The city of Orlando announced today that it’s dropping an eminent domain lawsuit against Faith Deliverance Temple and moving the proposed site Orlando City’s new stadium a block to the west.
Even though the change will force the city to spend about $4 million on storm drain improvements and the relocation of a firehouse, the stadium is still expected to be completed by the start of the 2016 MLS season. The team will continue to play at the Citrus Bowl during 2015.
This week Major League Soccer officially introduced Atlanta as the 23rd member of the league, with the Arthur Blank owned team debuting in 2017. They will share a brand new stadium with his NFL Falcons – with the league dropping the requirement for a soccer-specific facility in exchange for an eager and well-heeled owner.
With Orlando City joining play in 2015, this move, together with David Beckham’s Miami franchise solidifies the league’s move into the southeastern USA. It also means that realignment is inevitable, as the addition of New York City in 2015 loads the Eastern Conference with new teams.
It’s a no-brainer that Houston and Kansas City will be moved to the Western Conference, but it also plays well geographically for the groups in Sacramento and San Antonio vying for the final 24th spot in the league.
By 2018 Major League Soccer may look more like this:
D.C. United Miami
New England Revolution
New York City FC
New York Red Bulls
Houston Dynamo (from the Eastern Conference)
Sporting Kansas City (from the Eastern Conference)
Los Angeles SC (formerly Chivas USA)
Real Salt Lake
Sacramento Republic (or San Antonio, or Minnesota)
San Jose Earthquakes
So with expansion to twenty-four teams finally complete, perhaps Don Garber will then turn his attention to building USL-Pro into a true “MLS Second Division” with relegation and promotion between them. Then – and perhaps, only then – will the rest of the world regard the MLS as a “real” soccer league, something I think Garber already knows.
Our soon to be local soccer team, Sacramento Republic FC, today announced two separate one-year affiliate agreements with the Portland Timbers and the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer (MLS).
The Timbers and Earthquakes annually will each loan a minimum of two players to Republic FC for the entire USL PRO season plus Timbers Academy and Timbers U-23s assistant, Ron Underwood, will serve as an assistant coach.
“We are excited to partner with the Timbers and Earthquakes in an effort to develop talent on the field, emulate each club’s business success and to entertain our fans with the high quality talent from each club,” said Warren Smith, president of Sacramento Republic FC. “Our organization is twice blessed with the ability to learn from not one, but two MLS clubs, their experienced operating teams and engaged, passionate supporters. Each affiliate agreement provides an important part of our efforts to provide Sacramento Republic FC, as well as the entire Sacramento region, one of the most talented USL PRO clubs in the league and a MLS vision for our community.”
The next major step for the team is the January 31st meeting of the Cal Expo board of directors where they will discuss plans for the 8,000 seat temporary stadium to be built in the southwest of the property.
“We still think we will break ground in late February,” Smith said. “We can build it in 60 days but that doesn’t allow for any delays at all.”
Should the facility not be ready for the start of the season, the team is expected to play at Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College.