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Blue Notes: MLS Expansion Las Vegas, Sporting KC Leagues Cup Schedule

KC Current highlights and including in FIFA 23, SKC Academy callup and more.

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New Year Fireworks Light Up Over The Las Vegas Strip Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

Another week sneaks by and another round of stories we wanted to highlight. Of course, there is way more soccer news that I can ever capture here, but if you haven’t listened to my podcast yet, For the Glory KC, check it out. We do a segment at the end of every episode called The Digital Crawl (thanks to David Greenwald for the idea) where we rapidly move through stories like these.

MLS Expansion: Las Vegas Falls Apart (for now)

On the last ever episode of Allocation Disorder (that’s a bummer) Paul Tenorio dropped a nugget of information from his 90-minute interview with MLS Commissioner Don Garber (I recommend reading it) about MLS Expansion.

Garber said that the formerly front-running Las Vegas MLS Expansion bid fell through over costs. The league wants the team to have an indoor stadium (thankfully!) and now MLS expansion fees are rumored to be as high as $500 million for the next team that enters. That on top of maybe another $500 million for a domed stadium.

Garber did say there is other interest in Vegas still getting a team, but as we’ve been saying here, San Diego are the front runners based on the rest of his quotes (“I’m bullish on San Diego”).

Side note: Sam Stejskal retiring from covering soccer is really sad for me. It’s a reminder that so few people who cover soccer are properly paid (he did say financial reasons are part of the reason for a career change) if they are paid at all. I love Sam’s work and will miss what he’s brought to American soccer coverage. I met Sam at a USMNT game last year and he was really great to talk to and soccer coverage will be worse in the United States not having him doing it.

His podcast partner, Paul Tenorio, will go on covering soccer and I’m intrigued to see where he ends up next and if he makes a new podcast.

MLS Expansion: Beyond 30 Teams

Of course, as we’ve long stated, Garber indicated in that same interview that the league may move beyond 30 teams (there is just too much money and too many interested markets not to).

“I don’t see any reason why, at the right time, if we’re able to accommodate it as it relates to schedule and players and the ecosystem of MLS, why we couldn’t have more teams in the future,” Garber said. “But this is an example of — life is a long time. We do not need to expand. We expand so that we can build our fan base. We build our fan base, which drives revenue, we drive revenue and we can invest that money back into the sport.”

The Athletic interview is absolutely loaded with great information and is worth a full read. So much so they added a second story just about his comments on Promotion and Relegation.

Sporting KC Leagues Cup Schedule

On Thursday, SKC announced their first two (and possibly only) Leagues Cup games for 2023. As reported previously, they will play FC Cincinnati (MLS) and Chivas (Liga MX) in the group stage. Now we know the dates of those games.

  • Sunday, July 23rd — SKC @ FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium
  • Monday, July 31st — Chivas Guadalajara @ SKC at Children’s Mercy Park

The other group stage game is the midweek game between Chivas and Cincy on July 27th. That should leave Chivas a little short on rest coming into the home game at CMP. The top two teams will advance from each group with the loser getting quite a break. If Sporting KC were to not advance, they would have off a bit over three weeks before MLS play resumed.

Remainder of the Leagues Cup Schedule:

  • Group Stage: July 21-31
  • Round of 32: August 2-4
  • Round of 16: August 6-8
  • Quarterfinals: August 11-12
  • Semifinals: August 15
  • Final & Third Place: August 19

The next Sporting KC game, after this month-long season pause for the Leagues Cup, is August 26th against the San Jose Earthquakes back at CMP.

Podcast Smorgasbord

We at The Blue Testament went a little podcast crazy this week. Between Sporting Kansas City media day and just our ‘regular’ podcasts, it may have been a little overwhelming. The Shades of Blue crew had a bunch of shorter pods and then we had all the regular ones from the week, so I thought I’d just put them all in one spot.

KC Current Highlights

If you are like us, you are starved for Kansas City Current news. The team was nice enough to send out some field level highlights from their games between the Orlando Pride and Chicago Red Stars that I mixed into one (admittedly amateurish) video. Better than not seeing them!

Also, if you missed it in the four million podcast articles this week, I broke down the KC Current’s many possibilities when it comes to what formation they were in.

KC Current added to FIFA 23!

The KC Current were added to FIFA 23, along with the entire National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). This is huge progress. Next, let’s get the women into career mode. My daughter started playing FIFA, but she didn’t like that she couldn’t do the mode I was playing with the women. I’d love this for her, and anyone else interested in playing this. I’m a huge career mode person. I think there is a part of being able to create a player (that looks like you) and play with them when you are a kid that makes you realize it’s possible to make a career out of this.

Quick Notes

  • The Instant Replay crew, with new member Christina Unkel, break down the plays from Week two. Of course, the Colorado/Kansas City game made the cut. For the record, they agreed with both no goal calls and favored Sporting KC.
  • There may be an opt out in the Apple MLS Season Pass deal from Apple’s side of things. I talked to quite a few people who seemed really surprised by this. Here is to hoping that the huge investment Apple is making shows they are in for the long haul.
  • The Utah Royals returning to NWSL is almost surely coming tomorrow.