Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has announced that the city has spent $8.2 million on an area of land to give to Orlando City Soccer Club to build a new soccer-specific stadium.
According to the report from WFTV Orlando, the total cost of the proposed stadium will be upwards of $110 million and ground breaking could begin as early as December 2013. The proposed stadium will be located a few blocks from Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic, and approximately eight blocks from the Citrus Bowl, where Orlando City currently plays its home matches.
“I can tell you with certainty that is where we would like to construct the stadium,” Dyer said. “That’s the perfect location. We have the parking already associated with the other facilities in the downtown area.”
Despite records indicating that the land was purchased for more than four times its appraised value, Dyer was adamant that the city did not overpay. “It’s all within the appraisals,” said Dyer, who is hoping other commissioners, lawmakers and MLS will agree the site is worth his $8.2 million gamble.
For now the club is set to contribute $80-100 million to build the stadium and the city will provide the land while the county will likely kick in tourist development tax. Dyer is hoping, however, that the state will provide some funding as well. Currently, MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL teams can all get funding help for new stadiums. The state legislature is expected to decide on whether MLS will qualify for similar funding.
The next franchise that MLS awards will be the league’s 20th team. For years it was believed that franchise would be in New York City but with issues surrounding potential stadium sites in Flushing Meadows and Aqueduct Race Track, places like Miami and Orlando have moved to the front of the line. With Orlando’s land purchase, the city has taken the biggest (and perhaps riskiest) step in making their dream a reality.
Only time will tell when and if Dyer’s gamble pays off.
Jorge Sampaoli is lambasting his team after a 3-0 loss put Argentina on the edge of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup’s knockout rounds.
“The reality of the Argentina squad clouds Lionel Messi’s brilliance,” Sampaoli said. “The team doesn’t gel as well as it should.”
[ MORE: Modric urges humility ]
Sampaoli said his players could not find a way to get the ball to Messi, and that the introduction of Boca Juniors youngster Cristian Pavón was aimed at opening up the field a little bit.
And Sampaoli is not shying away from the long-discussed comparison between Messi and Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo. From the BBC:
“Cristiano is a great player and he has achieved a lot with club and country. Right now it is hard to compare these two players because of the ability in the Argentinian squad clouds the judgment. Leo is in a difficult position because the squad doesn’t gel with him. As coach I have to accept that. I don’t feel shame but I definitely feel pain. It has been a long time since I have gone through this experience as a coach and obviously it is more painful when I’m wearing the colours of my country.
“We have no alternative but to give it our all in the final match. We have not performed at the level the country expects. We were ambitious ahead of the game but now it is harder for us as a group. We did think this would be the match we can take off as a team, but it wasn’t in the end. I think this is an excellent squad but we didn’t gel or come together. We need to take advantage of the next match, when the pressure will be on, and hope to progress.”
Now, of course Sampaoli is going to defend Messi, but Argentina’s team is not chopped liver. The side certainly isn’t as deep or solid as Croatia, but 1-1 with Iceland preceded this one.
That said, Argentina’s performance once Croatia essentially decided to surround Messi was unacceptable. If favored Nigeria doesn’t handle its business against Iceland, the World Cup finalists won’t have a prayer of going back.
There are few teams who’ve looked as strong as Croatia at the World Cup in Russia.
[ RECAP: Argentina 0-3 Croatia ]
Zlatko Dalic’s men now have a pair of shutout wins against decent competition, topping Nigeria 2-0 over the weekend before hammering Argentina 3-0 on Thursday.
The nature of those performances will have many, us included, debating just how far Croatia can run in this tournament. Veteran midfielder Luka Modric is hoping his team doesn’t do the same.
“Let’s not be euphoric or get ahead of ourselves,” Modric said. “Of course this win will boost our confidence for the next game, and we have shown we can create opportunities, but let’s keep our feet firmly on the ground.”
Modric noted that Willy Caballero‘s howler “was a shot in the arm,” but added that they had played a “perfect game.”
That’s true. And while so much focus will be on Messi’s struggles, don’t sleep on the terrific performance of Vatreni.
Modric also seemed to bristle when asked about shutting down Messi.
“I don’t want to talk about other players. We are happy with our own performance. We wanted to cut out Messi receiving the ball because he is the most dangerous player.”
Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic have Croatia in the knockout rounds and Argentina on the verge of World Cup disaster.
Croatia scored a trio of second half goals, one aided by a Willy Caballero howler, in a 3-0 win in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday.
Argentina will enter its final match against Nigeria on the outskirts of the knockout rounds regardless of how Nigeria-Iceland ends on Friday.
[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]
Ivan Perisic forced a big save out of Wily Caballero for an early Croatia corner kick that came to nothing.
Messi had a chance stopped inside of 10 minutes, then started a play that Dejan Lovren blocked for a corner in the 13th.
Enzo Perez missed an open goal off a poor Croatia giveaway in the 30th minute.
There were a pair of fouls not out of place on a red card lowlight reel, one for each team, but neither resulting in a sending off.
Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.
Croatia took the lead through Caballero’s gaffe and Rebic’s smash in the 54th.
Argentina nearly answered moments later. After a mazy Messi dribble, Argentina regained possession in the 64th minute, spearheaded by a Gonzalo Higuain run that led to a corner.
Croatia came close to making it 2-0, as Mario Mandzukic couldn’t turn a flick on frame and instead saw it glide into the outside of the goal.
Then Modric put the match to bed as the clock hit 80, an absolute beauty. Another huge defensive mistake allowed Mateo Kovacic to cue up Rakitic for the third.
[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]
Willy Caballero has made one of the bigger blunders in recent World Cup history.
His Argentina side needs at least a point from Thursday’s match-up with Croatia, and the match remained scoreless into halftime.
[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]
But 10 minutes after the break, Caballero flubbed a clearance in a big way.
The Argentina goalkeeper then could only watch as Ante Rebic kept his composure to blast a side volley into the goal.
It was a fine finish, to be sure, but not possible without such a terrible gaffe.