Travel-worn Impact de Montréal score late and often in 3-0 win over New England Revolution

Miami, Fla. (Thursday, April 25, 2019) by Kenneth Russo

The Impact again demonstrated the ability to rebound, something that’s been on display nine games into the 2019 season. Every time the Impact suffered a loss this season, the club has responded by taking points in the following match, often with strong defensive play and earning a clean sheet.

Such was the case once again on Wednesday night, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. After suffering a 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, the Impact travelled to New England and made themselves chez soi at a practically empty Gillette Stadium, dominating the hosts in every statistical category en route to a 3-0 win.

The announced attendance of 9,422 seems rather generous to anyone who watched the game.

Empty seats everywhere last night.

That Montréal was able to win despite facing a ridiculous travel arrangement is testimony to the resiliency of this year’s ensemble. The club lobbied Major League Soccer officials to postpone Wednesday’s match after its Tuesday commercial flight out of Canada was cancelled. The team waited at Montréal Trudeau International Airport until 10 p.m. Tuesday night only to end up having to come back the next day for a charter flight which itself was delayed. MLS denied Montreal’s request, a denial based squarely for commercial purposes. The team only arrived in Boston the afternoon of the game. The game kicked off on schedule, shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET.

The travel debacle is worthy of an investigation into how MLS clubs travel. Major League Soccer has made impressive strides on many fronts in recent years, but if the Montreal Impact’s travel situation proved anything, it’s that the league still has a long way to go in certain areas.

“What we’ve been through the last 24 hours should never happen, but we used it as a motivation to come here. It’s not about convenience for the players, it was a matter of player safety. We’re lucky not to get players injured today.”

Evan Bush, Impact de Montréal goalkeeper

The Impact spent so much time getting from Montréal to Foxborough, Massachusetts by air that it would have been far quicker to simply arrange for a motor coach.

I’ve driven the route from Providence to Montréal many times and it’s an easy six-hour drive. (five and one half hours’ drive to Foxborough, a distance of 539 kilometres [335 miles].) Under the circumstances, it would have been a much less stressful option for the Impact.

Nevertheless, it was Montréal that arrived match-ready.

The Bleu-Blanc-Noir handed the New England Revolution its fourth home loss of the season on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.

Game Summary

Shamit Shome pounced on an error by Revolution goalkeeper Cody Cropper to score the game’s opening goal in the 79th minute, then second half substitute Anthony Jackson-Hamel added his team’s second and third strikes in the 85th and 93rd minutes, respectively, as part of a late-game brace.

“We are satisfied because the preparation for this game was more than complicated. The group reacted well and did not use this situation as an excuse, but as motivation. They showed that when we are all together, we have a collective force that is good to see on the pitch. We gave them problems tonight with more intensity, while keeping our defensive rigour.”

Montréal head coach Rémi Garde.

Montréal (4-3-2, 14 points) sits second in the table in the Eastern Conference. New England is tenth.

Shome celebrates after scoring a goal in the 79th minute.

Game Summary:

Referee: Nima Saghafi
Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson (AR1), Philippe Briere (AR2)
Fourth Official: David Gantar
VAR: Alan Kelly
Weather:  13°C / 57° F and Clear
Attendance: 9,422

Scoring Summary:
MTL – Shamit Shome 1 (Unassisted) 79′
MTL – Anthony Jackson-Hamel 1 (Daniel Lovitz 2) 85′
MTL – Anthony Jackson-Hamel 2 (Clément Bayiha 1) 90′

Misconduct Summary:
NE – Scott Caldwell (Yellow Card – Unsporting Behavior) 58′
MTL – Samuel Piette (Yellow Card – Persistent Infringement) 72′L

Rosters

MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Zachary Brault-Guillard, Zakaria Diallo, Víctor Cabrera, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette, Micheal Azira, Shamit Shome (Mathieu Choinière 84’); F-Clément Bayiha, Maximiliano Urruti (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 71’), Orji Okwonkwo (Jukka Raitala 80’)

Subs not used – Clément Diop, Bacary Sagna, Rudy Camacho, Omar Browne

NE – GK-Cody Cropper; D-Andrew Farrell, Michael Mancienne, Edgar Castillo, Jalil Anibaba; M-Scott Caldwell (Cristian Penilla 71’), Carles Gil, Luis Caicedo, Diego Fagundez (Brian Wright 82’); F-Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury (Juan Fernando Caicedo 59’)

Subs not used – Matt Turner, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Wilfried Zahibo, Brandon Bye

What is the RSTP, and how do training compensation and solidarity payments fit into it?

