Nashville SC/Twitter

MLS expansion rankings: Who are the favorites?

1 Comment

The big news in the MLS expansion world this week was the City Council of Nashville, Tennessee granting public funds for a soccer-specific stadium in Music City.

[ MORE: Garber gives expansion update ]

That leaves Nashville Soccer Club with a huge advantage over the rest of the MLS expansion field with their $275 million stadium plan ready to roll. The likes of Detroit, St. Louis and San Diego have all struggled in securing public funds for a stadium, so far, and their hopes hang in the balance.

With that in mind, now seems like a good time to speculate on how the 12 cities vying for MLS expansion stack up, especially with an announcement expected in the new few weeks.

Two cities will be announced as the winners of the next two MLS expansion franchises by the end of December, with a further two from this list of 12 at a yet to be announced date. Add into all of this LAFC kicking off in 2018, David Beckham still trying to bring a franchise to Miami and the uncertain future of the Columbus Crew in Columbus as their owner weighs up a move to Austin, Texas, and there is plenty to sort out.

Don Garber, MLS Commissioner, and his expansion committee have been traveling around and seeing the bids of multiple cities up close and personal in recent months and various interviews along the way have both complicated and cleared the expansion picture a little.

Below you will find our rankings of the 12 cities fighting for MLS expansion.


  1. Nashville – Stadium deal in place close to downtown and a growing sports market. Huge crowds for international games and friendlies. Seems nailed on
  2. Sacramento – Stadium deal in place, Sacramento Republic have had success and big crowds in USL. Past ownership issues over MLS deal sorted
  3. Cincinnati – Huge crowds in USL but stadium plan a stumbling block. Plans ongoing. Nippert a ready-made venue. Biggest losers from Nashville’s rise
  4. Phoenix – Financial backing is there, Drogba’s on board and stadium plans are in place. Phoenix the real dark horse?
  5. Detroit – Bid hurt by the deal for a stadium downtown collapsing. Will Ford Field as an alternate home put MLS off?
  6. San Antonio – Columbus potentially moving to Austin impacts this bid but Toyota Field is ready and big crowds for international games impressive
  7. Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg – Expensive redevelopment of Al Lang Stadium key to this bid but Rowdies have a strong, loyal fanbase
  8. Raleigh/Durham – NASL’s problems mean NCFC likely to move to USL soon, but will the crowds be big enough to woo MLS?
  9. San Diego – Lots of big names on board but the Soccer City development at Qualcomm has stalled. A big ask now
  10. St. Louis – See above. Such a shame too given STL’s soccer heritage. If they can get a stadium deal one day, you feel like MLS beckons
  11. Charlotte – No public financing or funding for a stadium deal has seen this bid stall. Competing with Raleigh/Durham was ill advised
  12. Indianapolis – NASL’s Indy Eleven have a loyal following but lack of funds to support an MLS expansion franchise mean this bid is a pipe dream

World record-holding manager Gutendorf dies at 93

Photo by Rzepka/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The world record holder for most teams managed has died at the age of 93.

Rudi Gutendorf, who managed in the United States with the NASL’s St. Louis Stars (1968), last managed in 2003 when he led the Samoa national team.

[ MORE: Maguire shining for Man Utd ]

Those are two of 55 teams he led onto the pitch, 22 of which were national teams. He led teams from CONCACAF (Trinidad and Tobago), CAF (Ghana), CONMEBOL (Chile), OFC (Fiji), and AFC (Australia).

The German-born Gutendorf did a lot of his club work in Europe, leading clubs as big as Hamburg, Schalke, Real Valladolid, and Hertha Berlin.

Gutendorf managed Rwanda in the wake of the country’s dark civil war. From DW.com:

“Such hate, you cannot believe. I was able to unite these two tribes to play football, and good football,” he said in a 2013 interview of the mixed Rwandan team of Hutu and Tutsi players.

What a fascinating career Gutendorf had, and the stories he’s told.

Man Utd’s Maguire “showed what a man he is” versus Leicester

Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United is still working to find its form as a team, but center back Harry Maguire continued his run of fine performances when the Red Devils beat his former team on Saturday.

United beat Leicester City 1-0 on the day, a Marcus Rashford penalty the difference, but Maguire and fellow new back Aaron Wan-Bissaka were again exceptional.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 1-0 Leicester City ]

Ashley Young has been through a few iterations of Manchester United, and the long-time club offered up lofty words to credit Maguire’s contributions to the team.

“Again he showed today what a man he is,” Young said. “You know, I think the manager’s said about him, he talks non-stop, he’s a real leader and he can play as well.”

Maguire won five aerial battles and two tackles while completing 83 percent of his passes and managing two shots against his former side (WhoScored). On the season, only Anthony Martial has consistently been more important to the team.

He also did not record a loss of possession, and seemingly was unbothered by plenty of criticism from the traveling fans. From The Manchester Evening News:

“I don’t think it bothers (Maguire) whatsoever,” said Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “You’ve got to be that way and when you play, when you coach, when you manage, we don’t get carried away when we win a game that we maybe didn’t deserve to win, but we don’t get in the dumps when we don’t win.”

Solskjaer also loved Maguire and Victor Lindelof for their performance against pesky Leicester star Jamie Vardy.

“I’ve got loads of admiration for Vardy,” Solskjaer said. “I think he’s my type of centre forward, runs in in behind, harasses and you’ve got to be spot on with the decision-making, when to stay up, when to drop off, and both of them proved their worth today. There were a couple of races and Harry did well.”

Maguire didn’t love being on the other side of Vardy, either.

“It was tough playing against Jamie,” he said. “I’ve played with him for two years and he is a top player who can terrorize defenses when he is on his game. … We knew it was important to get the win, especially after the international break. We have to build on a solid base and we want to keep clean sheets, especially at Old Trafford. We are always going to score goals with the attacking talent we have.”

United hosts Kazakhstan’s Astana on Thursday in the Europa League before visiting West Ham United on Sept. 22.

Watch Live: Bournemouth v. Everton

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dominic Calvert-Lewin gets the start up top as Everton looks to take down hosts Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Alex Iwobi, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Richarlison join Calvert-Lewin in attack for the Toffees, who can go fourth with a win.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Bournemouth enters the day in 16th, a point ahead of the bottom three, but can rise into the top half with a win. Early season vibes.

LINEUPS

Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Rico, Ake, Cook, Stacey, Solanke, Billing, L. S. Cook, Wilson, King, Wilson. Subs: Boruc, Surman, Lerma, Ibe, Fraser, Simpson, Mepham.

Everton: Pickford, Digne, Mina, Keane, Coleman, Delph, Schneiderlin, Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin. Subs: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Walcott, Sidibe, Bernard, Davies, Kean.

USWNT legend O’Reilly scores stunner on night to honor her career

Photo by Mike Stobe/International Champions Cup/Getty Images
Leave a comment

USWNT hero and North Carolina Courage playmaker Heather O’Reilly gave her special day its just desserts.

The 34-year-old New Jersey native scored a sweet goal late in North Carolina’s 6-1 demolition of Orlando Pride on Saturday night, which just so happened to be the evening chosen to celebrate her 17-year career.

[ MORE: Fan banned from all NWSL games ]

O’Reilly dribbled down the left before cutting to the middle and slashing a shot across the goal and inside the far post.

She has 231 USWNT caps with 47 goals, a Women’s World Cup crown, three Olympic gold medals, three top-flight domestic titles, two Women’s College Cups, and an FA Cup with Arsenal Ladies.

The Courage have four matches left in the regular season and look set to again be the No. 1 seed, so O’Reilly may yet have more memorable moments left in her playing career.