I don’t expect a hard news element from Don Garber’s time with the media today, but you never know. Consider this a “heads up.”
Major League Soccer’s commissioner will address soccer friendly members of the chattering class today at 1:45 p.m. at BBVA Compass Stadium.
I expect that he’ll talk about stadiums as his league’s critical growth component. I’ve already worked up some notes for him in the previous post.
I would imagine the Commish will be asked about the other key element of league evolution: expansion beyond the current 19 clubs. But, again, hard news probably isn’t going to fall. If so, it would swindle some of the spotlight from the dazzling star of this show, the 22,000-seat beauty, the current talk of Houston sports.
Here’s the current list of facilities built or re-developed for MLS clubs, with capacity and the year opened. While you study it, I’ll be on my way to Houston, where most of the important MLS movers and shakers will gather for two days of pomp and stuff ahead of tomorrow’s match (Dynamo vs. D.C. United, 4:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network.)
Crew Stadium Columbus 20,145 1999
Home Depot Center LA Galaxy 27,000 2003
FC Dallas Stadium Dallas 20,500 2005
Toyota Park Chicago 20,000 2006
DSG Park Colorado 18,000 2007
BMO Field Toronto 20,000 2007
Rio Tinto Stadium Real Salt Lake 20,200 2008
PPL Park Philadelphia 18,500 2010
Red Bull Arena New York 25,000 2010
Jeld-Wen Field* Portland 20,400 2011
Livestrong Sporting Kansas City 18,400 2011
BC Place* Vancouver 21,000 2012
BBVA Compass Houston 22,000 2012
Stade Saputo** Montreal 20,300 2012
*Renovated rather than built
** Opening in June
Premier League Preview: Swansea City vs. Liverpool
The hosts badly need to pick up points, though few expect them to do so on Monday. Skeptics, however, will note that Liverpool under Klopp has been giants against the top teams and often lackluster against the other sides.
What they’re saying
Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal on springing an upset: “I would prefer to be Goliath, I would rather be in his position. But during my career most of the time has been spent in the position of David, and we have been able to do some surprises as David. We have done it often, we are working to make more of them. I was kind of the Goliath when I was with Besiktas and Sporting Lisbon, but during those moments Goliath was a little ill.”
Liverpool’s Klopp on goalkeeper Loris Karius: “My favourite solution, always, is that we do it with our boys. They step up, they deliver, they improve. The problem they have is that everyone is watching them (through a magnifying glass) and saying ‘still not good enough!’ I will only mention one name. Everyone talks about him with us and that is Butland. I only saw the game (against Manchester United). Fantastic goalkeeper but was he perfect? No. He wasn’t in that game. But everyone says ‘still better than our boys!'”
It’s hard to see this going in Swans favor at all, though we’ll peg them to keep it close on the score board: 2-0 to Liverpool.
Newcastle United reportedly leads the pack for the former Chelsea scorer, who is struggling to get time at BVB thanks to a glut of fantastic wingers including Christian Pulisic.
Magpies boss Rafa Benitez has a good relationship with the Westfalenstadion set, having taken Mikel Merino off their hands in August. Newcastle currently uses Christian Atsu on the left wing and Matt Ritchie on the right, but Schurrle can play center forward and Benitez may prefer to use the 27-year-old in the middle of his trident.
But they’ll face competition, and HITC says BVB is willing to pay half of his wages on an 18-month deal to keep him reasonable for some clubs. This could be a boon for Spurs.
Newcastle and Stoke City have also been linked with Galatasaray midfielder Papa “Badou” Ndiaye, with the Magpies said to have bid just a bit higher than the Potters but still under Gala’s buyout clause.
And here’s a wild one, according to ESPN: Chelsea’s rumored pursuit of current Premier League scorers now includes Marko Arnautovic. The audacious Austrian attacker cost West Ham around $35 million when his head was turned from Stoke City in the summer.
He didn’t perform well but Slaven Bilic, but David Moyes has been able to get some fine performances from the powerful Arnautovic. Chelsea has previously been linked with West Ham teammate Andy Carroll, Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, and Stoke’s Peter Crouch as it attempts to find a center forward to ease the burden placed on Alvaro Morata in his first Premier League season.
Voted “the best right back” in Europe between 1962-64, the former England and Blackpool captain also had a successful management and broadcasting career.
Armfield was a member of the 1962 and 1966 World Cup squads, though a toe injury kept him from his place in the starting lineup when England won the tournament.
He spent his entire playing career with Blackpool before managing Bolton Wanderers to promotion and Leeds United to the European Cup Final, righting the ship after Brian Clough’s infamous spell in charge of the club.
There’s a statue outside Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road, and the club legend has a stand named after him inside the venue.
While Zach’s night was certainly a memorable one for many reasons, it was Julie that arguably had the better performance — which included a goal in the 19th minute off of a close-range volley.
The USWNT had trailed through 14 minutes, but a combination of goals from Alex Morgan and Ertz in a span of two minutes quickly erased the deficit.
For Morgan, it was her 80th goal for the Stars and Stripes.
Meanwhile, a second-half brace from teenage sensation Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn’s finish with nine minutes to play proved to be the icing on the cake for Jill Ellis’ side, who kicked off 2018 with a bang.