Wednesday Kickoff: MLS looks into Baltimore, Cassano needs surgery & more

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Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com

As D.C. United continues its quest to find a new stadium location, MLS continues its exploration into whether Baltimore is a viable market for league expansion.

The league sent out a survey to fans in the Baltimore area in an effort to gauge interest in an MLS franchise in the city. Almost a year ago, the Maryland Stadium Authority completed a viability study to determine the benefits of potentially building a soccer-specific stadium in the Westport area of the city, where a prospective MLS franchise would ultimately play.

An interesting note from the survey is that not all of the questions pointed to D.C. United as the only potential club to play in Baltimore. One of the questions asked if a fan could choose to have a club relocate to Baltimore which team would it be, listing Columbus, FC Dallas, D.C., Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls or No Preference as the options. 

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:

CASSANO NEEDS HEART SURGERY

AC Milan's Antonio Cassano will reportedly undergo minor heart surgery after having stroke-like symptoms on the team's flight following a weekend match at AS Roma.

Milan released a statement saying that Cassano should be able to return to action in a few months and that he did not suffer any permanent brain damage during the incident.

REDKNAPP TO MISS EUROPA MATCH FOR SURGERY 

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp also needs to undergo a minor heart procedure to clear a blocked artery.

Redknapp, 64, will miss Spurs' Europa League match at Rubin Kazan on Thursday, and the club is expected to announce when he will return to the sidelines at some point on Wednesday. Assistants Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond will assume Redknapp's duties while he is in the hospital.

SHARP SCORES WITH HEAVY HEART

One of the more touching stories to emanate from soccer this year took place on Tuesday, when Doncaster Rovers' Billy Sharp scored a goal just days after his two-day-old baby son passed away.

After scoring in the first half of Doncaster's 3-1 loss to Middlesbrough, Sharp lifted his jersey, revealing a shirt with "That's for you, son" printed on the front. He was not cautioned for the act, like others normally would be for celebrating in a similar way.  

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What do you make of the Baltimore survey? Could you see Baltimore housing an expansion team while United remained in D.C.? Do you think D.C. United will ultimately relocate? What do you make of the Cassano and Redknapp heart scares? What do you think of the Sharp story?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, MLS- D.C. United, MLS- Expansion. Bookmark the permalink.

93 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: MLS looks into Baltimore, Cassano needs surgery & more

  1. Doug says:

    Dingbats, Sharp didn’t raise his shirt over his head, so he couldn’t be cautioned. Learn the rule.

  2. ChadPfister says:

    Having just been at RFK for the Sporting KC game. I can see why so many people want out of RFK. At some point soccer-specific stadiums, or at least stadiums designed with soccer in mind, are going to be a necessity for teams to be successful.

  3. A wise man once says:

    Wait, why would Philly relocate? They have a pretty good fanbase.

  4. Black Tide says:

    they are not it was just a way to have it not obviously point at DC.

  5. Sob chris says:

    Philly won’t relocate, having just built a soccer specific stadium that boasts capacity or near-capacity attendance for every game. They were likely included on the list because of geographical proximity. The really odd inclusion on that list for me is FC Dallas. Can someone speak to the situation there?

  6. NATO says:

    The 20th MLS team should be Atlanta. There must be a team in the Southeast. If not them, then St. Louis or Charlotte.

  7. Sweet Symphony says:

    The survey strikes me as simple a sleight of hand distraction for the league to gauge interest for DC United.

    I’d hate to see their fan base lose the club and hope ownership/local government steps up…

    Additionally, I wouldn’t mind seeing FCD move. If their ownership group isn’t willing to relocate to a downtown area, that club will continue to draw extremely poorly in Frisco.

  8. Dougisadouche says:

    And who cares…the guys son died two days earlier. Who cares if your right or not. Everyone shoudl aplaud you for being right and making sure we all know your right. You sir are a turd….a big fat turd.

  9. Pat says:

    The inclusion of Philly and NY in that poll asking who would fans like to see relocate is weird. Why would either team relocate to Baltimore? Then again, with all the bizarre decisions Red Bull makes, it wouldn’t necessarily be shocking.