Miami, Fla. (Wednesday, April 24, 2019) – Kenneth Russo

The FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (the “RSTP”) establish rules concerning the status of players, their eligibility to participate in organised soccer, and their transfer between clubs belonging to different member associations across the globe. Two elements spelled out in the RSTP are for a club to be compensated for training and development costs if one of its players signs a contract in another country.

It all begins with the trading of a player (known in the fútbol world of course as a “transfer.”) So typically a club is interested in acquiring a player who is playing for another club (or a player who is under contract with a club desires to move to another club and that other club desires to hire that player.) The players are under contract, and most clubs have a transfer fee, either a hard number written into the contract (usually only for big names like Ronaldo or Messi – you may have heard of the term “release clause”) or (more commonly) the current club has the legal option to negotiate the amount of a transfer fee. Simple enough, eh? Now, if there are training or compensation fees, it gets a bit more complicated.

The essence of the training compensation rules is this: when a player registers as a professional for the first time in a country other than the one where he did his training, the club with which he registers is responsible for paying training compensation to every club that contributed to his training, starting from the season of his 12th birthday through the season of his 21st birthday. Moreover, training compensation is due on a player’s subsequent international transfer through the season of his 23rd birthday to his immediately prior professional club.

The original building of La Masia, FC Barcelona’s world renowned academy. In 2011, La Masia was moved to a new base in Barcelona’s purpose-built training complex, La Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, which is located in the suburban town of Sant Joan Despi. (Photo by YANN BERNAL, AFP/Getty Images)

The basic premise of solidarity payments is that it applies any time that a professional player is transferred (whether on a temporary loan or on a permanent transfer) from a club in one FIFA member association (i.e., a federation) to a club in another federation during the course of his contract, a fee not to exceed five percent of the transfer fee is to be withheld and paid by the club receiving the player proportionally to the club(s) involved in that player’s training during the years between his 12th and 23rd birthdays. Unlike training compensation, which is only paid for players who have not yet reached the end of their age-23 season, solidarity payments continue for the duration of a player’s professional career, any time the player is transferred between federations while under contract and a transfer fee is paid.

For a more in-depth look at these important FIFA regulations, please use the following link to my web page:

Training Compensation And Solidarity Payments

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer

A Genius in Full Bloom, Lionel Messi Lifts Barcelona

April 16, 2019 by Rory Smith – New York Times

BARCELONA, Spain — Still, they gasp. Still, after all this time, after all he has done, long after his brilliance should have become commonplace, after our expectations should have been adjusted and our capacity for surprise dulled, Lionel Messi can still draw the breath and dazzle the eyes and bring a crowd of nearly 100,000 to its feet.

Even when everything is in flux — when a bright, young Ajax teamcan go to Turin and beat wily old Juventus, when Cristiano Ronaldo can miss out on the Champions League semifinals, when guards seem to be changing and eras ending — a 3-0 second-leg quarterfinal victory over Manchester United featured soccer’s one great, enduring constant: Messi beaming, Barcelona winning, opponents left staring, hollow and glassy, at a genius that defies belief.

This is, at a rough estimate, the fourth iteration of Messi, the latest in a series of upgrades. It is easy to forget, given the scale of his achievements since, that the Messi who first emerged all those years ago was a winger: the Messi who was considered too small, too slight, who roamed Barcelona’s right flank, away from the monsters of the middle.

It was Pep Guardiola who took the risk, demoting two of the great strikers of their generations, Samuel Eto’o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, so that Messi might play centrally. It was a move so radical, so unorthodox, that a term had to be coined — or at least borrowed from Italy — to explain it. Messi’s first rebirth was as a “false 9.”

There is no easy distinction between eras, no clear and distinct cauterization, no moment when he stopped being one thing and became another. By the time he picked up his fourth and most recent Champions League trophy, in 2015, he was something else again: a striker and a schemer combined, a 9 and a 10, with Neymar to one side and Luis Suárez, his friend and neighbor, to the other.

