MLS Ticker: Crew part ways with McCullers; Revs add new FieldTurf; & more

MarkMcCullersCrewJerseyUnveiling2014 (USATodaySports)

By DAN KARELL

Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt is focused on the club’s future, and president Mark McCullers won’t be a part of it.

After going through a busy offseason with plenty of change to the club, the Crew announced on Monday morning that McCullers had agreed to part ways with the club. He will remain until April 30 to help with the transition but Precourt has taken over day-to-day duties effective immediately.

“Mark and I had the chance to speak this past weekend, and based upon that conversation, I told him that we would not be extending his contract with the Crew,” Precourt said in a statement. “When we purchased the Crew, we said that we would evaluate the club in a thoughtful and thorough manner. After nearly eight months at the helm of the club, Mark and I both agreed that it would make sense for the organization to go in a different direction, so he offered me his resignation, which I accepted.”

On a conference call, Precourt said that he and McCullers differed on their future vision for the club and that the new club president will take care of the business side of the club while head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter will control soccer side.

Precourt also said he has begun consulting with many people, including MLS executives, to begin searching for the new president.

Here are some more notes from around the league:

GILLETTE INSTALLS NEW TURF SURFACE

The New England Revolution have received an early-season boost.

On Monday morning, both the New England Patriots and Revolution announced that the Gillette Stadium field turf has been replaced with a new version. The new turf from company FieldTurf is called “Revolution” and will be completely installed in time for the Revolution’s home game on April 12 against the Houston Dynamo.

FieldTurf Revolution is also being used by the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field and Portland Timbers at Providence Park.

Artificial turf was first installed at Gillette Stadium in 2006.

FORMER MLS DEFENDER MCDONALD LANDS IN SWEDEN

American centerback Brandon McDonald has found a new home.

McDonald, who most recently played for Real Salt Lake in 2013, has signed a one-year deal with Swedish Superettan (second division) club Ljungskile SK, according to a report in Sweden. It’s the 28-year-old’s first professional club outside the USA, after playing for the LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, D.C. United, and RSL.

Since being drafted by the Galaxy in 2008, McDonald has gone on to make 146 appearances in all competitions. McDonald was traded mid-season last year from D.C. United to RSL. Following the season his contract option was declined.

Ljungskile kicks off the 2014 season on April 6 against Östersunds.

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What do you think of this news? Surprised to see McCullers part ways with the Crew? Do you expect the Revolution’s new field to play up to standards? Do you think McDonald can succeed in Sweden?

Share your thoughts below.

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44 Responses to MLS Ticker: Crew part ways with McCullers; Revs add new FieldTurf; & more

  1. dudebro says:

    With the league purchasing Chivas,
    does that mean that Bob Kraft is now the worst owner in the league?

    • sony says:

      yes, he is the worst Amen!

      • soccerhorn says:

        Kraft may have drifted back into the pack for a minute, but certainly he’s back out in front by a few lengths now. The good news for Revs fans: they never EVER trailed in the race for worst, most embarrassing pitch in this or any soccer league. Way to go Revs. I hope that Patriots logo isn’t too big.

        • solles says:

          speaking as a revs fan, yeah its bad; its sort of a symbol of the kraft regime. new turf will be like heaven for a little while until its used for a year or two and starts looking like seattle.

        • JoeW says:

          Not true. Dallas (I think they were the Burn at the time) played 1-2 seasons at a HS field that was both field turf AND with gridiron lines. Gillette is bad but this thing on TV was just impossible to make sense out of–it hurt my eyes.

  2. Jayboy says:

    I was at the Revs game this weekend – that surface is terrible. It was like playing in a parking lot and every single bounce was 50% higher than you’d expect. It was an ugly game anyways, but the quality of the turf immediately struck me as garbage. Hopefully this new turf makes it somewhat softer.
    Boy would it be nice to have a soccer-specific stadium… Maybe Kraft can ship one over from Qatar after the 2022 World Cup.

    • sony says:

      dream on my friend.Bob K. doesn’t care about real football.

      • Jay says:

        Yes he does didn’t you see they signed Durell Revis? In all seriousness the fact he has stayed on after taking the loses that most of the owners have is to be commended. I think MLS fans have a warped view of reality we will never be #1 in the pecking order of any owner with duel teams. You think TFC is MLSE’s number one priority? Nothing is ever perfect but bitching and complaining about owners who look out for their pockets the same way we do is just pathetic. Because yes in the end it’s a business.

        • solles says:

          its a business for everyone in the league, in New England its a pet project and calendar filler.

  3. Ian says:

    Sounds like the Crew needed some monster PR work after details of their TV deal hit the news. Fans were (still are?) rightfully pissed. Precourt had little option.