  10. Pat says:

    There fanbase is pretty awful for a major metro area with a good team

  11. A wise man once says:

    FC Dallas haven’t been able to draw much attendance lately.

  12. NE Matt says:

    +1 Atlanta is a no brainer

  13. Tim F. says:

    If Alexandria, VA won’t take DC United, move the club to Baltimore / Westport

  14. Siberian says:

    I really hope to see the team stay in DC, but DC real estate is a problem.

  15. Dan MacAvoy says:

    Pretty sure both Columbus and DC are on the relocation list. When the ownership of the Crew themselves have been in the press throwing up their hands and saying “We can’t seem to make this work,” you have to assume they’re looking elsewhere. My thought would be that the NY franchise could either be a relocated team, or that you award to 20th team to NY, and then relocate the Crew to the next viable market.

  16. mw says:

    Pretty sure that question was a hypothetical.

  17. Poo says:

    going to be tough to walk away from a stadium that is only 5 years old. Maybe they can rent it for HS football games to re-coup the $ and still move.

  18. Poo says:

    Why cant the RFK owners build a 30K seater right next to RFK, and then knock down RFK. Is there room for this on the site? Maybe if DCU could partner with them they would be interested.

  19. Sweet Symphony says:

    Rent it to “more” highschool football games. I believe they already share the facility with one or two football teams.

    All the more reason I’d support a move.

  20. Topher says:

    We’ll gladly take the Crew in Atlanta.

  21. beachbum says:

    one thing they could change in Dallas if they are going to play soccer during the summer, they need to schedule ONLY night games. Wasn’t it over 100 degrees for 60 something days in a row down there? No way I would pay to see anything in that afternoon sun.

  22. Tim says:

    Got the survey and chose Dallas. Pretty interesting either way.

  23. chris says:

    move the crew to atlanta, chivas to san diego and 20th team in miami would be prime

  24. Annelid Gustator says:

    Displaying writing is also supposed to be a caution.

  25. mistadobolina says:

    the whole DC situation is so sad.. they have a stadium that they can’t upgrade/land to build on because the federal gov’t can’t find the time to approve a plan…so they are going to move one of the most legit MLS clubs to Baltimore! so many things wrong with that…

    tell Baltimore and Atlanta and who ever else to start a NASL team first (or get there’s running) before asking for a top flight team. and the whole RFK stadium ownership thing..i got nothing hopefully this never happens again.

  26. hogatroge says:

    The management of FC Dallas is a bunch of cheapskates and built Pizza Hut Park 27 miles from downtown Dallas. As such, their attendance is pretty awful for any games not held on Saturdays.

  27. hogatroge says:

    I agree with Atlanta if a team is built from scrath, but don’t the RailHawks have a pretty big fanbase and a soccer-specific stadium? Cary and Raleigh are only ~10 miles apart.

  28. hogatroge says:

    *scratch

    Well, apparently the RailHawks only average ~3000 in attendance and their stadium only seats 10,000.

    The only problem with Atlanta is that everyone lives in the distant suburbs.

  29. DanO says:

    I believe that documentary has been in the works for awhile. It has not been released because the filmmakers can’t get enough $$$ to buy the rights for game footage (from the broadcasters, EPL, and FIFA). They were trying an online campaign to raise the money, but missed a deadline. I heard a rumor it might be released anyway with grainy game footage from youtube, but have no idea how far that went. Anyone else have any input?

  30. don says:

    The only possibility is moving DC United, but the league included a cagey question about which team would you like to see moved–maybe to lessen the reaction from DCU fans or maybe to put the owners of FCD and Columbus on notice.

  31. JW says:

    To be fair, the Blast average over 5,000/gm (at least according to Wikipedia), not bad for indoor soccer. I really enjoyed those games as a kid, wish I could go back and see one soon, but I’ve moved away. Hope I have that statistic right, but correct me if I haven’t.

  32. Doug says:

    No, it’s not. Displaying writing is only a caution if the content is unsporting or offensive.