What is remarkable is that each version has been, arguably, the finest exponent of that position in history; each and every one has been captured by a moment that confirms his mastery of that role, that suggests he had completed that particular task and was ready for something new.

Messi the winger: the goal against Getafe, in 2007, when he darted and dived around, between and at one point through five players before scoring. Messi the false 9: the header in the 2009 Champions League final, perhaps, the goal that proved he was really not a false anything. Messi the one-man attack: his second goal against Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in the 2015 Champions League semifinal, the one when, in what seemed like slow motion, Jerome Boateng collapsed onto his back, his head spinning and his feet bound by Messi’s deft brilliance.

And now we come to this Messi: the Messi that defies categorization. Looking back, it is tempting to wonder if this was always going to be his final transformation, his ultimate metamorphosis, his highest and purest form: listed as an attacker, alongside Suárez and Philippe Coutinho, but no longer hidebound by such banal ideas as fixed positions.

Messi, after sussing out Manchester United’s weaknesses, scored two goals on Tuesday.CreditSergio Perez/Reuters

Messi, after sussing out Manchester United’s weaknesses, scored two goals on Tuesday. CreditSergio Perez/Reuters

Messi, now, at 31, goes where he likes, when he likes, and Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona flexes its shape to fit in the gaps. He spends the first 10 minutes or so of every game ambling around, working out where the opposition is weakest — it took him some time against this version of Manchester United — and then stations himself in whatever position he thinks will cause most damage. His teammates make the necessary adjustments, and he gets to work.

It is impossible to know whether this Messi has already recorded one of those defining moments. Perhaps it will, in time, prove to have been that chip against Real Betis a few weeks ago, the ball floating for an age before arcing over the line. It is one of the hallmarks of Messi’s greatness that so much of it is so serene, so peaceful. There is rarely any anger to his play: more the ruthless grace of Roger Federer than the explosive strength of Rafael Nadal. He caresses his passes and strokes his shots, control always prized above power.

The other is that he does not abuse his ability: He rarely indulges himself with impossible shots from distance, seeking headlines and limelight and acclaim. His software is now sufficiently sophisticated that he can seemingly calculate the odds of any given decision: He shoots only when that is the correct decision.

His first goal here on Tuesday was a case in point. He nutmegged Fred on the edge of United’s box — not because it drew the biggest gasp from the crowd or because it showcased his genius, but because it was the simplest route to the spot, just outside the penalty area, from which he could whip the ball around David De Gea. (His second goal does not warrant such examination — a soft shot that De Gea, uncharacteristically, fumbled: Even the greats are allowed to get lucky.)

Maybe that goal will prove to be the high-water mark of this version of Messi; maybe it is still to come. He produces brilliance with such astounding frequency that only with hindsight — and a considerable amount of it, too — is certainty possible.

An example: if Messi had been able to finish off a run, late in the first half, that took him past three United midfielders, the referee Felix Brych, and left Phil Jones twisted and turned and tortured, his first goal would have seemed fairly ordinary, by his standards; so, too, if he had managed to convert an impromptu scissor kick in the second.

The question, now, is how far that brilliance can carry Barcelona. An eighth Spanish title in 11 years is nearly secure already — a run of domestic success unparalleled in the club’s history — but a first Champions League semifinal appearance since 2015 is, arguably, of greater significance.

As long as Messi, this latest Messi, is there, however, they may not matter. He can cover for a multitude of sins. He can be enough, all on his own. Those who stand in his way know that only too well. Guardiola was told, earlier this year, that his Manchester City was the favorite for the Champions League. No, he said, not at all: “Whoever has Messi, they are the favorites.”

He knows what he can do, what he continues to do, what he always does. He knows that nothing, when it comes to Messi, can be considered a surprise.

Note: A version of this article appears in print on April 17, 2019, on Page B13 of the New York edition with the headline: Genius in Full Bloom For Messi and Barcelona.

https://nyti.ms/2V8f2Iw

Messi simply on another level as Barcelona cruise to semifinals.

Miami, Fla. (Wednesday, April 17, 2019)

Going to Barcelona for a Champions League quarterfinal return leg match at the Estadio Camp Nou against Fútbol Club Barcelona was never going to be an easy task. It proved impossible for Manchester United. with Lionel Messi on a mission, Barça shredded United 3-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate, to advance to the semifinals of Europe’s top competition.

