USL Chicago

Stadium issues hit Chicago’s USL franchise


CHICAGO (AP) The owner of the Chicago Cubs has pulled out of plans to invest in a United Soccer League team after developers scrapped a planned 20,000-seat stadium.

Sterling Bay, a real estate development company, announced last year the formation of a joint venture with Tom Ricketts to own the team. On Tuesday, Sterling Bay said it will redesign its $6 billion, 54-acre Lincoln Yards project on Chicago’s North Side excluding the stadium.

A spokesman says the Ricketts family is disappointed by the decision.

The developer announced the decision after the alderman representing the neighborhood where the stadium was to be located pointed out the opposition of residents to its construction.

Despite Sterling Bay’s decision, USL spokesman Ryan Madden said the league will work to meet the appetite for professional soccer in Chicago by delivering a club and a stadium to the city.

Host stadium for 2019 Gold Cup final announced

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CONCACAF has announced that Chicago’s Solider Field will host the 2019 Gold Cup final.

The final was last held at the venue in 2013 when the USMNT won its only piece of silverware under former boss Jurgen Klinsmann by beating Panama 1-0 in the final.

The expanded 16-team tournament will take place in cities across the U.S. from the June 18 to July 17 in 15 stadiums across 14 host cities, with Atlanta, Philadelphia, Harrison, NJ, Cleveland, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Charlotte, Nashville, Kansas City, Frisco, Houston, Denver, Chicago, Glendale, Pasadena and LA hosting games this summer.

Previously only 12 teams had competed in the tournament.

The U.S. men’s national team plus Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago have already qualified by virtue of reaching the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals.

The top 10 teams from the 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League will then make up the remaining nations to compete in the Gold Cup.

Here’s a reminder of the glorious scenes the last time the Gold Cup final was held at Soldier Field, as Landon Donovan was named MVP of the tournament as he finished as the top scorer during his phenomenal comeback from a sabbatical.

Chicago Cubs owner becomes majority holder of new Chicago USL team

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USL’s addition of Chicago was announced last November, but the potential expansion side received major backing on Wednesday as the Windy City prepares to finalize its plans to enter the league.

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has joined the Chicago USL team as the club’s majority owner, after real-estate mogul and investor Sterling Bay announced the news on Wednesday.

Ricketts and his family have owned the Cubs since the 2009 season.

The current plans for the club are to construct a 20,000-seat stadium for the expansion side in the north side of Chicago, which would likely be within two miles of Wrigley Field — where the Cubs play.

Chicago is tentatively slated to join USL ahead of the 2020 season and is currently holding a contest for potential supporters to help name the team.

Reports: Chicago, Vancouver pull out of World Cup 2026 bid

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Two major North American cities with World Cup-ready stadiums have pulled out of being host cities in the 2026 World Cup bid.

According to two separate reports, both Chicago and Vancouver will not be hosting any World Cup matches should the joint-bid between the U.S., Canada and Mexico win the right to hold the 2026 World Cup in North America.

In both cases, city and state leaders argued that FIFA asked for major financial guarantees without promising a huge return on investment, making the elected officials nervous about moving forward with a bid.

[READ: Chivas too much for Seattle]

“FIFA could not provide a basic level of certainty on some major unknowns that put our city and taxpayers at risk,” Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s office said in a statement Wednesday. “The uncertainty for taxpayers, coupled with FIFA’s inflexibility and unwillingness to negotiate, were clear indications that further pursuit of the bid wasn’t in Chicago’s best interests.”

It’s a big loss for the bid to lose these cities, though. Vancouver, who’s BC Place seats 54,000, hosted group stage and knockout round games before hosting the final of the 2015 Women’s World Cup, which the U.S. won in thrilling fashion over Japan. And Chicago, which had previously pulled itself out for the U.S. World Cup bids in 2010 and 2018-2022, hosted the opening match of the 1994 World Cup at Soldier Field and was assumed from the start that the third-largest city in the U.S. by population would be a host city.

As of now, Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton have agreed to move forward with the United 2026 bid, which should be more than enough for the current 10 games Canada will host. Mexico has proposed games played at Estadio Azteca, as well as in Nuevo Leon and Guadalajara.

Meanwhile, the U.S. still has 21 other venues to pick from, including major NFL stadiums such as MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and the under-construction Los Angeles Stadium in Hollywood Park. FIFA has required the opening-match stadium and final stadium to seat 80,000+, while venues must seat a minimum of 40,000, which would force stadium’s like Toronto’s BMO Field to expand further.

NWSL Playoffs set: Portland, Washington, Chicago, Western New York

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The National Women’s Soccer League will crown its fourth champion in mid-October, and for the first time in three years the winner will not be FC Kansas City.

FCKC finished sixth after the 20-game regular season concluded this weekend, six points out of the final slot occupied by the Western New York Flash.

[ MORE: Allardyce on England hot seat? ]

The Flash join Chicago Red Stars and Washington Spirit in attempting to topple NWSL Shield winners Portland, a Thorns side which won the title in 2013 and has only missed the playoffs once.

Washington hosts Chicago on Friday in the first semifinal, while the Flash travel to Oregon for an Oct. 2 semi.

Portland Thorns (1) vs. Western New York Flash (4)

The two best goal differentials in the league meet at Providence Park, where Mark Parsons’ Thorns and their league-best defense will be tasked with stopping the highest-scoring offense in the NWSL. That means stopping Golden Boot winner Lynn Williams and runner-up Jessica McDonald, who’ve accounted for 21 of WNY’s 40 goals.

The Thorns are loaded. Women’s soccer legend Christine Sinclair, who once lifted a trophy for the Flash, is there with a quintet of USWNT mainstays. French star Amandine Henry, too, as well as leading goal scorer and Danish star Nadia Nadim.

USWNT regulars on each side
Portland: Tobin Heath, Meghan Klingenberg, Allie Long, Emily Sonnet, Lindsey Horan

WNY: Samantha Mewis

Washington Spirit (2) vs. Chicago Red Stars (3)

The two sides split the season series, with Chicago hosting a 3-1 victory on Saturday. Sofia Huerta had a goal and an assist, as she and Christen Press combined for nine shots. They’ve combined for 15 goals on the season, though the Red Stars have only found nine goals elsewhere.

No Washington player has scored more than five goals this year, and the Spirit haven’t had a multi-goal game in September, but Argentina national teamer Estefanía Banini’s five goals in 13 matches in an impressive haul.

USWNT regulars on each side
Washington: Ali Krieger, Crystal Dunn

Chicago: Alyssa Naeher, Julie Johnston, Christen Press