On Christmas day, the Democrat and Chronicle had an article on additional funding for Phase II of PAETEC Park and the Rhinos plans to finish the press box and luxury suites, build a commisary to help improve the quality of concessions, a new video production studio, a stage to allow PAETEC Park to host concerts, and other upgrades.

Now we are less than one month from the May 4th home opener versus the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Rhinos are still waiting for the funds to be released by New York State.

Rhinos Executive Vice President Matthew Ford e-mailed me this update: "Progress has been slow but we are somwhat optimistic as to making some moves soon. While we await the necessary state money to start the below projects, we are doing as much due dilligence and planning behind the scenes so that we are not held up when the moeny arrives. Soon we'll have accurate timelines as to the start and finish dates of the projects in question and I'll be happy to share them at that time."

I doubt that was the news that Rhino fans were hoping for. But, it unfortunately seems to be par for the course given all of the delays over the years when it comes to state and local government living up to their promises with regards to PAETEC Park.

RailHawks struggling in the preseason


The Carolina RailHawks dropped a 3-1 preseason match up with the Charlotte Eagles of the USL 2nd Division last evening. It's the third straight preseason loss for the expansion club led by Chris Economides and head coach Scott Schweitzer. Given the track records of Economides and Schweitzer here in Rochester and the players that the RailHawks have added this offseason, it is a bit of a surprise to see the team struggling like this early on. Although, it is only the preseason.

Former Rhino forward Connally Edozien did score the lone RailHawks goal last night.

Another European to LA rumor


Another day, another rumor of a European player heading to LA to play with David Beckham. This time it's Middlesbrough midfielder Gaizka Mendieta. I wonder what the odds are of any of these rumors coming true?

I also like how Thiago was less than thrilled that the Chicago Fire gave his #10 shirt to Blanco. All it took was Blanco's introductory press conference for there to be some locker room discord!

Kevin McGeehan on MLS' Game First Initiatives

US Soccer Players.com

Kevin's game. It will be interesting to see how many fans are game as well. With six games this weekend, I'm interested in seeing what the general response is from the media and fans with regards to the changes. I know I'm looking forward to Claudio Reyna's Red Bull debut on HDNet.

Stadium buzz in Houston starting up

Fort Bend Now.com

Apparently Sugar Land, Texas, a suburb of Houston, is looking at potentially trying to lure the Dynamo to town. The 2006 MLS Cup Champs need their own stadium to be viable long term and the buzz is already starting after they had a solid showing in their first season since relocating from San Jose.

It's going to be interesting to see who gets a new stadium first: the Dynamo or the resurrected San Jose Earthquakes.

Toronto FC in the news

Toronto FC was dealt some bad news when midfielder Ronnie O'Brien injured his knee and will be out 4 to 6 weeks. O'Brien was the engine of the Toronto attack in the preseason and will be sorely missed.

Alecko Eskandarian also has a blog going on TorontoFC.com. I've seen better, but Esky was one of my favorite DC United players, so I have to give him the plug.

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 news@soccersam.com. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.