United had arrived at Camp Nou having lost the opening leg at home at Old Trafford 1-0; a game in which it did not have a single shot on target, and hoping for a miraculous victory like the one the club managed to pull off twenty years ago, in the Champions League final, when current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored the winning goal in stoppage time against Bayern Munich.

Leo had other ideas, however. In the opening leg, Messi had his nose bloodied by the arm of Chris Smalling in a collision that Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde likened to being “run over by a truck.”

There would be none of that last night. Playing at his best, his first goal was sheer Messi magic, as he ghosted past a defender and bent the ball just inside the upright. His second goal was more of a blunder by Manchester goalkeeper David de Gea, as the ball slipped underneath his body and into the net, but a goal nevertheless.

“The image (we gave) was spectacular. This is who we are,” Messi said. “I was fortunate the first went in, I struck it hard and just inside the post. I needed a little more luck on the second. The important thing is that we achieved our goal. We have taken one more step (to the title).”

Leo Messi

Barcelona faced a scare early in the match. The Red Devils looked ready to play at the outset, and Marcus Rashford barely missed scoring, with his shot hitting the crossbar. Then it was Messi time. Instead of shying away from contact, Messi initiated it with his defence to set an example for his teammates after they were caught off-guard.

Messi out-muscled Ashley Young to win the ball near the right touchline. He then brought the home crowd to its feet as he poked the ball through the legs of Fred, sped along the edge of the box, and drove a left-footed strike around a diving De Gea.

Messi got his double soon with more than a little help from De Gea, as the goalkeeper mishandled a tame shot and the ball slipped underneath him into the net.


David de Gea in disbelief after his blunder saw Lionel Messi score a second goal for Barcelona against Manchester United. Photo: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Messi went close to setting up another goal just before halftime. He made Phil Jones dizzy by changing the direction of his dribble three times. He then played Jordi Alba wide, for the left back to cross the ball to Sergi Roberto arriving at the far post. De Gea made a superb save to block his point-blank effort on the line. The second half saw more Messi, as he nearly scored on an impromptu scissor kick that went slightly wide of the net.

The doblete by Messi were his ninth and tenth goals in the Champions League this season, making him the leader in that category in Champions League play this season.

Philippe Coutinho added the third goal of the soiree with a superb curling strike from long range in the 61st minute to cap arguably the best performance by the former Liverpool player since joining Barcelona just over a year ago. He celebrated that goal by placing his fingers in his ears to mock the critics who have been talking about him all season.

Messi orchestrated the attack that ended in Coutinho’s goal, playing a long ball down the left to Jordi Alba, who knocked it back to the Brazil midfielder who then beat De Gea from distance.


If you give him space and timing around the goal he will create chances and score.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

“Messi and Cristiano (Ronaldo) have been the best players in the world for the past decade,” Solskjaer said. “And he showed why we think that and why he has won so many titles. If you give him space and timing around the goal he will create chances and score.”

“We started well in the first 15 minutes and I thought, ‘We’ve got something here,'” Solskjaer said. “But then they scored twice in four minutes. … You could see the difference of the teams tonight. The quality of their finishing was absolutely outstanding.”

The goals ended Messi’s bizarre scoring drought in Champions League quarterfinals that had reached 12 matches dating back to 2013. In total “the Goat” has 45 goals in 42 games through all competitions this campaign.

Cristiano Ronaldo, however, will not be joining Leo Messi in Europe’s final four. Ajax Amsterdam stunned Ronaldo’s Juventus 2-1 to progress to the semifinals in Tuesday’s other match. Donny van de Beek equalised cancelling out Ronaldo’s opener before Matthijs de Ligt scored the winner as the Dutch visitors eliminated Juve to advance 3-2 on aggregate. A story in its own right, Ajax are in the seminfinals of the Champions League for the first time since 1997.

The fans in Barcelona, whom for so long viewed Ronaldo as the primary nemesis when he was with Real Madrid, celebrated the Ajax goals when they were announced on the video monitor.

Continue reading Messi simply on another level as Barcelona cruise to semifinals.

Evoking An Image of Wings In Flight, This Will Be Miami’s Theatre Of Dreams

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami releases stunning new preview of home stadium at Miami Freedom Park.