    I’m not making this up:

    link to fifa.com…t_en_47379.pdf

    Slides 50-54.

  33. Doug says:

    At least you can spell “turd” right. Well done sir, you have proven to everybody you have no concept of grammar or how to spell. But hey, you got your point across, so bully for that.

  34. Mikemike says:

    +1. They are basically asking if possible baltimore fans have negative feelings towards DC united. I wouldn’t look into the selections than that.

  35. MensreaJim says:

    Most of those teams would never move. It’s just a survey.

    In addition to Philly, Dallas makes money in a newer stadium–they aren’t going to leave just because it looks bad on TV, and NY has an extremely expensive brand-new stadium and is obviously not going anywhere.

  36. Matt says:

    The original comment has been deleted so I don’t know for sure you’re referencing the Jay Demerit documentary, but if you are, rest assured they got the money they needed, and are releasing in several theaters around the country (as well as a DVD you can order.) I can’t put a link or it’ll be deleted, but just Google “Rise and Shine the Jay Demerit Story.”
    If you were not referring to that particular documentary then I apologize, but like I said the original comment was deleted.

  37. DangSkippy says:

    I sort of doubt that it was to lessen the reaction of DCU fans. We’re not all dim; we know they’re talking about our team.
    I think it’s more likely a question to gauge support in general for a team to be moved to Baltimore and rebranded. After all, perhaps prospective Baltimore fans would be less excited about getting a team that has missed the playoffs for four straight years than they would for a club in general. Or perhaps natives of Baltimore would be unable to detach United from it’s DC heritage and wouldn’t be willing to adopt the team.
    If you’re right and it was an attempt to conceal what they are doing or to mollify us, it was a pretty lackluster effort.

  38. Luke says:

    Ok your kind of looking like an arrogant dink now. Noone questioned whether your point was valid or not, just that there was no reason to take a heart warming story and point out one meaningless flaw. Have a little class next time man

  39. Matt says:

    Atlanta has had the Silverbacks for quite some time, but as history has shown there isn’t much correlation between 2nd-division and MLS attendence/success. It’s all about a rich ownership group stepping up and getting a stadium in place. And as someone from the south, I would LOVE a team in Charlotte, Atlanta, or Raleigh-Durham, but the evidence from other sports’ attendance suggests that southerners are pretty terrible sports fans, unless the sport is college football. I’d love an owner to step up and prove me wrong though.

  40. Dan says:

    I can understand a problem with heat for attending FC Dallas games, I’ve lived in Frisco, its dang hot in the summer. But proximity to Dallas? Thats just some whiny, crappy fans right there. Rio Tinto is 17 miles from ‘downtown’ Salt Lake, and I drive 38 miles to get to Rio Tinto every home game. If people are really whining about Pizza Hut Park because it isn’t right in downtown Dallas, they suck as fans.

  41. john.q says:

    the addition of philly, rbny, crew, dallas are just fillers for the poll.

    this type of survey had to come eventually. part of MLS and DCU’s due diligence in the search for a new home.

  42. Cabrito says:

    Atlanta is a horrible pro-sports town. The just lost their second NHL team and the Braves can’t even sell out playoff games. They should be way down the list of potential expanson cities.

  43. BE MASSIVE says:

    Pretty sure?? You work in the league office?? Columbus isn’t going anywhere. Some suit had a brain fart and included them in the survey. Word is spreading through Crew nation and MLS inboxes are sure to be flooded with ranting responses from the MASSIVE. FO is making efforts to put more fans back in the seats. Garber even came to town to help with the push and I hear it is working with season tickets on the uptick.

  44. Mo says:

    As a Dallas fan I pray that ownership takes notice and starts thinking seriously about trying to boost attendance.

  45. Sweet Symphony says:

    Sounds like you just supported my argument they could be a good candidate to move, too, by your glowing assessment of their fans.

  46. Andy says:

    I live in Baltimore and took the survey. I’m disappointed they didn’t have a “Would you purchase season tickets” option that I could check, rather than just “5 or more games”. Really? For a chance to NOT have to drive 45 minutes to DC to see a game in a rickety, dilapidated stadium with no stands behinds the goals? Where do I sign?

