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MLS expansion: Group reveals plan for $200M stadium in STL

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ST. LOUIS (AP) The NFL’s Rams are gone, and attention in St. Louis now turns to soccer with an ownership group pursuing a Major League Soccer expansion team.

The effort includes plans to build a $200-million stadium downtown (MORE PHOTOS/INFO) that would require millions of dollars in public funding.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The ownership group revealed Thursday is known as SC STL. Paul Edgerley, a partner at the investment firm VantEdge Partners, is lead owner and chairman. Among his partners is Dave Peacock, former president of Anheuser-Busch and a driving force behind the effort last year to build a $1 billion riverfront stadium for the Rams.

The football stadium plan died when the NFL in January approved Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s request to move the team to Los Angeles. Since the departure of football, efforts to secure an MLS team have escalated.

MLS is already adding two new teams to expand to 24 by the end of the decade, and eventually plans to add four more, league spokesman Dan Courtemanche said. St. Louis is among eight markets that have publicly expressed interest in the four additional expansion slots, Courtemanche said. A timetable for when those cities would join the league has not been determined.

Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement that league officials have had “very productive” meetings with Edgerley and his partners.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

“With its rich soccer heritage, St. Louis has always been a market of great interest to Major League Soccer and SC STL is the ideal ownership group that will provide St. Louis the best opportunity for a future expansion team,” Garber said.

The open-air stadium would have 20,000 seats with the ability to expand to 28,500. It would sit next to St. Louis Union Station and encompass about 24 acres on land near Interstate 64 currently owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation. The city has an option to buy the site, but the value is still being appraised.

SC STL said it would fund “much” of the stadium construction cost, but St. Louis voters in April would be asked to fund a significant share, up to $80 million, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Specific details on the public portion are still being worked out, the ownership group said.

[ MORE: Top 5 PL storylines — Mourinho vs. Wenger ]

Getting it on the ballot is no sure thing. Though the NFL plan was eventually approved by city aldermen, the debate was often contentious. Alderman Sam Moore said at one meeting that some residents live in “Third World” conditions while taxpayers were paying for stadiums. Messages left for Moore on Friday were not immediately returned.

The ownership group said it also will work with the state for financial assistance related to site development and infrastructure.

The stadium would be within about a mile of two other downtown sports venues — baseball’s Busch Stadium and the Scottrade Center, home of the NHL’s Blues.

Must-See Goal: Jozy Altidore puts USMNT in front with Bicycle Kick

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Jozy Altidore put his stamp on the game and gave U.S. Men’s National Team coach Gregg Berhalter more to speak about with one fell swing.

Altidore finished off a corner kick in spectacular fashion, executing a perfect bicycle kick to put the USMNT up 1-0 in the 66th minute. The goal came one minute after the entrance of Christian Pulisic, which perhaps was on the mind of the Panama defense.

It was Altidore’s second-straight game vs. Panama with a goal. His last two were in October 2017, when the U.S. pummeled Panama, 4-0. Of course, a few days later, a tired USMNT failed to win at Trinidad and Tobago.

FOLLOW LIVE, Gold Cup: USMNT closes out group v. Panama

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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.

Must-See Goal: Wayne Rooney v. Orlando City

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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.

Benfica: Atletico Madrid make $143 million bid for Felix

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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.