Miami, Fla. (Tuesday, April 9, 2019) – by Kenneth Russo

Miami has always been about the dream. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was no stranger to Miami. He liked Miami because of its promise and opportunity:

“We really look at Miami as the original dream, and try to go back to that notion — the promise of if you’re good and you do right in your life and you work hard, we all end up in Miami.”

Anthony Bourdain, 2015.

Inter Miami CF’s dream was shared in a little more detail today:

The club today released new renderings of its intended permanent home at Miami Freedom Park. Beginning with an image of a great white heron in its native South Florida habitat, the video transforms as the bird takes flight, transforming itself into a sweeping, majestic, laser-lighted canopy of the stadium. One glance makes it clear that this stadium will check all the boxes: the latest (presumably 5G) technology, beautiful sight lines, a massive wall of a supporters’ section, luxury suites, clubs and entertainment options before and after a match.

Prior to the vote in November, in which a majority of Miami city voters approved allowing the city to negotiate a lease of the land needed for building both the stadium and adjacent Miami Freedom Park, the words spoken were “this won’t just be a soccer stadium.” And they were right. This is a transformation, a vision, and the best is yet to come.

They call it “the beautiful game,” and in Miami the game won’t be the only thing they call beautiful. It takes a lot to get this town’s attention, and in Miami, sizzle and sexy are what sells. The new permanent home stadium for Inter Miami CF promises to deliver these attributes to an international fan base that is knowledgeable and passionate for fútbol.

A pure masterpiece, this stadium is the pièce de résistance befitting of MLS’ first global club.

Images courtesy of Inter Miami CF

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer

Chicago Fire Negotiating Stadium Lease Buyout And Possible Rebrand

Chicago Fire News:

Will There Be An Early Termination Of The Lease at SeatGeek Stadium?

According to the sports publication The Athletic, citing multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations, Chicago Fire and Major League Soccer are in discussions with the Village of Bridgeview to arrive at an early termination of the lease with the municipality, thus allowing the team to move out of SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois.

The discussions began last year and are ongoing, and it is unclear what the potential price of the buyout would be.

Some details of the deal first emerged on social media via the Twitter account of a Fire fan, James Vlahakis. From 2013 to 2016, he worked as outside counsel for the Fire while at the firm Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP. His Twitter activity suggests that he is a passionate fan who is sometimes critical of the team’s management.

[Attorney Vlahakis is currently suing the team and president Nelson Rodriguez in an unrelated matter alleging assault, discrimination, conspiracy, and malicious prosecution.]

The Fire Soccer Club are currently in the fourteenth year of a stadium lease that was signed in 2005 and runs through the end of the 2036 season.  An agreement to buyout the lease would allow the Fire to relocate to Soldier Field in downtown Chicago.

The club refused to provide any details, telling The Athletic: “We don’t comment on social media speculation from individuals outside the organization.”

One source indicated that Chicago billionaire and Fire minority owner Joe Mansueto has been instrumental in these negotiations. It is always difficult to obtain any financial date from the respective clubs making up MLS, which is organized as a limited liability company. It is known however that Fire majority owner Andrew Hauptman sold a 49 percent ownership stake to Mansueto for an undisclosed amount in 2018.

Mansueto is an influential player in the Chicago commercial real estate arena, having bought the historic Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago for $255 million last year.

Further evidence of the team’s desire to leave Bridgeview comes from the fact that public records show the Fire have been active in dealings with the City of Chicago in recent months. For example, lobbyist filing data shows that, “Chicago Fire Soccer Holdings, LLC” paid three lobbyists from the firm Fletcher, O’Brien, Kasper & Nottage a total of $72,000 for activities between October 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018, seeking administrative action from the mayor’s office regarding “real estate matters.” 

The Fire also declined to comment on the lobbyist activity. 

Bridgeview, Illinois And The Lease

The Village of Bridgeview is located some 24 kilometres (15 miles) outside of the downtown Chicago area, and depending on the time of day and where one is coming from, can be difficult to access. Google Maps, SeatGeek Stadium/@41.831867,-87.8385522.

For this reason, escaping from the lease at SeatGeek Stadium would be an important boost in the team’s ability to reach new fans. The Fire’s stadium in Bridgeview is also not easily accessed via public transportation — it requires a train ride to Midway Airport followed by a bus ride from the airport to the stadium, a commute that takes over an hour from the city. It is also a traffic-filled 45-minute drive from most places in the city.

