Credit: Findlay, AECOM

Las Vegas still has sights set on Major League Soccer franchise


“Viva, Las Vegas. Viva, soccer-specific stadium…”

Okay, so it may not be the first city on everyone’s list for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise but the folks in Las Vegas aren’t deterred.

In the past few weeks we have heard about plans for a soccer-specific stadium to be built in downtown Vegss and now the company planning to  build a stunning new facility, at Symphony Park, have been given more time to finalize their design and get this thing off the ground. We brought you the news of Vegas officials and MLS being in discussions last week and that has helped to keep this project going and give planners extra time to build what looks like a stunning venue.

MORE: Las Vegas could be in line for Major League Soccer team

This summer Vegas already boasts a PDL side, the wonderfully named Las Vegas Mobsters, and the development group behind this proposed venue have their sights set on an MLS franchise. Cordish Companies and Findlay Sports and Entertainment Group switched their focus to building an MLS stadium downtown after MGM resorts broke ground on a new arena earlier this month.

With Vegas forever being linked with having a major league sports franchise to call their own, could MLS arrive in the next wave of expected expansion? With Miami, Orlando and Atlanta setting the league up for 23 teams from 2017, one more team will likely be added in the next three seasons. Minneapolis has long been the number option on many people’s list but if Vegas can get this stadium signed, sealed and built, why can soccer arrive in Sin City?

The guys at CBS Las Vegas take up the story, as a new soccer stadium was given more time to be finalized by the local council.

Councilmembers voted 6-1 Wednesday to ink a deal with Baltimore-based Cordish Companies and its new partner, Findlay Sports and Entertainment Group. The deal gives the partners until Sept. 1 to develop a financing plan. The city has maintained an exclusive contract for years with Cordish, which planned to build an arena in the revitalized downtown. But the project failed to materialize, and Cordish has irked some residents by proposing a tax to fund it. After MGM Resorts broke ground on a privately funded arena this month, Cordish announced it was changing directions and pursuing Major League Soccer. The original contract was set to expire June 1.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.