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It’s official: Manchester City and the Yankees will own and operate Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team.


Major League Soccer has told everyone for two years that a second team in New York City would soon become the league’s 20th franchise – and that dogged drive to make it happen did not always sit well with fans or media, many of whom wondered if expanding the league’s national footprint wasn’t more important.

After all, wasn’t there already a team in New York?

But maybe the masses didn’t understand the powerhouse ownership group being assembled.

Major League Soccer today announced that English Premier League club Manchester City, a recently fortified club now flush with oil money, and Major League Baseball’s powerful and influential New York Yankees will own and operate the league’s newest expansion club.

Branded as New York City Football Club (NYCFC), the league’s 20thy club is expected to kick its first ball in 2015.

“We proudly welcome two of the most prestigious professional global sports organizations to Major League Soccer,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement issued this morning. “This is a transformational development that will elevate the league to new heights in this country. The New York area is home to more than 19 million people, and we look forward to an intense crosstown rivalry between New York City Football Club and the New York Red Bulls that will captivate this great city.”

Assuming NYCFC does get going by 2015, the league’s 20th club will require an interim venue, pending a permanent home.

(MORE: Notes and other thoughts on today’s huge announcement)

Major League Soccer had attempted to get ahead in the venue game, working for more than two years to secure land and develop a facility within the city, helping distinguish this club from the New York Red Bulls, who have been with the league since its inaugural 1996 season but has always played in New Jersey. But the land and facility discussions long under way with community and business leaders in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens remain bogged down. That leaves MLS officials continuing to search for suitable sites.

This is unlikely to make fans happy in other markets thought to be in contention for Major League Soccer’s next expansion, including Miami and Orlando, which have moved aggressively over the past months to position themselves for a run at No. 20.

Garber said almost two years ago that Major League Soccer’s expansion fee for the second New York club would be $100 million.

(MORE: Why MLS was so focused on New York as the 20th market)

(MORE: Yankees, City, MLS officials plus NY mayor Michael Bloomberg set to discuss details tomorrow)


Atletico and Real draw 1-1 in Madrid derby

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 04: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid CF wins the header after Gabi Fernandez of Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Luciano Vietto scored with less than ten minutes to play to earn a draw for Atletico Madrid against their crosstown rivals Real.

Karim Benzema had given Real Madrid an early lead, heading home a cross from Dani Carvajal in the ninth minute. While Cristiano Ronaldo may get all the headlines, Benzema has been superb for Real, scoring six goals in seven La Liga matches this season.

[ RELATED: Rodgers sacked at Liverpool ]

Atletico had a golden opportunity to draw level in the 22nd minute when the hosts were awarded a penalty, but Keylor Navas made a brilliant save to deny Antoine Griezmann, keeping Real ahead.

Still trailing 1-0, Diego Simeone made a substitution for Atletico in the 58th minute, bringing in Luciano Vietto for some added strength on the attack. It was the 21-year-old’s first taste of a Madrid derby, and he proved to be ready for the pressure.

[ RELATED: Why Arsenal can win the Premier League title ]

With the clock winding down, Jackson Martinez played a cross in from the left wing, and after a slight scramble in the box, the young Vietto cleaned up the scraps to level the score in the 83rd minute.

The result leaves Real Madrid second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Villarreal, while Atletico sits fifth, three points off the leaders.

Timeline of Brendan Rodgers’ reign at Liverpool

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Brendan Rodgers the manager of Liverpool looks on during the Capital One Cup Third Round match between Liverpool and Carlisle United at Anfield on September 23, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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Eight matches into his fourth season in charge at Anfield, Brendan Rodgers was sacked by Liverpool.

[ MORE: Rodgers out as Liverpool boss ]

After leading the team to a 2nd place finish in the Premier League in 2014, Rodgers struggled to replicate those results despite spending nearly $300 million on transfers over the past two summers.

Below, we take a look at a timeline of Rodgers’ reign at Liverpool, and where it all went wrong.

June, 2012 — Rodgers appointed manager — Following the firing of Kenny Dalglish, Brendan Rodgers was named the manager of Liverpool. Rodgers had led Swansea City to Premier League promotion and helped the Swans finish 11th in their first season in the top flight.

May, 2013 — Liverpool finishes 7th in the PL — In Rodgers’ first season at Anfield, Liverpool finishes 7th in the league with 61 points. It was a nine-point improvement from the Reds’ previous season under Dalglish.

[ MORE: Klopp, Ancelotti to take over at Anfield? ]

May, 2014 — Liverpool finishes 2nd in the PL following late-season collapse — Liverpool had been at the top of the table since March, poised to win the club’s first Premier League title. However, the Reds lost to Chelsea 2-0 in the infamous “Steven Gerrard slip-game,” and then drew Crystal Palace despite leading 3-0 with less than 15 minutes to play. Liverpool would finish in second place, two points behind Manchester City.

July, 2014 — Luis Suarez sold to Barcelona for $128 million — Coming off of a 31-goal season in which Suarez won the Premier League Golden Boot and was named PFA Player of the Year, the striker was sold to Barcelona for the third-highest transfer fee of all-time. Without his star man, Rodgers never recovered.

Start of 2014-15 season — Liverpool drops six of opening 12 matches — Following the departure of Luis Suarez, Liverpool got off to a rocky start to the new season, losing six of their first 12 matches and falling to 12th on the table. After losing just six matches all of the 2013-14 season, Rodgers was under pressure.

[ MORE: Twitter reacts to Rodgers getting sacked ]

April, 2015 — Aston Villa defeats Liverpool in FA Cup semifinal — With the Reds out of the title race in the Premier League, the FA Cup was Rodgers’ last chance to win some silverware. Playing an Aston Villa side that was battling for PL survival, Liverpool lost 2-1 in front of a packed house at Wembley. Rodgers became the first Liverpool manager not to win a trophy in his first three seasons in charge since Phil Taylor in the 1950s.

May, 2015 — Liverpool finishes 6th in the PL — Liverpool finished the season in poor form, losing five of the final nine matches, including an embarrassing 6-1 loss to Stoke City on the final matchday. The Reds’ finished 6th on the table with 62 points, a 22-point drop-off from the previous season. Without Suarez, Liverpool scored 49 goals fewer than the 2013-14 campaign.

October, 2015 — Rodgers is fired — Following a draw against Everton in the Merseyside derby, Brendan Rodgers was relieved of his managerial duties with Liverpool. At the time of his firing, Liverpool sits 10th on the table with 12 points through eight matches.