MLS is a party to the stadium lease, a practice that was commonplace with third-party leases in the early days of MLS, but is no longer a regular practice. Rumours circulated that other league owners will be contributing toward the buyout of the SeatGeek Stadium lease, but league sources said there are no plans for other team owners to contribute. Three separate sources familiar with ownership discussions said no such arrangement has been presented to owners of other MLS teams, and that it would be unlikely other teams would agree to such a plan. 

In an interview with Sports Illustrated last month, MLS commissioner Don Garber hinted a move back to Soldier Field could be in the works for the Fire. The team played at Soldier Field from its inaugural season in 1998 through 2002, then again from 2003-06 after a brief hiatus during the NFL stadium’s renovations. SeatGeek Stadium opened midway through the 2006 season. 

“We were playing in Soldier Field and we ended up going into a stadium that is not downtown, does not have the things around it that many of our other urban parks do,” Garber said on the Planet Futbol podcast. “And if things could work out properly maybe we end up back at Soldier Field at some point.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber

But while moving into the city of Chicago would certainly help access a millennial demographic that has been vital to the growth of MLS around the country, it should not be considered a cure-all for a team that has struggled mightily on the field. The Fire have finished ninth or tenth in the Eastern Conference in four of the past five years, creating a mix of frustration and apathy even within its most diehard fanbase. And while the team has spent more on its on-field product, signing players like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic, it lacks in several areas of infrastructure and support, including training grounds and a scouting network.

The lease with the Village of Bridgeview imposes a significant restriction, one which prohibits the Fire from playing any MLS home games outside of Bridgeview, without the express permission of the Village. According to two sources, MLS commissioner Don Garber flew to the Chicago area to meet with Bridgeview mayor Steven Landek ahead of the MLS All-Star Game announcement in 2017 in hopes of securing a Chicago Fire regular season match at Soldier Field during that season. League officials held off on an announcement that the All-Star game would be held at Soldier Field in order to pair that announcement with the Fire game, and team and league officials were optimistic a deal had been struck. In the end, however, Bridgeview declined to allow the game.

Chicago-Fire-Default-2

Possible Rebrand Also In The Works?

“We’re still in that process, and I think refresh is the word we like.”

Nelson Rodriguez, Fire GM

Multiple sources confirmed meetings have also been held regarding a potential team rebranding, though no decision has been finalized on whether that will include a new team name. Vlahakis’ tweet indicated that the Fire would rebrand as “Chicago City Football Club” as part of the move back downtown.

Fire general manager and president Nelson Rodriguez said on the record in a roundtable discussion with reporters last summer that the team has considered a brand “refresh.”chicago-fire-logo-png-chicago-fire-logo-vector-299

“We’re just still in that process, and I think refresh is the word we like,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not an overhaul, it’s not a major change. It’s an iconic badge. There’s a lot of great history at the club, a lot of great work from people that came before (COO John Urban) and I arrived, which we think should be honored. We will continue to honor that, but times change, there needs to be a little bit of an evolution and I think we need to hone in on what our voice is for today, and that’s what we’re working on.”

The Fire, which won MLS Cup in its inaugural season in 1998, holds a historic place in the league’s history. Conversely, the brand has almost no resonance in the city of Chicago, where game days are mere blips on the radar of most city residents and bigger media outlets in the market do not provide regular coverage. That lack of market penetration, paired with the dreadful management of a franchise that has made the playoffs just twice in the last nine seasons, has created a massive problem for the league as a whole. MLS, which is eyeing a new media rights deal in 2021, needs to remedy its lack of interest in the third-largest media market in the country.

A Fire rebrand would follow the model set by the MLS franchise in Kansas City, which rebranded from the “Kansas City Wizards” to “Sporting Kansas City” in 2010. That rebrand, paired with a new stadium opened in the summer of 2011, has been one of the success stories in MLS. That rebrand and new stadium, however, was buoyed by the consistent success of the team and charismatic coach and Sporting Director Peter Vermes, supported by a large infrastructure investment on the part of the investors owning the team. Kansas City’s MLS  franchise, which won an MLS Cup as the Wizards in 2000, stands out as one of the league’s few “original 10” teams that experience success in their home market.

