One potential big story in today's links. Our SB Nation Philadelphia Union counterpart, The Brotherly Game, is reporting that MLS is deciding between the Union's PPL Park, and our very own LIVESTRONG Sporting Park as the final two venues to host the 2012 MLS All-Star Game.
According to the report, it appears PPL Park is the slight front runner at the moment, but nothing is set in stone. I'd have to think that LSP would be quite an attractive option for future All-Star Games, and that even if Philadelphia ends up hosting the 2012 version, we won't have to wait long before Kansas City gets the call.
Over at The Daily Soccer Fix, Steve Davis takes a look back at the ten year anniversary of Major League Soccer contracting the two Florida teams; the Tampa Bay Mutiny, and the Miami Fusion.
As much as it may have seemed like a loss at the time, the decision to contract more than likely did save the league, and gave us the product we have today.
Props to MLS for realizing that they were moving too fast, too soon. Now, because of their gutsy call ten years ago, we have the privilege of enjoying one of the best franchises in Major League Soccer.
Over at MLSreserves.com, Luke Lohr discusses Thierry Henry's triumphant return to Arsenal, in which Henry scored the game winning goal against Leeds in the FA Cup.
I've touched on it just a bit, but wow, was Henry's goal a powerful moment. It gave me goosebumps. True, it was against Leeds, but still, you couldn't have written a better script than what played out at the Emirates.
And finally, the end of the MLS Combine is here, and we are only a day away from the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. Luckymore Mkosana was impressive once again, in adiPower's 4-1 win over adiPure. Mkosana scored in the 16th minute of play.
In the other MLS Combine match, Evans Frimpong had a big game, scoring a goal and notching an assist, as did UNC Charlotte product, Evan James.
Pretty exciting times as we close in on Sporting selecting the next piece to the MLS Cup puzzle.
Check out all of The Daily Links after the jump...
Major League Soccer had just reduced itself to 10 teams. On Jan. 8, 2002, commissioner Don Garber and the league’s (tiny) board of directors made the painful decision to severe the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion. It was amputating a leg to save the man. (MLSSoccer.com columnist Jonah Freedman writes in excellent depth about the contraction and its ramifications choices here in this article.) Remember, this was smack in the middle of massive financial suffering in MLS. The league lost $350 million between founding in 1996 and 2004, hemorrhaging that mostly fell on three investors. Yes, they are all rich. But who relishes losing money? I know that if I fumble away a $1 bill on the way out of the coffee shop, I'm pissed off all the way home. As such, there was real talk of folding the entire operation. It was a well-kept secret back then; you surely can understand why. Things would only get worse if fans, media and sponsors knew the whole, grisly reality. But word has dripped out since that ceasing operations was a legitimate option on the table. Looking back, I think most people (such as myself) probably were going backwards as they considered the Florida contractions.
PPL Park could soon show itself off to the North American soccer community, as the Philadelphia Union's game day home is one of two finalists for the 2012 MLS All Star Game. A league source informs the Brotherly Game that PPL Park and Sporting Kansas City's Livestrong Park are the last of a group of stadiums, which included the Vancouver Whitecaps' BC Place and the Montreal Impact's Saputo Stadium, but "nothing [is] firm" yet.
If Montreal passes on Darren Mattocks, and they should not, New England will be licking its chops with voracity. Vancouver desperately needs depth at the back and should pass on the striker, meaning the only thing standing between New England and an exciting project at forward is Jesse Marsch. Remember, Montreal "took" Brian Ching in the expansion draft but the likelihood that he ever suits up (or is healthy enough to play consistently) is remote. The idea that they can pass on him for Andrew Wenger, an exciting prospect in the Perry Kitchen mold, remains alive, but Mattocks has a ceiling as inviting as the Sistine Chapel. New England wouldn't complain if Marsch passes. Three of the Revs' top four goal getters in 2011 were midfielders.
A three-goal onslaught in the second half led adiPower to a dominating 4-1 victory adiPure in the final game of the 2012 MLS Combine on Tuesday. Lucky Mkosana (Dartmouth), Tony Walls (UW-Green Bay), Calum Mallace (Marquette) and Jason Banton (England, pictued above) all got their names on the score sheet, leading adiPower to an undefeated 3-0 record at the combine. Andrew Duran (Creighton) scored for AdiPure, who finished with a 1-1-1 mark.
Two first-half goals set the tone for adiZero on Tuesday, as they triumphed on the final day of the MLS Combine with a 3-1 victory against Prime. Evan James (UNC Charlotte) picked up a goal and an assist for adiZero, who finished the combine with a 1-1-1 record. International Aldo Paniagua (Paraguary, above right) tallied for Prime, who finished with a 0-3 record at the combine. AdiZero took the lead early on, as James scored in the fifth minute. With space at the top of the penalty area, he took a nice layoff from Evans Frimpong (Delaware) and curled a shot into the back of the net past goalkeeper Jhojan Obando (Providence).
While some continue to debate the merits of sending MLS stars on loan, those in the camp that doubted the quality of MLS were dealt a blow today. Thierry Henry, after two seasons in Major League Soccer, returned to Arsenal and scored a magical goal to win the third round FA Cup match over Leeds. Henry came off the bench to side-foot home the game winner in the 78th minute for Arsenal. The goal was scored ten minutes after Henry entered the match. While the goal extends his Arsenal record to 227, the on loan striker has likely affected the squad in immeasurable ways. This is only the first match of his two-month loan spell from the New York Red Bulls. Some have speculated that Arsenal will make a bid to keep Henry for the remainder of the season... to those we preach calm and rational thinking.
Grabbing an up-and-comer from BBC Radio Sport worked well with former Sounders announcer Arlo White. Might as well try it again. The Seattle Sounders nabbed 32-year-old Ross Fletcher as their new voice for television and radio, succeeding White, the new voice of soccer for NBC Sports. Fletcher, a seven-year veteran for England’s Derby County for BBC Radio Derby, will join retiring captain Kasey Keller in a two-person booth for the upcoming season. “I’m hugely, hugely excited,” Fletcher told reporters during a conference call on Tuesday. “Also, massively privileged to be given the chance to come over and continue what has been an amazing journey so far for Seattle in the first three seasons in MLS.”