March 25, 2009
With Seattle making it's MLS debut and both Vancouver and Portland landing 2011 MLS expansion teams last week, some Rhinos fans are wondering what is the future of the USL 1st Division and the Rhinos?
Over the past year or so, I've heard talk off an MLS 2nd Division should FIFA demand a promotion/relegation system in the US, a Canadian Pro Soccer League, and also whispers of a breakaway league that would have been formed by a variety of USL 1st Division clubs.
But, as of today, none of those have come to pass for a variety of reasons, not the least of which has been Vancouver and Portland getting into MLS.
For the fans that want to focus on MLS2, I would say that you have to wait and see what MLS does with this idea. Once MLS has concrete plans in place and sets the bar for what they want in MLS2 markets and they set the franchise fee, then there will be a solid framework for discussion on what the Rhinos should do.
Personally, I will be disappointed if the Rhinos are not playing in the best league possible. I do not believe that MLS is realistic for the Rochester market today because Rochester doesn't have the deep pocketed owner, nor a plan that would provide for an MLS quality stadium.
I'm sorry, but I don't see Rhinos Stadium as an MLS quality venue. It is a solid USL and potentially an MLS2 venue. But, I believe both the location and the current seating capacity and number of suites that look to be built this year won't generate enough revenue to support an MLS club that would need to pay a $40 million plus expansion fee.
Add in questions about the corporate base in the Rochester area being able to financially support a "Major League" franchise in this economic climate, and I wouldn't expect MLS to come calling anytime soon.
What Rochester soccer would need would be a benefactor that is willing to put up $50+ million because he loves Rochester and soccer and is looking at a venture like as a business move second and a civic pride thing first.
I just don't believe that person exists today.
News & Notes:
- Is it me, or does Don Garber not sound like a guy that wants to take on the MLS2 question right now?
- In case you missed it, the Rhinos have a Twitter account.
Nothing more needs to be said.
- Both Brandi Chastain and Tiffeny Milbrett have earned roster spots with FC Gold Pride of WPS.
- Chelsea, AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Club America are going to be playing some games in the US this summer.
- Pat Onstad sounds like he hopes they get a new home soon!
- Jeff Cooper's bid to get an MLS team to St. Louis apparently needs more deep pockets.
- I wonder what MLS will do if Portland's stadium deal falls apart?
- TIAS.com has a nice piece on Portland getting the team, though.
- SBI.net's Monday Morning Center Back focuses on MLS in the Pacific Northwest.
- Portland's mayor is already laying down the gauntlet.
- 2009 may be Mr. White's final season with the Fire.
- Charleston has inked veteran defender Matt Bobo and Japanese midfielder Tsuyoshi Yoshitake.
- Clint Dempsey talks about Fulham's upset of Manchester United from over the weekend.
-It looks like Ljungberg might make his Seattle debut this week.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them