Notes from today’s big announcement on MLS, NYCFC the Yankees and the rest

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  • MLS officials thought they were preciously close in negotiations with New York City suits on league plan to develop a 25,000-seat facility in Queens, just east of Manhattan. The facility, at a price tag of around $350 million, would be attached to the park which is already home to the Mets’ Citi Field and to the National Tennis Center, where tennis’ U.S. Open plays out annually. It has recently bogged down and now … well, we’ll need time to see how today’s massive news impacts everything.
  • We are all getting some social media driven whiff of how Manchester United fans will not support the new club due to its attachments with the Red Devils chief rival. You know, in a city of more than 8 million, that’s unlikely to make much of a dent.
  • Major League Soccer has been quite careful to keep expenses in check, to keep from wandering down the destructive lanes the old North American Soccer League imprudently chose. So far, so good … although there has long been push from the AEG ownership corners to go bigger. Always bigger. Now, due to the involvement of free-spending Manchester City and the Yankees – who have always defined “free spending” in American sports – and due to David Beckham’s potential arrival into the MLS fray, you have to wonder if the lean to “go big” is becoming some kind of unstoppable force?

(MORE: Manchester City and Yankees will own new MLS expansion club)

  • I cannot possibly imagine this is good for the Cosmos, a club working hard to make an impact in domestic soccer from its lower place on the totem pole, in the second tier of the U.S. pro soccer structure. The upstart club is scheduled to launch its inaugural season in the North American Soccer League later this year.
  • As SI.com’s Grant Wahl points out in this piece, we’ve known for some time that Manchester City and owner Sheikh Mansour were interested in sinking some of their abundant oil money into MLS. The surprise today was the Yankees.
  • Yes, having more high-profile franchises in MLS will add further pressure on existing franchises to get their messy houses in order, mostly as it relates to facility development but also to essential ownership structure. Yes, we are looking at you Chivas USA, D.C. United and New England Revolution.
  • Clearly, some team in the 10-team Eastern Conference will need to move to the West, which currently has just nine teams. Which one?

(MORE: Why MLS was so focused on New York as the 20th market)

(MORE: Implications of the ‘sister-club’ relationship between City and NYCFC)

 

World Cup’s only black coach says there should be more

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MOSCOW (AP) — The only black coach at this year’s World Cup says there is a need for more in soccer.

“In European countries, in major clubs, you see lots of African players. Now we need African coaches for our continent to go ahead,” Senegal’s Aliou Cisse said through a translator on Monday, a day ahead of his nation’s World Cup opener against Poland.

[ MORE: Where to watch Tuesday’s games, feat. Colombia and Egypt ]

The percentage of black players at this year’s tournament and with clubs in the world’s top leagues is far higher.

Cisse was captain of Senegal when it reached the 2002 quarterfinals in the nation’s only previous World Cup appearance.

“I am the only black coach in this World Cup. That is true,” Cisse said. “But really these are debates that disturb me. I think that football is a universal sport and that the color of your skin is of very little importance.”

[ MORE: Harry Kane “buzzing” after two goals | Southgate encouraged ]

FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cisse cited Florent Ibenge, the coach of Congo’s national team, as a sign of progress.

“I think we have a new generation that is working, that is doing its utmost, and beyond being good players with a past of professional footballers,” Cisse said. “We are very good in our tactics, and we have the right to be part of the top international coaches.”

Africa’s best performance at the World Cup has been to reach the quarterfinals, accomplished by Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

“I have the certainty that one day an African team, an African country, will win the World Cup,” Cisse said. “It’s a bit more complicated in our countries. We have realities that are not there in other continents, but I think that the African continent is full of qualities. We are on the way, and I’m sure that Senegal, Nigeria or other African countries will be able win, just like Brazil, Germany or other European countries.”

A lack of minority managers also has been documented at the club level. The Sports People’s Think Tank said in November there were just three minority managers among the 92 English professional clubs as of Sept. 1.

World Cup: Saudi team safe after plane caught fire mid-flight

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The Saudi Arabian national team arrived alive and well in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on Monday after a terrifying incident that saw their plane catch fire in the air.

[ MORE: Where to watch Tuesday’s games, feat. Colombia and Egypt ]

The blaze was caused by “a technical failure in one of the airplane engines,” which the airline, Rossiya, claims was caused by a bird flying into the engine. Each of the planes engines were reportedly in operation upon landing at its final destination.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation posted a message on Twitter later on Monday, saying they “would like to reassure everyone that all the Saudi national team players are safe, after a technical failure in one of the airplane engines that has just landed in Rostov-on-Don airport, and now they’re heading to their residence safely.”

The Green Falcons will face Uruguay in Rostov, hoping to rebound from their tournament-opening 5-0 loss to Russia on Thursday, in each side’s second game of Group A action on Wednesday (11 a.m. ET).

Seismologists clarify Mexico fans didn’t cause earthquake

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s National Seismological Service says there was seismic activity around the country’s capital Sunday, but it wasn’t linked to soccer fans celebrating their country’s game-winning goal vs. Germany at the World Cup.

[ MORE: Where to watch Tuesday’s games, feat. Colombia and Egypt ]

The service says in a report that there were two small earthquakes at 10:24 a.m. and 12:01 p.m. The goal came around 11:35 a.m. local time.

A geological institute reported Sunday that seismic detectors had registered a false earthquake that may have been generated by “massive jumps” by fans.

[ MORE: Harry Kane “buzzing” after two goals | Southgate encouraged ]

Mexico’s Seismological Service explained Monday that the city’s normal bustle of traffic and other movement causes vibrations that are detected by sensitive instruments.

It says those vibrations notably quieted during the match as people gathered in front of TVs to watch, and rose after the goal.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 6 — Colombia vs. Japan; Salah’s debut?

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Day 6 of the 2018 World Cup is up next, on Tuesday — and would you believe it? — there’s another three games on the schedule. This whole “back-to-back-to-back games of soccer” thing isn’t so bad.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Up first, it’s the 2018 debut of Colombia, winners of tens hundreds of millions of hearts in 2014, as they take on Japan. In the day’s other Group H fixture, it’ll be Robert Lewandowski and Poland facing Sadio Mane and Senegal. Star power aplenty.

Then, we swing things back around to Group A, where the hosts Russia will look to continue their hot start against Egypt with Mohamed Salah expected to make his World Cup debut.

Below is Tuesday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Tuesday, June 19

Group H
Colombia vs. Japan: Saransk, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Poland vs. Senegal: Moscow, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group A
Russia vs. Egypt: St. Petersburg, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE