The United States continued its qualifying campaign in Nashville Tennessee with a match against Trinidad & Tobago. ESPN2 televised the game in prime time on the East Coast and added a 30 minute pre-game show with Stone and Lalas (and an over-hyped cameo from Barack Obama). There was a wide range of national advertisers for the game including Castrol, Cooper Tires, Dunkin Donuts, Irish Spring, AT&T Bud and Heineken. Captain Morgan, so present during the El Salvador game, was not featured. ESPN2 also added Pedro Gomez as a sideline reporter which enabled a halftime interview with Bob Bradley. Disappointingly, attendance was announced at just under 30k
SBI is reporting the formation of a USL-1 side in New York for 2010. The team will play at Hofstra’s 13,000 seat football stadium. The ownership group is fronted by Doug Petersen and Jo-Ellen Treiber, longtime residents of the area. In addition ot Hofstra, the team expects to play at additional locations in the New York City area. However, Petersen has indicated an intent to construct a soccer specific stadium in Queens.
The addition of a New York franchise is important for a USL that has been losing teams to MLS at an alarming rate. Three of the most successful franchises: Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, are slated to join MLS by 2011. However, this may also crush dreams of a second MLS franchise in New York. There had long been rumors of interest by New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon; a USL franchise in Queens would certainly seem to preclude such an option.
In Portland, the Oregonian provided some detailed reporting on the newly granted Portland franchise. Specifically, the article focuses on the apparent funding gap between Merritt Paulson’s proposal and the available funds. According to the article, there is more than a $28 million funding gap to fill if the City is able to sell more than $35 million in bonds in a tough market (if not, the gap is much larger). MLS has cast its lot in Portland and now must make it work. The announcement of a Portland/Manchester United relationship could add some funds to the deal, but it is important for the League and ownership group must make this work.