Archive for the ‘MLS’ Category

David Beckham’s tortuous quest to find a home for his Inter Miami Major League Soccer franchise received a boost on Friday after a Florida judge approved plans to build a new stadium in neighbouring Fort Lauderdale.

The former England captain’s ownership group was forced to go before a court in South Florida on Wednesday to obtain permission to demolish the crumbling Lockhart Stadium.

The stadium, home of the now-defunct Fort Lauderdale Strikers, is around 25 miles north of Miami. Beckham’s group plans to build a new 18,000-seat arena at the site in time for Inter Miami’s MLS debut in 2020.

Work on the new venue will begin immediately in the wake of Friday’s court ruling, which followed a legal battle with sports entertainment company FXE Futbol, which had sought an injunction against Beckham’s project.

FXE had been in talks with city officials for over a year about renovating rather than demolishing Lockhart Stadium before Beckham’s group swooped for the site.

But Judge Raag Singhal ruled Friday there were no grounds to block the Beckham group’s $60 million project.

Inter Miami plan to use Lockhart for two seasons following their entrance into MLS next year, while a planned $1 billion permanent home at Melreese Country Club near Miami airport is completed.

But FXE had been sharply critical of what they called a “rushed” decision over the proposals.

FXE accused city officials of failing to adhere to state guidelines while questioning Inter Miami’s claims that the site needed to be demolished because of an asbestos problem.

Friday’s ruling is the latest development in the Beckham MLS saga which has been embroiled in legal gridlock in the five years since his intention to own a franchise became official.

Lockhart is the sixth proposed site and despite the plans looking impressive, some fans are angry that the new team will be forced outside of Miami.

The future of Inter Miami’s planned permanent home at Melreese Country Club, meanwhile, remains shrouded in political uncertainty and doubts ahead of a crucial November vote by Miami commissioners.

Former star France striker Thierry Henry will not be rejoining the New York Red Bulls, the Major League Soccer club’s sporting director said in a statement Monday.

Denis Hamlett dismissed multiple reports linking the former Red Bulls standout and AS Monaco coach to a head coaching job with the Red Bulls, who are off to a slow MLS start this season under Chris Armas.

“Recent reports of Thierry Henry joining the New York Red Bulls are false,” Hamlett said in a statement on the MLS website.

Henry, 41, was dropped as coach at AS Monaco in January with the club 19th in the French league standings, having gone 4-11 with five drawn under the former France national team standout.

Henry scored 51 goals in 122 appearances for the Red Bulls in the later days of a playing career that saw him take the field for Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal and Barcelona as well as help France to a 1998 World Cup title.

The Red Bulls are 1-4 with two drawn this season under Armas, who last season guided New York to a league-best record of 22-7 with five drawn.

Major League Soccer announced plans to expand to 30 teams following Thursday’s Board of Governors meetings in Los Angeles.

MLS is currently comprised of 24 teams but will increase to 27 by 2021 when Miami CF (2020), Nashville SC (2020) and Austin FC (2021) officially join the league.

Expansion fees for the next two clubs have been set at $200 million, but a fee for a 30th team to join MLS has yet to be decided.

“Professional soccer at all levels is thriving in the United States and Canada,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “And we believe there are many markets that could support a successful MLS club.

“Expansion during the last 15 years has been enormously successful and a key driver behind the league’s continued rise, and we are pleased that some of the top business and community leaders representing great markets in North America are aggressively pursuing MLS expansion clubs.”

Although a final decision over future expansion markets has yet to be made, ownership groups representing Sacramento, Calif., and St. Louis will be asked to make formal presentations to the MLS Expansion Committee regarding the details of their respective bids.

Those details will include “final stadium plan(s), corporate commitments, the composition of the respective ownership groups, detailed economics on funding, strategic plans for fan development, commitments on player development, and details on community programs.”

Successful expansion bids for the league’s two newest teams will be announced in the coming months. A date for the announcement of the 30th team has yet to be determined.

The Chicago Fire are considering revising the team name and moving back downtown to Soldier Field, sources told ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle.

Local attorney James Vlahakis claims there are plans afoot for the Eastern Conference side to drop Fire from its moniker and rebrand as Chicago City Football Club. One source told ESPN FC that no such decision has been made.

As for SeatGeek Stadium – formerly Toyota Park – the expected mass redevelopment of the area since the Fire took residence in 2006 hasn’t occurred, so the site has been a huge financial drain for the venue owner, the Village of Bridgeview. The ground’s location 15 miles southwest of downtown Chicago has also struggled to draw fans.

The Fire played at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, between 1998-2001 and 2003-2005. A move to the 61,500-seat stadium would place the Major League Soccer franchise in an easier-to-access location and hopefully make the club more relevant in a city with two MLB teams and one each in the NFL, NHL, and NBA.

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Former England star Wayne Rooney scored three goals on Saturday night to lead D.C. United to a crushing 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake.

