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Nashville joins cities seeking MLS expansion team

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Some Nashville investors and supporters are making a push for Music City to be among the communities awarded expansion franchises by Major League Soccer.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Bill Hagerty, a former state commissioner of economic and community development, and Will Alexander, the son of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, are spearheading the effort called the Nashville MLS Organizing Committee. It includes a bipartisan group of former politicians and leaders of Nashville-area companies.

“Music City’s diverse and growing population, vibrant economy and passionate sports culture make it an ideal fit for the MLS,” Hagerty said.

While Nashville is seeking to leapfrog several other cities vying for MLS teams, Hagerty said his experience with landing major economic development projects like Under Armour and Beretta gives him hope. The sports apparel maker and the firearms manufacturer didn’t originally expect to locate facilities in the Nashville area, Hagerty said.

“We were at the bottom of the list and we were able to get in and make it happen,” he said. “So we’re accustomed to pulling our resources together in short order and demonstrating our strength.”

The Nashville proposal would include a downtown stadium, likely with some public financing.

“The stronger the role the city plays, the more competitive we are in winning a franchise,” Hagerty said. “I think the city is prepared to be a very strong partner.”

[ MORE: “This guy’s crazy, but he can play” — Jermaine Jones in his own words ]

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry called the MLS expansion push “an exciting opportunity to build on our successes and plan for Nashville’s future as a soccer destination for the Southeast.”

The mayor’s long-range capital improvement plan includes $50 million in proposed revenue bonds for a potential municipal soccer facility, but Barry has not made a formal request to the Metro Council to move the project forward.

The organizing committee includes the heads of Bridgestone Americas and Nissan North America, both of which are based in the Nashville area. Hagerty noted that the tiremaker is heavily involved in sports sponsorship around the world and that the automaker has been a major sponsor of the European Champions League and the Manchester City Football Club.

Retired Tennessee politicians supporting the effort include former Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, who led efforts to draw the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and NHL’s Nashville Predators to the city in the 1990s. The presidents of both teams are also on the MLS committee.

“Soccer is growing in popularity in our country and it would be good for Nashville to be a part of it with a major league team,” Bredesen said in an email. “Many of the organizations whose CEOs have lent their support to this current effort were very helpful to me twenty years ago and I believe it appropriate for me to return the favor here in 2016.”

Hagerty said MLS is expected to release an expansion timeline in the next several weeks. Other cities vying for teams include St. Louis; Sacramento, California; Detroit; San Diego; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; and Cincinnati.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.

Man arrested after English soccer player reports homophobia

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TRANMERE, England — A footballer in England’s third tier reported being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands, leading to police making one arrest.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop told the referee of the abuse at halftime of the League One soccer game at Tranmere as his team won 2-0.

Tranmere says it is very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made.

In a statement, Merseyside Police condemned abhorrent incidents.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Crellin added that “hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

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Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.

EURO qualifying wrap: France, Iceland, Turkey earn wins

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With their tickets already booked to next summer’s big tournament, France and Turkey picked up wins in Sunday’s Euro qualifying action, which saw defending champions Portugal clinch qualification.

[ READ: Defending champions Portugal qualify to EURO 2020 ]


Albania 0-2 France

Albania opened their new, 22,500-seat stadium with a hard-fought loss against France.

Early on, Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso gave the impression that the home fans were in for a long night at the inaugurating Air Albania Stadium, opening the score just eight minutes in with a well-placed header. In the 31st minute, an unfamiliar face, Leo Dubois, connected with Antoine Griezmann, who slotted the ball into the bottom-right corner. France finish the qualifiers leaders of Group H with 25 points. Throughout the 10 matches, the world champions lost only once, a 2-0 loss against Turkey.

Andorra 0-2 Turkey

Real Valladolid’s Enes Unal scored a first-half brace as Turkey coasted past Andorra 2-0. Turkey, who clinched a spot next summer after finishing Group H two points behind France, controlled possession and chances at goal.

Moldova 1-2 Iceland

Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the visitor’s second and winning goal in the second half, as Iceland walked away from Zimbru Stadium with a 2-1 win on Sunday.

With 19 points throughout 10 games, Rúnar Kristinsson and company felt five points short of qualifying directly for next year’s competition. That said, they’ll partake in the Euro 2020 playoffs, looking to squeeze their way in.

Elsewhere

Luxembourg 0-2 Portugal

Serbia 2-2 Ukraine

Kosovo 0-4 England

Bulgaria 1-0 Czech Republic