KANSAS CITY – Expansion will be high on the MLS board of directors agenda when they meet here tomorrow morning, ahead of Wednesday’s contest against AS Roma.
People in position to know around here seem to think owners will emerge with some clarity on the important expansion questions of “how many” and the “how fast.” Either way, MLS commissioner Don Garber will have something to say about it Wednesday evening from Sporting Park.
Orlando’s highly aggressive ownership group is here in Kansas City; in this case, “aggressive” is a very good thing as the group continues to lobby hard, pushing to be No. 21 in MLS.
The group isn’t just aggressive, either. Now backed by Brazilian education entrepreneur Flávio Augusto da Silva, the club has the kind of money to be a real player here – something that probably wasn’t true just a few months ago.
David Beckham, still linked heavily to Miami expansion efforts, is not in Kansas City from what I understand – for whatever that means to you. I am told that Orlando and Miami is not necessarily an “either / or” situation; A lot of options will apparently move around the table during the board of directors meeting.
Meanwhile, rains that cancelled Monday’s practices continued this morning, but forecasts called for clearing skies through the day. Officials, though protective of the Sporting Park field, were optimistic enough to keep the mornings workouts for Roma and the MLS All-Stars scheduled.
The United States national team contingent (Landon Donovan, Matt Besler, etc.) arrived into Kansas City on Monday afternoon, so the entire MLS All-Star bunch should be present for Tuesday’s light workout with coach Peter Vermes.
Two Major League Soccer clubs have put their kits out there for the 2016 season. They’ve received a mediocre welcome at best.
Columbus was the first, and their kit makes a bold statement moving away from the traditional yellow and black that so often adorns their regular shirts. Instead, the kit incorporates the Columbus flag onto it. The release has seen quite a negative reaction on social media.
The kit was unveiled at the Columbus City Hall on Wednesday, featuring the traditional adidas stripes, although instead of the usual placement on the shoulders, the stripes come down the side of the torso. Recently, adidas has the tendency to copy general jersey patterns across its multiple properties, so look for this design with other clubs in the near future.
The negative reaction to the Columbus release isn’t terribly surprising considering fans often enjoy sticking to tradition, and backlash is common when clubs deviate from the norm. As an additional hurdle, the color contrast between red and yellow is somewhat stark, lending to the difficult reception. Add in the bright pastel blue shorts and…yikes.
While the club didn’t describe how they will utilize this kit during the season, it’s likely to be the primary (at least for now) as the club release says the kit portfolio also includes last year’s black kit, which is traditionally the away kit.
NYCFC’s release of their secondary kit was more positive, receiving a mixed response on social media.
As you can see, adidas again copied their general outline with the stripes down the side of the torso. However, the German clothing manufacturer did much better with the general design of these kits than the Columbus ones. I will give a bit of personal opinion here: I absolutely love these kits. The ripple effect accentuates the crest with a near-3D effect, and the colors mesh perfectly which serves to assuage the eye from being overwhelmed by a busy design. If there’s any criticism, it’s that without an outline, the Etihad logo tends to get in the way a bit, but that’s nitpicking. Well done NYCFC. Columbus…I’ll leave that one to you all.
Rog and Davo break down Leicester City’s 3 – 1 win at Manchester City, marvel at Spurs going second in the table, and talk about the headlines surrounding the mid-table clash between Chelsea and United.
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West Brom is the last team through to the FA Cup fifth round with a penalty win over Peterborough United after a 1-1 draw in their replay at ABAX Stadium.
Down 1-0 10 minutes after the halftime break, Darren Fletcher scored the equalizer in the 71st minute, and that scoreline lasted through regulation and extra time. Fletcher missed a penalty in the shootout, but Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster saved twice to put West Brom through.
[ MORE: Full schedule for every PL club ]
Other than the penalty shootout, things were quite even throughout the match. Posh actually lead slightly on possession, and had an 8-5 shots-on-target advantage as well. Jon Taylor was the man to score for Peterborough, putting them 1-0 ahead shortly after halftime. The 23-year-old midfielder also scored in the 2-2 draw at The Hawthornes in the original matchup.
West Brom will now take on Reading in the fifth round, a team that hammered Walsall 4-0 in their fourth round meeting. Reading currently sits 15th in the Championship table
With USMNT World Cup qualifying not far away, Jurgen Klinsmann will certainly look to club performances to find out which of his players are grasping club opportunities by the horns.
One US national teamer in great form is Alejandro Bedoya. The 28-year-old has scored four times across all competitions since January 23rd, and his latest is a massive one. Bedoya sent Nantes to the quarterfinals of the Coupe de France with a 118th-minute winner against Bordeaux.
Bedoya has been a lightning rod for Nantes the past two or three seasons, but something he struggled for occasionally is consistent game time. Not anymore. The American has started five of their last six league matches, and since returning from some time off due to illness, Bedoya has featured in the starting lineup in nine of 11 Ligue 1 matches. What’s more, he’s finished the full 90 minutes in seven of those.
Klinsmann has looked to Bedoya in the past for a combination of electricity and defensive ability on the wing. Now, he may bring both endurance and a goalscoring threat to international competitions, which would go a long way in raising his national team stock.