SBD/October 24, 2013/Franchises

MLS Franchise Notes: Orlando Joining League With Well-Established Roots

In DC, Steven Goff wrote Orlando’s bid to join MLS will “pass inspection” because it would allow the league “to expand its footprint between Washington and Key West.” Since clubs in Tampa and Miami “sunk more than a decade ago,” the league has a “large swath of the U.S. map untouched by a national league.” Goff also noted “cities with few other pro sports teams tend to back a newbie, regardless of the sport.” Portland, Salt Lake City, K.C., Montreal and Vancouver have all shown this “civic pride.” Orlando also is “not starting from scratch: Orlando City, a third-division club since 2010, will step into MLS with a solid fan base, brand recognition and a cool logo” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/23). FS1's Trevor Pryce said, "Orlando has one pro sports team -- we have the Magic, that’s it. So there’s room for another team, and this is a growing game" ("Crowd Goes Wild," FS1, 10/23). 

SEATTLE'S BEST: MLS Sounders GM & minority Owner Adrian Hanauer said of the team setting another attendance record at CenturyLink Field this season, "Can we keep it going indefinitely? I have my doubts. Can we keep it going for one more year? Two more years? Three more years? ... Our fans have been amazing. It’s been sort of humbling and just made me really proud to be part of this community to see the support that the team gets, see the support the players and coaches get in good times and in bad" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 10/22).

TIMBER, HO! In Portland, Jamie Goldberg noted the MLS Timbers, currently in second place in the Western Conference, "sit in the middle" of the league in terms of payroll, ranked 10th among 19 teams. The team after a "disappointing" '12 season parted ways with designated player F Kris Boyd, who was making $1.5M, and "did not look to replace him with another highly paid and recognizable designated player." Of the nine players in MLS this season making over $1M, seven "play for teams that currently sit above the red line in the playoff race." The '13 Timbers "haven't shelled out millions for a single player." Coach Caleb Porter said that they have "been efficient in bringing in the right players to fit their system" instead (OREGONLIVE.com, 10/22).
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