In terms of zippy headlines and content sex appeal, “Diversity of Ownership” just doesn’t quite get there, does it? Still, that has been such an important storyline in the broader MLS tale over the last 10 years.
If we wanted to talk about the next big name heading MLS way – whether it was Roberto Donadoni or Hugo Sanchez in another day, or Kaka or Frank Lampard today – now that was a story that would always jingle our keys.
And stadiums! Every mention of a new ground being considered, every stadium design unveiling, every ribbon cutting and every grand opening made the facility wonks among us (Me, me, me!) happy as a nacho in warm cheese.
But all along, broadening and diversifying that early, tiny fraternity of MLS owners was a huge story, a uniquely critical element in league development. Don’t forget, the ownership roster once started at stopped at the Lamar Hunt, Phil Anschutz and Robert Kraft.
That was just 10 years ago!
So guys like Dave Checketts coming aboard provided essential nutrition to a growing operation. Now Checketts is getting out of the MLS ownership game, as we talked about yesterday.
Soccer America’s Paul Kennedy makes the point this morning that Checketts’ arrival was important for more than the growing sum of owners and the badly needed diversity. His presence in the game said something important to other perspective investors.
Checketts was a major figure in the American sports business — the youngest president in the history of the NBA (Utah Jazz) and the president of Madison Square Garden (owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers) — and his investment sent a signal to the American sports business community that it was OK to invest in MLS.
While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.
[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]
Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.
Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.
Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.
Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.
Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic
City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.
[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]
The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.
CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.
Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.
MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.
The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.
[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]
Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.
Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.
Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.
[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]
ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.
The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.
Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.
Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.
According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.