The Clint Dempsey delirium was just the icing on a big newsy cake last week – although what deliciously sweet icing it was.
Fact is, last week was the newsiest 7-day stretch in Major League Soccer history. That covers 18 years now, so the size of the sample is hardly insignificant. Yes, more newsy even than the Beckham announcement tsunami, which swept noisily and yet somewhat majestically over MLS in January of 2007.
Although we’ve probably got sore-neck from all the head-spinning, let’s take a quick glance back at the head-spinning week that was. Here’s the accounting, in order:
- The United States captured the Gold Cup on the strength of MLS men. Half of the 14 performers who got on the field for Jurgen Klinsmann at Soldier Field are under MLS employment. Of the other seven, six launched their careers in MLS. Oh, and the undisputed player of the tournament: the Galaxy’s clearly reenergized Landon Donovan.
- Stuart Holden’s latest crushing blow cannot exactly be tagged “MLS news” at this point, but as he remains so closely linked to the league, still having done the majority of his professional midfield work for the Houston Dynamo, and considering the grim impact of it all, there was a heavy league attachment.
- The Columbus Crew was sold, and for the first time in league history, the Hunt family does not own multiple MLS teams. That’s important as the league’s critical effort at ultimate ownership diversity is nearly complete. FYI, reported figures have put the sale price at around $65 million, and that deserves a meaningful conversation of its own – although we never really got to it. You know, because it was such a busy, newsy week!
- Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber kicked up a huge fuss at halftime of the All-Star contest, revealing a significant, shifting philosophy on expansion. MLS would be a 24-team league by 2020, he said. Of course, it kicked up the next round of “Which city roulette,” and isn’t that always a hoot? And it leaves bigger, more weighty questions about dangerous trajectories and strategic approach, etc. Darn shame we didn’t have more time for those.
- Stunningly, Major League Soccer summer showcase, the All-Star game, was reduced to opening act status. For the record, AS Roma ruled the night. (Photo … right)
- We knew those unfamiliar and slightly obscure retention funds, part of the new, tricky math of MLS, had already been put to use. But did we have arms around the frequency, and know the names? Well, now we do after PST hung the names out of the line, out in public view last week.
- The Cosmos are back! This would have been a talker – I mean, 29 years since the Cosmos of old pushed the NASL into flying too close to the sun – on any other week.
- Clarence Goodson rejoined MLS, debuting in a San Jose Earthquakes shirt. Just a blip on the domestic soccer radar with everything else, I realize. Still, it was news.