Let me say that this is a bad moment for everyone involved down in South Florida. I understand what my colleague Kartik Krishnayier is going thru. Granted that I never supported the Miami Fusion back in those days, but when you’ve had your heart ripped out like that when your favorite player was traded, or your club had the plug pulled out, it’s not a fun thing.
Sure there are many people who have said that the city & area of Miami didn’t deserve a second shot at it, but to be honest I think Miami was deserving of a second chance. It’s not so much you have ex-pats of South America, Cubans and others living down there that enjoy the sport, there are ex-eastern Europeans that also wanted to see a division one club side from MLS as well.
My Grandparents and their friends along with some of my parents friends that are originally from Romania & Hungary immigrated to the USA and lived in the New York City area before moving down to South Florida for retirement were hopeful to see a Miami-Barcelona pairing to join the league. But of course the economy was the number one thing that probably killed the deal.
But let’s be honest with ourselves for the moment. If Miami did get a second bite of the orange (Yes I know that Florida is considered the Sunshine State), it would mean that all four corners of the country would be tapped in for MLS. As far northwest as Seattle, to the northeast as New England. Southwest as Los Angeles and what could’ve been southeast in Miami. But as of right now the last hope for Miami in this current situation is USL-1st Division side Miami FC. The heartbeat is fading fast as Traffic Sports who owns the club is ready to pull the plug if their 5,000 Season Ticket subscription quota isn’t met by this coming Sunday, March 8th.
So who is left from the current expansion bids to 2011. Vancouver, British Colombia & Ottawa, Ontario in Canada along with Portland, Oregon & St. Louis, Missouri. At the moment it sounds like the bid from Vancouver is a strong one as a front runner. The ownership group involving Phoenix Suns Steve Nash and the owner of the Whitecaps are planning to refurbish B.C. Place which is an indoor stadium, but seeing some of the plans on the Whitecaps website, they are planning to create a new roof that retracts out of a hanging scoreboard. It will cover the field and stands like one of the stadiums in Germany.
Recently you have heard about the public march by Portland Timbers supporters that wants to see their club get promoted to MLS by the Paulson family. The family that owns the Minor League Baseball team in the Portland Beavers which is the Triple A affiliate of the San Diego Padres and the Timbers would create a brand new ballpark for the Beavers and refurbish PGE Park into a soccer stadium & that means pulling out the carpet and putting in a brand new natural grass field.
For the Ottawa bid the owner of the Ottawa Senators Eugene Melnyk is planing to construct a big stadium either in the city or near his Scotiabank Place Arena. Of course this will help Toronto FC have a Provincial rivalry or a country rival in Vancouver. Or the St. Louis bid which we haven’t heard from recently except that St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is joining the ownership group.
Who will be the two sides excepted for 2011 expansion into Major League Soccer is a big question, but whoever it is I think they will be strong candidates to help MLS move on. But going back to Miami for another chance & they say the third time is the charm, I personally wouldn’t mind it. If FC Barcelona and Marcelo Clarie joins forces to bring themselves back to the table, then by all means go for it. Sure the Football/Soccer supporter is fickle, but hopefully after the C.B.A. is fixed after 2009 all these silly rules of acquiring players will end and we can be as free flowing on purchasing players just like the rest of the world. I’m rooting for Miami to return whenever they are ready.