USL sides delivered the drama on Wednesday night and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup got five more quarterfinalists to join Atlanta United and Minnesota United.
Still to come Thursday, LAFC and San Jose will decide the eighth slot and a date with Portland Timbers.
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DC United 1-2 New York City FC
Wayne Rooney‘s 32nd minute goal gave the hosts a lead which would only last six minutes, as Alexandru Mitrita and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi made it 2-1 before halftime on the way to an away win at Audi Field.
Portland Timbers 4-0 LA Galaxy
Three goals in nine first half minutes helped spring Portland to an easy win over disinterested LA. Guillermo Barros Schelotto didn’t bring the majority of his first choice stars to Oregon, and the Timbers routed their Western Conference opposition to the tune of a 19-7 edge in shots.
Saint Louis FC 1-0 FC Cincinnati
They won’t be forgetting this any time soon; Saint Louis got a stoppage time goal from Sam Fink against their old USL rivals to book a place in the USOC quarterfinals.
Orlando City 2-1 New England Revolution
What began with stars on the bench and a 0-0 score line through 90 minutes really escalated quickly in extra time. Benji Michel and Tesho Akindele gave Orlando a 2-0 lead through 15 minutes of extra time, but Carles Gil set up Justin Rennecks early in the second frame to up the drama. Ultimately, Nani‘s men had enough despite New England’s 22 shots.
FC Dallas 1-2 New Mexico United
FC Dallas took the lead through U-20 World Cup star Brandon Servania, but Kevaughn Frater scored again, and ex-Colorado Rapids draft pick Sam Hamilton added the match winner.
Say what you will about Don Garber, but the Major League Soccer commissioner has the league in a spot where fancy new digs don’t automatically qualify a club for inclusion.
St. Louis has a soccer-loving fan base and a brand new club, Saint Louis FC, in the United Soccer League. It also could have a brand new downtown stadium soon.
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And if those things happen, they’ll be a “top contender” for MLS expansion… in a half-decade.
From the Associated Press:
Garber met Tuesday with Gov. Jay Nixon, mayor Francis Slay and leaders of the group seeking to build a new stadium downtown that would ensure a continued NFL presence. He also spoke at a fan forum at Cardinal Nation just outside Busch Stadium. He said stadium approval would be needed for the MLS to consider St. Louis.
Garber said he didn’t think it would be a problem assembling an ownership group in St. Louis. Expansion fees have skyrocketed in recent years.
His words likely carry more caution given the struggles since the big “Beckham/Miami” announcement last year, one that’s hit obstacle after stadium obstacle and has very little certainty. But to say St. Louis could get a club if it builds a stadium is a lot different than, “If you build it, we will come.”
And it seems soon the bigger league structure plans will need to at least be hinted at by Garber and company.
Could a Sporting KC/Saint Louis FC rivalry be fast-tracked via a St. Louis move to Major League Soccer?
Commissioner Don Garber is headed to meet with the who’s who of St. Louis government and soccer on Tuesday, May 19. He’ll meet with Missouri governor Jay Nixon, St. Louis mayor Francis Slay and Dave Peacock, “who co-leads the governor’s task force that is advancing plans for a new riverfront stadium in downtown St. Louis.”
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First-year club Saint Louis FC of the USL is the highest-ranking club in the area.
From a press release:
The day will conclude at 4 p.m. with a fan event at Ballpark Village, where soccer supporters will get to hear from Commissioner Garber, representatives from the Saint Louis Football Club and other local soccer figures. Fans are encouraged to come to Ballpark Village in their finest soccer colors to show their passion and support for soccer and MLS in St. Louis.
It wasn’t long ago that St. Louis was considered “a long shot”. This certainly qualifies as a good chance for a “long shot” to decrease their odds dramatically.
So… what’s the plan for an MLS with more than 24 teams?