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MLS Ticker: St. Louis, Earnshaw, NYCFC and more

Photo by Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports
Photo by Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports

In the wake of recent news regarding an NFL team relocating from St. Louis to Los Angeles, the MLS commissioner has emphasized his interest in possibly expanding to Missouri.

Don Garber wrote a letter to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon explaining his desire to expand there, saying: “I look forward to working with you, your staff and local leaders to explore ownership candidates and to investigate viable stadium solutions to bring MLS to St. Louis.” Nixon will reportedly speak with the commissioner over the phone to come to understand more about the possibility of expansion. (REPORT)

Robert Earnshaw announced his retirement after an 18-year playing career. The 34-year-old has been appointed head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Under-14 Pre-Residency team, and will also work as the club’s strikers coach under head coach Carl Robinson. (REPORT)

The Chicago Fire signed free agent midfielder Nick LaBrocca on Wednesday. The 31-year-old joins on a one-year deal with an option to extend another season. (REPORT)

New York City FC announced the signing of Frédéric Brillant from K.V. Oostende. The 30-year-old centerback has made 79 appearances for Oostende the past three seasons. (REPORT)

Tim McDermott, who previously worked with the Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Capitals, was revealed as the Philadelphia Union’s new chief business officer. He will oversee the team’s business operations and work closely with the Union’s academy and USL affiliate, Bethlehem Steel FC. (REPORT)

D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper, as well as Jason Levien, is flying to Italy to scout 30-year-old AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino, but will reportedly also be visiting Greece, England and France to look at a few other players to possibly sign. (REPORT)

Is St. Louis a good city to for MLS to expand to? What do you think of Earnshaw’s retirement? How do you see LaBrocca factoring into the Fire’s lineup?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. @Oldschool MLS isn’t a pyramid scheme for many reasons, but within the definition you provided, it isn’t because none of the original MLS owners have made a profit on their MLS teams. After hemorrhaging $$ for years, their have a negative ROI that won’t be overcome until much further down the road.

    Also, when you normally enter into a pyramid scheme, those people buying in don’t instantly have a franchise worth 9 figures, as Forbes recently declared the average MLS team value to be just that, and they figure to only continue to climb in value.

    Also, it’s only recently (starting in the 90s I would say) that owning a sports team became a profitable venture. Sports teams were always something super rich people did for fun even though they lost money. Best case scenario is you make a profit when you sell the team. If you invest in a sports team to make money, you are not very smart, because there much, much easier ways to make money.

    As disillusion as your take on this was, I’m glad you shared though. You post a lot and now I know to take your opinions with a grain of salt.

  2. Does Garber/MLS have an overall plan/goal re: expansion? For example, is there a “hard spot” at 24 teams? Pushing past twenty teams would (I think) already make MLS the largest top flight anywhere. I see only three end games: an eternal unbalanced schedule, with conferences; continued expansion followed a single table with only one game against each opponent; or continued expansion followed by pro-rel.

    • If the league continues to expand I believe the next step should be: MLS West & MLS East. Each league exclusively plays within it’s own conference during the regular season in a balanced schedule.

      Once the league reaches 24 clubs, the top 6 in each conference play in it’s own playoffs. The winner of the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference play each other within MLS Cup. There’s no mystery that Garber wants to be the NFL and emulates whenever given the opportunity and this would satisfy that vision.

      As a bonus, I think the geographic nature and routine match-ups within your specific region will create story lines, rivalries and more passion for the league. As a double bonus, for those clamoring for Pro/Rel – I believe dividing the conferences would be the first step towards a future Pro/Rel as the league continues its obvious intention to expand on a large scale.

      Sidenote: I’ve yet to hear a realistic vision of how MLS will look in 5, 10 or 20 years with this obsession in expanding with new franchises. I’m a firm believer that two divisions (East and West) or Pro/Rel are inevitable. If they’re not, this business model continues to look like a pyramid scheme.

      • It’s not like there is no precedent for having pro sports in a lot of cities. Look at the NFL, NBA, and MLB. They all have different conferences and way more than 20 teams (and no relegation). If it works elsewhere in the US, it’s not like it is doomed to fail in soccer. Consider, for example, that some relatively small market teams like Portland, Oklahoma City and Indianapolis in the NBA routinely sell out arenas of 15,000 or more for 41 games per year. A lot of examples like this. My San Diego Padres are usually pretty lousy, yet they average over 20,000 over an 81 game home schedule. Another important point is that fees paid by new franchisees have become a major source of revenue for the existing teams, so I think that it may be very likely that as the sport grows the number of teams will go beyond 24.

      • “Another important point is that fees paid by new franchisees have become a major source of revenue for the existing teams.”

        I addressed this in my post. That’s essentially a pyramid scheme by the exact definition and concept.

      • It is a franchise fee, not a pyramid scheme. Big difference.
        Check out wikipedia for a definition of pyramid scheme.

      • “A pyramid scheme is initiated by an individual or a company that starts recruiting investors with an offer of guaranteed high returns. As the scheme begins, the earliest investors do receive a high rate of return, but these gains are paid for by new recruits and are not a return on any real investment.”

        Yep. The exact concept of a pyramid scheme. It appers you didn’t check it out before you referenced it so I’ll do the work of defining it and providing validation for you while I’m at it:

        Happy reading.

    • Back in the day (like 40 to 50 years ago, St. Louis was THE soccer mecca in the US. It was the one area where a lot of soccer was played. I’m from southern California which is now a hotbed, but back then the only soccer played here was by immigrants and there weren’t all that many then. I have always wondered why they hadn’t already gotten an MLS franchise.


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