Apologies for the lack of post yesterday, I was travelling back from Orlando and didn’t get access to my computer. It makes sense to start with Orlando, which is now a center of MLS activity. We have previously reported on the upcoming meeting between Comissioner Garber and supporters of an Orlando franchise and on the Disney Pro Soccer Classic currently ongoing at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. On the positive side, the resort television channel focused on ESPN’s Wide World of Sports offered regular promotion of the Pro Soccer classic as part of its loop. The repeat coverage included a schedule of the event and noted that the final and consolation games would be available on ESPN3. Unfortunately, there was little additional evidence of the event that I saw. At Downtown Disney, there is a retail establishment dedicated to sports and includes team and league gear from a number of sports. Nowhere in that large shopping area was there any evidence of the Pro Soccer Classic or MLS merchandise.
Kudos to the Portland Timbers for managing to draw more than 16k to a preseason game. That number bodes well for the expanded capacity of Jeld-Wen Field for the entire 2012 campaign. Individual game tickets are on sale in Portland now and there is every reason to expect that the Timbers will pack the rafters for the entire year.
Finally, ESPN2 and ESPN3 will broadcast the USA v. Italy match on Wednesday afternoon. The game will feature the return of Ian Darke to the microphone as ESPN’s voice for the US National Team. Darke is a consummate pro and lends gravitas and skill to the play by play. Soccer fans will have the opportunity to listen to both Darke and his NBC counterpart, Arlo White bring British sounds to American soccer.