Everyone gets excited when one of Major League Soccer’s corner office types mentions specifically targeted expansion cities. And no one is more “corner office” around MLS than commissioner Don Garber.
Miami is the big elephant of an expansion target currently in MLS sights. And this continued rush to fill out the MLS geographical map with lots o’ dots in the American Southeast means Atlanta has gained favored status after the boxes are checked in South Florida.
Past that, today’s list of targets further in the distance included some familiar names – and one relative newcomer. In his ever evolving scroll of dangling possibilities, Garber today mentioned St. Louis, San Antonio and Minneapolis. And Austin! Which is a relative newcomer in this ongoing game of “Whose got next? … MLS expansion edition.”
Either way, Garber says there is no secret formula.
“It starts with an ownership group and moves from there to a downtown stadium, and it really is very simple,” Garber said Tuesday. “The downtown stadium is a formula that has been working for us. It’s hard for us to imagine a scenario where we go into a market without one of those.”
Actually, he has been saying this for a while now. So have I. So have a bunch of other people … but given the human tendency to complicate, we keep looking for something more complex. “Surely it cannot be THIS simple, right?”
It’s not. Right owner with sufficient financing. Right stadium – probably downtown. From there, TV markets and some other considerations may fall in line, but they do seem to be well down this line.
(MORE: Garber says that radical calendar shift to winter remains far away)
(MORE: Garber says MLS still hopeful of the David Beckham-Miami expansion)
It’s a fully-changed starting XI for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it closes out the group stage against Panama at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Omar Gonzalez and Matt Miazga start together in the backline, Jozy Altidore returns to the starting lineup up top, and Jordan Morris and Jonathan Lewis feature on the wings alongside Altidore. Ten of the 11 players now ply their trade in MLS, including the Gonzalez, who recently moved to Toronto FC.
[ FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT takes on Panama in Kansas City]
Hit the link above to follow along for the next two hours, and check back on PST for a full recap and in-depth analysis after the final whistle.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say it. Wayne Rooney just scored the most amazing goal in Audi Field’s young history.
In the 10th minute of D.C. United’s match against Orlando City SC on Wednesday evening, Rooney noticed Orlando’s Brian Rowe straying way off his line. And so, with an audacious but accurate attempt, Rooney let fly from 65 yards and SCORED. Just check this goal out below.
[FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT v. Panama]
Rooney took advantage of a crazy bounce and with his literal first touch, unleashed a thunderbolt that Rowe couldn’t catch up to. It automatically becomes one of the top contenders for the MLS Goal of the Year, and should make it on every top ten countdown this evening and tomorrow.
The legend of Joao Felix appears to have reached full market value potential.
The 19-year-old Portuguese striker is coming off a breakout year for Benfica, and now the Portuguese giants have received an impressive $143 million offer from Atletico Madrid for Felix. The club confirmed the offer in a statement on its website, stating it was analyzing the deal. Felix has a $136.5 million release clause in his contract, but it appears the additional $7 million is in processing costs.
[READ: Kroos wants to retire at Real Madrid]
Felix was outstanding at Benfica last year, scoring 15 goals with seven assists in 26 league games and three goals and one assist in five Europa League game. Felix has already made his international debut for Portugal.
If confirmed, Felix would become the fifth-most expensive transfer in world history, and the second-most expensive transfer for a teenager behind Kylian Mbappe.
CAIRO (AP) Former champion Nigeria became the first team to reach the last 16 at the African Cup of Nations after defender Kenneth Omeruo‘s second-half goal delivered a 1-0 win over Guinea on Wednesday.
The Nigerians were unimpressive in the first half in Alexandria but lifted their game in the second. Alex Iwobi‘s rasping shot was pushed away by Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone and Ahmed Musa almost set up Odion Ighalo on a counterattack.
The former Chelsea defender Omeruo did what the forwards had not been able to do when he beat Kone with a glancing header at the near post off Moses Simon’s corner in the 73rd minute.
Nigeria, which won the title in 2013, has two wins from two games in Group B. It beat Burundi 1-0 in its first match and now needs a draw from its last fixture against Madagascar to finish top and stay in Alexandria for the last 16.
There was more good news for Nigeria when Samuel Kalu came on as a substitute near the end. The midfield player collapsed at a training session the day before the first game, suffering from dehydration, and was hospitalized.
Coach Gernot Rohr rested captain John Obi Mikel against Guinea.
Elsewhere, Egypt also confirmed a place in the knockout stages with a 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ahmad Elmohamady and Mohamed Salah each scored in the first half to lead the Pharoahs to victory, the hosts second-straight win in the competition.
In the other match of the day, Uganda tied Zimbabwe, 1-1.