    Also, credit to the Ref for appreciating the moment and not showing a yellow card in the last story. And yes, despite the rules, I’ve seen them given for less.

  47. rob says:

    From the article:

    “As D.C. United continues its quest to find a new stadium location, MLS continues its exploration into whether Baltimore is a viable market for league EXPANSION.”

    Then:

    “An interesting note from the survey is that not all of the questions pointed to D.C. United as the only potential club to play in Baltimore. One of the questions asked if a fan could choose to have a club relocate to Baltimore which team would it be, listing Columbus, FC Dallas, D.C., Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls or No Preference as the options.”

    So, are we talking expansion (a new club into the league), relocation (moving an existing club) or are both considered possible at the moment? If we’re only talking about the possibility of relocation, this was a sloppily written story.

  48. northzax says:

    well, the owner of RFK happens to the the National Park Service, with an open ended second to the DC Sports and Entertainment Division, with the provisio that if there is no professional team as a paying tenant at RFK for a year, control reverts to the Feds.

    Honestly, as much as I love DCU (and I have had tickets for a decade) and as much as I love RFK (tell me the halftime drum circle isn’t one of the most primal events in US sports, it’s dark, dank, chanting, singing and bouncing around like some long gone tribe.) nonetheless, the whole place should be razed and redeveloped, DC needs more housing, more of everything, and fewer parking lots that get used once a week.

    190 acres is a lot of urban space, with a metro stop already there (actually, two of them, if you include the old DC General Hospital land, which brings you to over 300 acres. that’s half a square mile of prime urban real estate, waterfront, being used for four things: a TB clinic. a morgue. 20 soccer games a year and the odd festival in the parking lot. that is a serious waste of land. the neighborhoods around RFK are increasingly being redeveloped, ten years ago it was an economic and social wasteland, now there are vibrant communities, crime is down, employment and wealth are up. this is unfortunately driving out a lot of the people who once lived there, and can’t afford the new world (in DC in the past ten years this has happened to seven or eight neighborhoods already) we need more reasonable housing, more retail, more commercial space. Sure if it could be worked out, a 25k stadium would be a nice addition, but it’s never going to happen.

  49. Bob Dobalina says:

    The RFK owners are the city and they are keeping the land so they can eventually lure back the Redskins back to the city.

  50. Bob Dobalina says:

    It pretty much was to lessen the reaction of DCU fans. Why do you think that the survey ends right after the question “Are you a DC United season tickets holder?” is answered in the affirmative.

  51. Adam M. says:

    The survey and the relocation question are an obvious nod to DC’s difficulty getting a stadium and the survey is a not-so-obvious jab at the Cosmos or whoever else might want to start the second NY team to get their act together faster.

  52. DadRyan says:

    Alexandria didn’t want the Redskins anywhere near them, and even if there was ANY where left to build there they certainly wouldn’t want DCU. Gotta be at Buzzard’s Point in DC.

  53. Richard says:

    Scary stuff with Cassano… Hope he recovers and can be healthy again. Who knows if he’ll get back to his level or even make it to EURO 2012

  54. bryan says:

    that’s all true, but their attendance is terrible any day of the week.

  55. bryan says:

    They should move it on the Alrington side of the beltway. Hell, put it out near Centreville/Dulles/Chantilly/Herndon/Reston/Sterling. There is so much land out here. It’s 25 miles from DC, but the metro is currently being built to reach out into Herndon/Reston and most of the DCU fan base is from Northern VA anyway.

  56. vasco says:

    we know it was geared towards DC United, all the other teams have SS stadiums

  57. bryan says:

    Exactly. They are holding out for the Redskins because Snyder wants them to come back to DC. The thing is, FedEx isn’t even that old! And it’s not even close to paid for! Further, it’s BECAUSE of the Skins that the MD Government does not want to invest their own money into a stadium. The Skins owe them so much money and haven’t paid them back for anything. It’s a mess. And like it reads above, there just isn’t any land in DC. I hope they would move the team to Northern Virginia before Baltimore.