    • SilverRey says:

      It was coming. Fans have been asking for MM to be shown the door for years! I think Precourt was smart to hold on to him for the transition, if just to show where all the rattles and noises are coming from, but I think the timing is well done by Aces.

      • Hejduk4President says:

        Yeah, MarkM seems like a guy I’d grab a beer with, but he’s been around for a long time and now seems like as good a time as any to cut ties. Curious to see who is hired to replace him.

  4. lando says:

    Revs are moving up! I saw that they might’ve come close to selling out available seating this weekend and now new turf. It’ll be interesting to see how full the stadium gets when they double available seats to 100.
    GO Kraft GO!

  5. Pito Riko loko says:

    Who is going to take Chivas USA MLS 1.0 spot
    Let me guess;
    revolution 1.0 sucky owner and no future
    DC new sucky owner, milan has stole his heart
    rapids MLS 1.0 sucky owner, will he go for st.louis sooner than later or should i say Los Angeles
    crew new weird owner,does he like soccer or equity ;)
    fire wow, being chicago, even the name does not sound like the chi town. they need something?????
    earthquakes only good thing about san jose is their new wanna be soccer stadium, god this team needs to thank their fans for having to do and going to their games.
    So its 6 teams going for Chivas USA spot ;) who will win, stay tune and come back in 2018.
    My guess, crew get a new stadium and rebrand. Rapids get a new owner and DC gets their stadium in 2018 and fire get rebrand. Oops, and earthquakes become the new chivas usa

    • Pito Riko loko says:

      i forgot, revolution get a stadium in 2018 after being threaten to be sold.

      • solles says:

        if the revs are sold to someone who keeps the team in new england, that would be HUGELY positive.

  6. Fat albert says:

    I predict that Pito Riko finds a boyfriend and then has something other to worry about than what is best for everyone else.

  7. Ivan says:

    You lost me at “installing new turf”…what a joke of a team and ownership.

    Football must not be played at plastic fields. End of story! The ball bounces funny and it forces the teams to adopt a kick and run style of anti-football. I cannot watch a Sounders home game: the plastic pitch DOES influence the quality and style of play.

  8. Jack Del says:

    Seriously, how much money did you pocket Mccullers? Was it worth it to sell out an entire organization?

    • Hejduk4President says:

      Wait, how did he sell out an organization? Did I miss the story about how he forced the Hunt family to sell the Crew to Precourt? Did I sleep through the story when he held a gun to Anthony Precourt’s head to sign the Time Warner deal? Look, I’m not unhappy that he’s gone, but let’s hold off on the blanket statements like this.

  9. Ron says:

    When will people stop using the term “soccer specific stadium”? Its a freaking soccer stadium. I know of no baseball specific stadiums.

    • FDV says:

      Repect the roots.

    • solles says:

      yeah but baseball stadiums really arent used for things other than baseball, usually, unless youre talking about NASL teams.

    • JoeW says:

      Actually, there are a lot of stadiums designed with only baseball in mind and that’s all that happens there (other than maybe a concert or a promise-keepers event or something like that). Camden Yards in Baltimore. Nationals Park in DC. I’m sure I could come up with a lot of other examples.

      I think the SSS makes a certain amount of sense. The ONLY major sport that RFK hosts is soccer (DC United and some foreign NT or club affairs). Yet is it accurate to call RFK (with the sidelines 30 yards from the stands, with an upper deck that is blocked off, with an area behind one goal being unusable as seating) as a soccer specific stadium? I don’t think so.

  10. Fat albert says:

    Apologies to Pito Riko.
    Fake turf boils my buns. Ugh!

  11. Brain Guy says:

    New plastic turf. Same abominable situation.

    Hey, Don Garber, how about another ten-year plan – for ridding the league of artificial turf!

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      I feel really sorry for fans who can’t get over their opposition to artificial turf. The prevalence of artificial turf will increase dramatically over the next 10-15 years—in MLS, Europe, and especially developing countries. Where will that leave these grass-only fans? So sad.

      • solles says:

        “precedent” does not make it fine and ok.

      • Brain Guy says:

        We’ll get over our opposition when someone can convince us that the pinball-game simulation that happens in Seattle and New England is not a fundamentally different game. There *may* be situations in which you really have no choice, such as the developing countries to which you refer, but that’s not the case in MLS — unless you define having no choice as “it’s already this way and we don’t even want to think about an alternative.”

        And what’s “so sad” is accepting the trend as inevitable and (what’s worse) actually beneficial.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          Brain Guy: “a fundamentally different game.” So when Barca cuts their grass short and waters it, that is not fundamentally different from when Bolivia grows their grass shaggy and dry? And when SKC plays the MLS final on a frozen tundra, that is the same as when other teams play on soggy mudpits?

