yesterday's Scores
Premier League
Leicester City 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
(Mahrez 80')-(Chadli 63')

La Liga
Las Palmas 2-5 Celta Vigo
(Vitolo 90', Remy 90+3')-(Mor 16', ASpas 20', 49', 76', Hernandez 71')

Serie A
Hellas Verona 1-0 Benevento
(Romulo 74')

European League Tables

Headlines

Columbus Crew SC are threatening a move to Austin, Texas if they can't get a shiny new downtown soccer stadium. MAPFRE Stadium was built in 1999 and was the first soccer specific stadium to be constructed in the United States. It was a major landmark for American soccer and MLS, but it's rather bland as far as stadiums go, especially compared to the bells and whistles of modern day facilities. It's the only MLS stadium I have ever been to, and I agree they could use an upgrade. But threatening to relocate the franchise is a dirty tactic used far too often in professional sports.

And to threaten to move to a city like Austin, which is smaller than Columbus and has little history of soccer in the area is sort of confusing. With all the markets out there competing for an MLS franchise, wouldn't it make a little more sense for them to wait until this expansion run shakes out and then choose one of the cities that missed out? That seems like it would make more sense than a random market in Texas that has never been brought up as a home for an MLS team.

Also concerning the constantly shifting landscape of American soccer, The NASL has received a batch of letters of intent for the 2018 season. Assuming the league isn't destroyed by the recent denial of D2 sanctioning, a bunch of NPSL sides could very well be joining the league, Boca Raton FC, Boston City FC, Detroit City FC, FC Arizona, a team in Hartford (probably Hartford City FC), New Orleans Jesters and Virginia Beach City FC could join the league as soon as next season. Add in the rumors that a team in Atlanta has been expected to join next year and teams in Orange County and San Diego are already signed on, the NASL could have eight or nine new members next year.

None of these markets are confirmed entries, so we don't need to get all excited and say the NASL has saved itself, yet. But it certainly is a good sign that the league has done something to attract new investors.

We also have to look at the likely departures from the league. FC Edmonton did not submit a letter of intent and is likely joining the Canadian Premier League, which plans to start play next summer. North Carolina FC has been linked to the USL. Puerto Rico FC is in danger due to damages from the hurricanes that tore through the island. New York Cosmos are likely out if the league can't recover D2 status for next year. Finally, San Francisco Deltas are going to fold without a last minute investor.

So, the NASL could have anywhere from four teams in 2018 to as many as 17. Either way, the league is at the mercy of the October 31 deadline for federal courts to issue an injunction on U.S. Soccer's division sanctioning ruling.

We also got a new batch of FIFA rankings! Somehow, the USMNT actually jumped up a spot to 27th, despite failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. That puts them third in CONCACAF, behind Mexico in 16th and Costa Rica in 22nd. This ranking also confirms the seeded pot for December's World Cup draw. Russia will be joined by the top seven of Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland (!), and France.

Here is the full top ten:

  1. Germany
  2. Brazil
  3. Portugal
  4. Argentina
  5. Belgium
  6. Poland
  7. France
  8. Spain
  9. Chile
  10. Peru
The USMNT will play Portugal in a friendly match in Faro at Estadio Algarve on November 14 as they look to move past their failure to qualify for the World Cup. Tab Ramos, the U-20 manager, is expected to take over the team for this, and the other unannounced friendly in Europe for that international break. More important than the manager will be the player selection. I'll throw a fit if I see Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Wondo, or any of the guys not named Christian Pulisic and Bobby Wood who featured prominently during the World Cup failure. It's time to move on from the old guard and let the kids take over.

Today's Matches
UEFA Champions League
NK Maribor v. Liverpool- 2:45pm
Spartak Moscow v. Sevilla- 2:45pm
Feyenoord Rotterdam v. Shakhtar Donetsk- 2:45pm- ESPN3
Manchester City v. Napoli- 2:45pm- ESPN Deportes
AS Monaco v. Besiktas- 2:45pm- ESPN3
RB Leipzig v. FC Porto- 2:45pm
Apoel Nicosia v. Borussia Dortmund- 2:45pm- ESPN3
Real Madrid v. Tottenham- 2:45pm- FS2

Liga MX
Lobos BUAP v. Club Tijuana- 8pm- Univision Deportes
Queretaro v. Cruz Azul- 9pm- ESPN Deportes
Tigres UANL v. Veracruz- 9:45pm- ESPN3
Pumas UNAM v. Leon- 10pm- Univision Deportes
Atlas v. Morelia- 10:30pm

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