    They should move it on the Alrington side of the beltway. Hell, put it out near Centreville/Dulles/Chantilly/Herndon/Reston/Sterling. There is so much land out here. It’s 25 miles from DC, but the metro is currently being built to reach out into Herndon/Reston and most of the DCU fan base is from Northern VA anyway.

  58. Mr. Beast says:

    Move The Revs to Baltimore.

  59. fischy says:

    Yes — A choice for the no-brainers

  60. bryan says:

    Yup. It comes out this month. US Soccer just had a Q&A with Jay about it. It took them a LONG time to get the money, but they finally got it.

  61. fischy says:

    Yes, I encountered that — which is kinda stoopid, actually. The team/league should want to gauge how much interest there is among current ticketholders…though, I suppose their response is a largely predictable “No”

  62. Ryan in NY from NC says:

    AGAIN – Atlanta and Miami are both terrible sports cities – especially for a still niche sport like footy

  63. bryan says:

    probably both. or at least leaving it up for both options. having DC, Baltimore, Philly, NY (x2) and NE teams would be awesome. All right off I-95. Would enhance the rivalries even more.

  64. dgoshilla says:

    Its a sad pathetic state of affairs when the most successful franchise in MLS history is going to be relocated.

  65. bryan says:

    seriously. why wasn’t NE included on the list?! out of them all, they seem the most likely to leave.

  66. RafaFlores says:

    Baltimore City anyone? I can see it now…The Beltway Derby…City V United!!!! It’d be pretty cool to see.

  67. bryan says:

    absolutely. a baltimore/dc rivalry would be incredible.

  68. Cairo says:

    After living in NC for a few years, I would personally put them ahead of any other bid in the South. They drew in the thousands for UNC women’s games when I was there, and there are alot of people in the Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) who love the game. The big competition for sports fans in the summer would be…the Durham Bulls? Is the old Durham Bulls Stadium lot still undeveloped? That would be an awesome place for a Soccer Specific Stadium of 20K or so.

  69. Cairo says:

    Just checked–Durham Athletic Park is still there and looking for someone to run it. I know Cary has a facility now, but the DAP with a team would be really great.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

  70. Brad says:

    The cinema premiere date is this coming Thursday, November 3. Going to see a screening here in Nashville.

  71. hogatroge says:

    I wonder if Nashville could support an MLS team?

    The Predators have somehow survived and average ~16-17k in attendance despite the fact that most high schools in the area don’t even have hockey teams and it’s impossible to play the sport outdoors even in the middle of winter.

    They also recently set a record for most attendance at a soccer game in Tennessee (USMNT vs. Paraguay) despite the fact that it was a loss and the game was played in bad weather.

    Just a bit of conjecture, though.

  72. Modibo says:

    I took the survey.
    The survey first asked how interested the respondent is in MLS; then it proceeded to ask how often you’ve gone to games in “local” markets – DC, Philly, NY, and college. The point about Philly and NY is they want to see if Baltimore fans are either happy going to DC, or hate DC enough to go to Philly or NYC for their MLS fix. (No on both counts for me.)

    As for the question about relocation, I’m not sure there’s serious interest in Columbus or Dallas moving, but I think like Black Tide said, it’s supposed to provide a counterfactual for the DC move, again to test if Baltimore fans could accept a rebranded DC.

    And REBRANDING was specified in each case where a possible DC United move was mentioned. So I don’t think we’re going to see a “DC/Baltimore United” or anything of that ilk.

    Remember, Baltimore already went through co-branding with Crystal Palace, and it flopped on the marketing side (and when rushed into the NASL, on the field as well but that’s another story). MLS has hopefully drawn some lessons from the marketing of CPB, which – shamefully – didn’t even have “Baltimore” in its name until its last year of existence; this survey shows that maybe they have.

  73. Modibo says:

    Neither Philly nor NYC is going to move. That was about whether Baltimore fans already have an interest/allegiance in nearby teams other than DC. They could have just asked: how much do you hate DC vs. Philly and NYC?

