Sacramento could be about to arrive on the soccer map in North America, in a very big way.
According to reports from FOX40 in Sacramento, the ownership group of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings are lining up a bid to buy the city’s USL PRO outfit and have plans to enter Major League Soccer already in motion.
The Sacramento Republic, who began play in 2014, are continuing to attract average crowds of over 13,000 in their inaugural season and sold out their former home stadium on three occasions, as more than 20,000 fans crammed into Hughes Stadium. They now play at Booney Field, which has a reduced capacity of 8,000, but fans of the Republic continue to pour onto the terraces as they smashed the USL’s previous attendance record held by incoming MLS franchise Orlando City.
Those figures point towards one thing: a hot soccer market in Sacramento.
Apparently Kings President Chris Granger has traveled to Seattle this week to meet up with Major League Soccer reps in order to chat about getting Sacramento into MLS. More details from the report suggest that Sacramento are keen to strike a deal to arrive in MLS as soon as possible as the Mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, will also accompany Granger to meet MLS reps.
Sacramento Republic’s President, Warren Smith, has stated many times that bringing MLS to California’s capital by 2016 was his goal. If the Kings ownership group gets in on this, plus plans for a 20,000 seater stadium downtown continue to develop, it’s not out of the question to see Sacramento arrive alongside Atlanta in 2017 and possibly before Miami into North America’s top-flight. A hefty expansion fee is likely, as $100 million plus change could be what a new expansion franchise is expected to pay in the current market.
Keep an eye on Northern California, something special is happening in Sacramento and the Kings want in. Should MLS jump at the chance to have Sacramento as their latest expansion franchise?
They don’t get much bigger, or more heated, than this one in MLS — it’s Portland versus Seattle, the Timbers versus the Sounders, tonight at Providence Park (10 p.m. ET).
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To keep up-to-the-second informed on proceedings in Portland this evening, hit the above link, or click right here.
Seattle won the first meeting between these sides, 1-0 back on May 27, on their home turf at CenturyLink Field. Cristian Roldan, who’ll depart for U.S. national team camp following Sunday’s game, scored the only goal that afternoon in Seattle, a 4th-minute header from three yards out.
Shkodran Mustafi admits that he, along with his Arsenal teammates, feels helpless with over the ongoing transfer saga of Alexis Sanchez.
[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]
The Chilean superstar is linked with a move away from Arsenal this summer, as the Gunners fell out of the Premier League’s top-four and the 28-year-old’s contract is set to expire next summer. Perhaps most importantly, Sanchez hasn’t so much as publicly stated a desire to remain at the club, which, from the outside, appears to have left his future in even greater doubt.
Mustafi admits he hasn’t a clue how things will shake out in the coming weeks, but he’s quick with a pleading sales pitch for Sanchez to stay — quotes from Goal.com:
“I have no idea. Obviously the other players cannot make that decision, he has to make that decision.
“I’m not too much involved. I hope he stays because he is a really brilliant football player but there’s nothing in my hands that I can do.”
[ MORE: De Boer set to be named new Crystal Palace boss ]
Arsenal would likely have to double (if not more) Sanchez’s current $180,000 weekly wages in order to convince him to forego a season in the UEFA Champions League and commit his long-term future to a club presently trending in the wrong direction.
Frank de Boer is widely expected to be named new Crystal Palace manager this week, as he has reportedly accepted the job after having been offered the position this week.
[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]
The 47-year-old Dutchman has been out of work since he was fired by Inter Milan in November. He lasted just 84 days at the San Siro, where he managed to win just five of 14 games. Inter Milan is Inter Milan, though, and that’s something worth remembering when critiquing Palace’s impending appointment of De Boer.
Palace are also widely expected to back De Boer in the transfer market this summer, in a big way. Kelechi Iheanacho is the biggest name linked with a move to Selhurst Park, as the 20-year-old Nigerian striker is reportedly unwanted by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
Dominic Kinnear is out after two and a half seasons as head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes, despite leading the club to a hugely improved standing 17 games into the 2017 season.
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The move comes 17 hours after San Jose put to bed a three-game winless skid with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday, a result which propelled them into fifth place in the Western Conference, just two points off second place. After seventh- and ninth-place finishes in Kinnear’s first two seasons back in Northern California (he managed the club in 2004 and 2005 before the club was relocated to Houston, where he would remain for nine seasons, through the 2014 season), this year’s team seemed to be moving in a positive direction quicker than most had previously expected.
[ MORE: Accam scores a backheel (video) | Opara scores a CB bicycle ]
The club has named Chris Leitch head coach and Alex Covelo as assistant coach. Current assistant coach Steve Ralston and goalkeeper coach Tim Hanley will remain in their current roles.
“First and foremost, we would like to thank Dominic for his hard work, professionalism and contributions to this club over the years,” Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli said in a release. “He worked hard this year and was a first-class person all the way. This decision was made after a lot of thought and evaluation. We decided that we wanted to go in a different direction as we continue to build the identity of this club.”
Kinnear is the second MLS coach to be relieved of his duties this season, suffering the same fate as RSL’s Jeff Cassar, who lasted just three games before being fired in March.