Rooney registered his first three goals of the new season and also his first hat trick since signing on with Major League Soccer in July 2018. He now has five multi-goal games.

Lucas Rodriguez and Ulises Segura also scored for host D.C. United, who peppered the Salt Lake goal with 22 shots.

Goalkeeper Bill Hamid made two stops to earn his third straight shutout as D.C. United is the lone team to have not allowed a goal this season.

Rooney scored on a penalty kick in the 34th minute and then added another with a chip shot over the goalkeeper in the 41st minute. He completed the hat trick with a perfectly-timed sliding score at the 65th minute of the second half.

Elsewhere, Uruguay international Nicolas Lodeiro set up one goal and scored an audacious penalty as the Seattle Sounders maintained their 100 percent start to the season with a 4-2 victory at Chicago Fire.

The Sounders made it three wins out of three after taking control of the game with two unanswered goals in the opening 15 minutes at Chicago’s SeatGeek Stadium.

Spanish winger Victor Rodriguez fired Seattle into the lead after eight minutes, tucking away a low finish at the far post after good work down the right by Jordan Morris.

Lodeiro then created Seattle’s second, splitting open Chicago’s defence with a sublime pass to Morris.

The US international striker still had plenty to do, but adjusted his body position brilliantly to steer a finish beyond Chicago goalkeeper David Ousted to make it 2-0.

Seattle extended their lead early in the second half when Rodriguez was bundled over in the area on 49 minutes, allowing Lodeiro to step up and chip a Panenka penalty in off the underside of the bar.

Chicago hit back with goals from Raheem Edwards and Fabian Herbers but Raul Ruidiaz’s late goal made the game safe for Seattle, who now lead the Western Conference standings with a maximum of nine points.

Minnesota, who have also taken maximum points from their opening two games, can draw level later Saturday with a win over the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Los Angeles FC, the only other team to make a perfect start to the season, face New York City FC on Sunday.

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MLS commissioner Don Garber on Sunday refuted reports of the presence of white nationalists and far-right extremists at New York City FC matches.

Garber answered questions during halftime of D.C. United’s tilt against Atlanta United about a report by freelancer Robert Silverman in the Huffington Post alleging the routine attendance of fans affiliated with far-right groups at NYCFC home matches.

“We have strong relationships through our clubs with our supporters, and the issue that I read about in the Huffington Post is not behavior that’s taking place in our stadiums,” Garber told Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s the view that some fans have about other fans. And our job is not to judge and profile any fan. It is to manage how our fans are both interacting with each other, and how they’re behaving at our stadiums.

“So, at this point, that’s how we’re going to address the situation. The last thing this league is going to do is start getting into profiling who people are and what their backgrounds are. That is a slippery slope that is not something that we’re going to engage in,” Garber added.

The Huffington Post reported earlier this week that several NYCFC fans have reached out to members of the club’s front office expressing concern about the presence of white nationalist supporters at home matches. According to emails obtained by the Huffington Post, the team admitted in 2015 it was aware of the issue.

According to the report, NYCFC supporter Irvin “Irv” Antillon is among a group of fans connected to far-right and white nationalist organizations. Antillion was present in Charlottesville, Va., for the Unite the Right rally and was a member of the militant wing of chauvinist group Proud Boys.

Antillon was charged with four counts of assault and riot in the second degree following an Oct. 12 melee, during which Proud Boys members attacked protesters outside the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City.

“I can assure you that if anybody is misbehaving, regardless of what their backgrounds are, and regardless of what their political affiliations are, there will be a zero tolerance policy that we will continue to enforce,” Garber added.

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Jozy Altidore committed to Toronto for another three years by signing a contract extension with TFC on Thursday, the team announced.

Altidore will continue as one of Toronto FC’s three Designated Players.

His previous deal ran until December.

“This is my family, this club and this city,” the 29-year-old said in a statement. “The fans, from the first day, they accepted me, they gave me the right to show what I’m all about, and they took me in. We’ve built something great together and I’m really eager to see what’s to come.”

Altidore conceded in January that his time in Toronto could be coming to an end but repeatedly emphasized his intention to remain with the Reds.

The United States international, who arrived from Sunderland in 2015 for disgruntled striker Jermain Defoe, propelled Toronto to an unprecedented treble in 2017, scoring the winning goal in the MLS Cup final against the Seattle Sounders.

Toronto FC supporters recently said goodbye to beloved playmaker Sebastian Giovincoafter a breakdown in talks between the club and player. Victor Vasquez, who set up several of Altidore’s goals, also left Toronto for Al-Arabi in the offseason.

“While it is important to make changes to your roster in different moments, continuity is also a critical component to successful organizations,” general manager Ali Curtis said. “Jozy is an excellent player and he is capable of playing an enormous role in leading our club to success.”

Altidore has registered 60 goals and 20 assists in 114 appearances with TFC.