  74. Modibo says:

    Oh, yeah, I would have definitely ticked off “buy season tickets,” too, if the option were offered. Or, better yet, “buy season tickets for my whole family.”

  75. biff says:

    I see my comment mentioning the Jay Demerit story was was deleted, I guess because I linked to the trailer for the movie. I will say that the trailer piqued my interest. I definitely want to see the movie.

  76. Brian D says:

    As a Philly fan, I’d love to see the South get a team- imagine the “Union Army” tifo we could do!

  77. Brian D says:

    As a Philly fan, I’d love to see the South get a team- imagine the “Union Army” tifo we could do!

  78. adub says:

    i wouldnt mind seeing you get punched in the face. FCD is a founding member of MLS anyone who wants to move them are a bunch of a holes

  79. Matt says:

    So Doug is an arrogant dink and the guy who posted as “Dougisadouche” gets a free pass?

  80. Matt says:

    Just guessing, but the survey of the different cities is probably just to provide a baseline for whether Baltimore respondents like/don’t like DC United as compared to a random MLS club.

    Perhaps MLS wants to know if there is a particular bias in Baltimore for or against getting DCU specifically.

  81. Yep says:

    Yes. By starting his initial post with a derogatory comment aimed at either the author, SBI’s community, or both, then following it up with douchey, know-it-all comments, Doug was asking to be put in check.

    It was an article about a guy scoring and giving some love to his dead son.

  82. Colin says:

    If they were to start up a Baltimore team, just move the revs and rename them to the Baltimore Bays and get that organization involved. Bays is already a household name among soccer players in Baltimore (me being one of them), so if they could get the Bays organization on board they’d instantly have a history, a strong academy and a base of fans. Not to mention the DC – Baltimore rivalry would be great. Plenty of DC and Baltimore fans would make the hour drive either way for the games.

  83. anikan says:

    Sorry but the southeast is American football country. Until any city in the southeast can show that they can support soccer for more than a couple years, the MLS should stay away.

  84. Doug says:

    The author said that Sharp “was not cautioned for the act, like others normally would be for celebrating in a similar way.” That is incorrect. Nobody who celebrates as Sharp did would be cautioned. I never made fun of Sharp, said that he should have been cautioned, or otherwise. His success in the face of such a tragedy is absolutely a wonderful story, and as a father my heart goes out to him as he still tries to cope with his loss.

  85. Johnny Ramone says:

    As an RBNY fan, nothing would make me happier than than to see the team of the 90s, DC, move to Baltimore.

  86. MJC-DC says:

    Ravens and DC fans typically hate eachother and those teams hardly every play a meaningful game. Imagine if you had a team in Baltimore and DC that both played in the Eastern Conference.

  87. MJC-DC says:

    If I were a RBNY fan I think my happiness might be dictated by this:

    (1) Win some silverware
    (2) Everything else

  88. VADCUfan says:

    So is DCU, but I doubt you care as much about whether DCU moves or not than you do about FCD. Likewise if I were given the choice of which to move, there is no way in hell I’d pick FCD over DCU. That said no one should have to lose their team.

  89. VADCUfan says:

    Yeah, it’s unfortunate that you feel that way. I personally am happy that the Pink Cows still exist and continue to exist. Further, if they do move there is a significant population of MLS fans that will not be able to enjoy live soccer at the highest level in North America anymore. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, even supporters of the trophy-less Pink Cows.

  90. nic d "the TX 2 Stepper" says:

    DAN people come from all over the metro to get to Frisco. IT IS THE STUPIDEST PLACE TO HAVE A SSS!

    I drive 1 hour to go to games. If they were still in Southlake I would drive 10 minutes. If they were in Dallas I would drive 35 minutes. All of those times are better than driving an hour. Thus, I go to less and less games.

    07 – 6 games
    08 – 5 games
    09 – 4 games
    10 – 2 games
    11 – 2 games

    I don’t have money/time to waste. More things are pulling my dollars with in my 30 mile radius. I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE.

  91. VADCUfan says:

    In other words keep the rivalry focused on the beautiful game, because everything else is not worth the vitriol.