          I notice that you cried out against Seattle and NE, but left Portland off your anti-turf list. I take that to mean that you recognize that not all turfs—grass or artificial—are equal. Seattle’s turf is bad, but that doesn’t mean that all artificial turf is bad and that the technology isn’t getting better.

          I disagree that there are ever situations where you “have no choice.” There is always a choice. In this case, the choice is to demand that Seattle pay gobs of money to lay down temporary grass—a choice no owner in the league wants to make. (Or even more ridiculous: demand that Seattle build a new stadium.)

          It’s flat out wrong of you to suggest that fans and owners in Seattle “don’t even want to think about an alternative.” There is abundant evidence that they already considered alternatives. They just don’t keep rehashing the same decisions every day. Many different options have been considered and rejected for various reasons—almost all of which boil down to one thing: money. That may chap your hide, but remember that behind all this entertainment the MLS is just dying to provide you, the owners want to make a profit.

    • solles says:

      blame that on seattle, they whined their way into MLS claiming promises from Doug Logan, Garber had little choice. Once seattle came in with plastic grass, the precedent was set.

      • solles says:

        I mean, remember when TFC changed from fake to real grass because of demand from the fans and league? those were the days.

  12. Tim F. says:

    I think that the Patriots are getting new turf and the Revs just happen to play at the same facility.

  13. Tim F. says:

    I’ve heard that the Vancouver and Seattle fields are awful but the Portland field is great. If they are using the same company, are they using different products or is it just that Portland has a very new field and the fields in Vancouver and Seattle are old?

  14. MB says:

    It really is pathetic that Vancouver, Seattle, and New England can’t at least compromise to get the Portland type of turf. No grass because its not as good for football? Ok, well then at least the softest type of turf available should be installed. No excuses.

    • foooo says:

      Guess you didn’t bother reading this part:
      FieldTurf Revolution is also being used by the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field and Portland Timbers at Providence Park.

      • solles says:

        read that but they must be different styles or quality or something because, those fields aint equal.

        • solles says:

          actually duh its probably just because theres no nfl team at providence park… i know PSU football (pfft) plays there but only 4 times a year.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      MB: I’m not sure what you mean by “no excuses.” Sounders plays on crushed field turf because that’s how the Seahawks want it. They could demand a “compromise” from the Seahawks, but that would be unreasonable: the turf is either to Seahawks’ liking or to the Sounders’ liking. Taking the average of the two would only produce a field that no one liked. How do you compromise in that situation? (You can’t.)

      Given that the Seahawks are far more lucrative (and last year, far more successful), the Sounders don’t have any leverage.

      The other “compromise” would be to tell the Sounders to find a grass field stadium or to get out of the league—but we all know the league is better off financially with the Sounders. Paul Allen has stated that if/when MLS requires grass fields that he will pay to lay down grass for every home match. So why hasn’t MLS required that? Easy: revenue sharing. (Essentially, every team would be paying for Sounders’ temporary grass, which they don’t have to do if they keep letting Sounders play on whatever the Seahawks lay down.)

      One actually viable compromise would be something like: link to matrix-turf.com

      • Brain Guy says:

        So how about taking some of the revenue from 35,000 fans per game, or from Paul Allen’s bazillion-dollar fortune, and at least consider building a stadium? Or is it easier to keep pointing to the Seahawks as an excuse?

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          Brain Guy: “how about taking some of the revenue from 35,000 fans per game”

          Because that revenue is *shared* by the league. On the one hand, we have people screaming at MLS to raise the salary cap and increase the minimum salary, and you’re over here demanding that a huge chunk of shared revenue be poured into a playing surface. Take your pick, but you can’t have both.

          “or from Paul Allen’s bazillion-dollar fortune”

          Because it’s Paul Allen’s fortune, not MLS’s. Why would he drain out his piggy bank? He owns the Sounders as a business venture, not a hobby or some sense of devotion to fans across the league. Here’s a brilliant idea: why don’t you pay for the field?

          “at least consider building a stadium”

          What makes you think that hasn’t been considered? Seriously, why do you assume that Sounders’ management hasn’t considered options B, C, D, and E-S just because they went with option A? Anyway, the obvious answer to your specific question is that the stadiums being built around MLS today seat ~22,000; Sounders regularly host over 40,000 spectators. Would you build a smaller stadium and lock them out, thereby losing all that revenue? Or would you build a massive new stadium for $1B (and who knows where it would go—certainly nowhere near the light rail and bus terminals of CenturyLink) and eat that expense?

          “Or is it easier to keep pointing to the Seahawks as an excuse?”

          I suggest that you contemplate the difference between “reason” and “excuse.”