Before And After:  Kansas City Rebrand

Kansas_City_WizardsSporting_Kansas_City_logo

 

 

 

 

Other MLS original clubs have struggled to keep pace with recent expansion teams, including two other teams that have rebranded: FC Dallas, originally the Dallas Burn, and the New York Red Bulls, originally the New York/New Jersey Metrostars. The Red Bulls, while a success on the field and with a top-class stadium, have not seen that translate in its attendance figures. Other MLS original franchises that are struggling to make a big impact within their market include the New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids and Columbus Crew. Columbus nearly relocated before being saved by new ownership, while Colorado and New England, like Chicago, have struggled in most seasons over the past decade; New England has just three playoff appearances since 2010, Colorado has four, and the Fire have just two.

Those on-field struggles have showed themselves at the gate. The Fire has an average announced attendance of 15,723 over the past nine seasons, and has averaged just 11,029 in three home games this season, the worst in MLS—just below Colorado and New England.

A chance to get back into the city could provide a jumpstart, but negotiations with Bridgeview have been tricky in the past. One source pointed to a recent example to show that no deal is done until the papers are signed.

Reviews of SeatGeek Stadium on Yelp

Bienvenidos al ‘Show’ de Pozuelo

Toronto Football Club adquirió a Pozuelo, quien tuve un partido espectacular en su debut.

La llegada a Toronto fue complicado.

Han sido unos meses complicados para Alejandro Pozuelo, quien decidió concluir su aventura en el Genk belga, y finalmente llegó oficialmente a Toronto FC recientemente.

Ahora con el club canadiense, antés de su debut ante NYCFC, solo esperaba poder hacer su debut junto a sus nuevos compañeros el viernes. Dijó, “Puedo estar listo para el viernes, si el entrenador quiere”, Pozuelo le dijo a la página oficial del club.

First Press Conference of Alejandro Pozuelo at Toronto.

Todos esperaban que Alejandro hagaría su debut ante los neoyorquinos y club tienía “confianza que Pozuelo está en un estado físico apropiado para jugar sin ninguna limitación”. Hablando de la vida en Toronto Pozuelo dijo, estoy muy encantado en estos primeros días. “Estoy muy feliz”.


“Toronto es la mejor opción para mi. “He estado aquí apenas unos días, pero la gente en la ciudad y en el club son familia. Es como en España, la gente es interesante.”

Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC

“Mi esposa y mis hijos son lo más importante en mi vida”, añadió Pozuelo. “Me dan soporte cuando las cosas no van bien. Si mi esposa e hijos están felices, yo también lo estoy, y esta es la mejor ciudad para ellos”.

Anticipación Antes Su Primer Partido.

En el campo, Pozuelo no pudo esperar para ver acción. Estaba ansioso y hambriento por conseguir puntos, y ayudar a los Escarlatas a llegar a las alturas alcanzadas en 2017 cuando ganaron el histórico triplete.

“Una cosa importante para que yo llegara aquí, es que quieren ganar”, dijo Pozuelo. “Es importante. Tenemos que ganar, necesitamos jugar bien. El club tiene una muy buena filosofía”.

Partidazo En Su Debut

No pudo estar mejor en el día en el que se puso por primera vez la camiseta del Toronto en el terreno de juego.

Fue titular y, a los 29 minutos, ya demostró por qué lo habían fichado. Una gran asistencia para que Altidore inaugurar el marcador. Pura magia del ex del Betis.

Pero su actuación se iba a endulzar todavía más en la segunda mitad. Ha sido el último en llegar y ya fue el designado para lanzar el penalti que supuso el 2-0. Lejos de ponerse nervioso, el andaluz decidió lanzar ‘a lo Panenka’ para deleite de su afición.

No terminaría allí. El ‘show’ de Pozuelo no podría terminar de otra manera que de una manera grande. Recibió el balón en el borde del área y, cuando todos esperaban un disparo fuerte, decidió morder el balón al portero con un lóbulo casi perfecto. Como si se tratara de una pena máxima ‘a la panenka’.

Una actuación estelar en su estreno en la MLS. Pura magia que ya demostró durante su etapa en la Liga Española, en el Real Betis, donde dio sus primeros pasos como profesional.

Pozuelo had a sensational start to his Toronto career.