The passing of our national elections means that exhausted members of the national press are trying to keep their jobs while doing as little as possible, mailing in articles from beaches in Cabo San Lucas or the secret basement juke joint still hiding beneath the National Press Club. In either case, the quality of liquor consumed is questionable. This news vacuum also means that sports journalists examining the MLS expansion fight are finding their articles on the front page, above the fold and with pictures, not buried on the 12th page of the Sports Supplement next to ads for PeeWee Hockey skates.
I awoke last friday morning to a barrage of emails from friends and well-wishers about MLS2PDX coverage from The New York Times. The News just kept pouring in, so here's a run down of local and national coverage of MLS expansion, plus the announcements of two new soccer teams coming to Portland, after the jump.
Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson was staring into the middle distance in last Friday's New York Times, in a lively story about Paulson's negotiations with the City of Portland. My favorite was this part:
To make his plan work, Paulson wants an $85 million package of city and state financing to renovate PGE Park, where the Beavers and Timbers now play, into a 23,000-seat soccer-only stadium, and to build a Beavers ballpark at a separate location.
"This is not a negotiation," Paulson said. "The $85 million is it."
Sam Adams, a city commissioner who will become the mayor on Jan. 1, chuckled.
"I guess that's the opening salvo of the negotiations," he said by telephone.
The Timbers U-23s will be an amateur team comprised of standout players from collegiate and youth levels around the Northwest. The new Timbers U-23s team will serve as a development program for the Timbers first team, which competes in the USL First Division.
Players have the ability to compete in the PDL throughout the summer months in a professional setting while maintaining their collegiate eligibility.
I can't wait to watch the Lil Saplings grow up to be Timbers. That's right bitches, that nickname is full of WIN!
The second new team starting in Portland is the Portland Rain. Last seen in 2003 as part of the Pacific Coast Soccer League, the Rain are resurrecting themselves in the Womens' Premier Soccer League, not to be confused with the new Women's Professional Soccer, that launched this past summer. They're advertising for interns on craigslist, and their website is online. They plan to play their games at PGE Park, but so far there is no indication that the WPSL team is linked to the PTFC.
Miami's Marcelo Claure, the billionaire Bolivian businessman who lured FC Barcelona into backing an MLS franchise in Miami, got a hug from the Miami Herald,. FC Barcelona's involvement in the bid has one ESPN columnist seeing stars. One thing that may count against the Miami bid is Marcelo Claure's close relationship with Evo Morales, the populist/socialist president of Bolivia, because the MLS ownership group is headed by Phil Anschutz, who might stand a little to the left of Attila the Hun (or Ted Nugent).
Vancouver'sbid went from 4th or 5th in contention to top of the list thanks to a new stadium plan that is, frankly, badass.
The upper deck draping looks to seamlessly limit the capacity of the stadium to approximately 22,000 seats from BC Place's maximum of 59,000.
Their fans are nearly adorably nerdy, unlike the scum from Seattle:
up next: The 107 Report MLS2PDX roundtable Podcast. Part 1 should be available from The 107 Report website tonight; I'll post about it here when Part 2 and Obi's interview with Merritt Paulson is online.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!