Daily news roundups

News roundup: Promotion/relegation argument moves to CAS

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Chris Pontius is second on the team in key passes per game and second in the entire league in aerial balls won, but he has yet to score. I’ve suggested it numerous times before, but why not give him a chance at the CAM? He can’t be worse than the Union’s other options.

Rosenberry and the rest of the sophomores are caught in the dreaded slump.

McCarthy and Blake have a great relationship.

Why to watch this weekend’s game. The biggest one? They’re at home, where their form has been significantly better.

After the game, stick around to watch the Union’s Special Olympics Unified Team take on Dallas’s.


The story of the original Bethlehem Steel and the man who has worked to tell their whole story.

Bethlehem’s weekly conference call.


Miami FC (NASL) and Kingston Stockade FC (NPSL) have filed a lawsuit in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in an attempt to force the USSF to adopt an open promotion/relegation system. Don’t get your hopes up.

A cool look inside the implementation of VAR. Here’s a primer on how VAR can be used.

Mexico and its players do not respect MLS.

Seattle signed Spanish attacker Victor Rodriguez.

The USL regular season is expanding.

Around the globe

Briana Scurry became the first black woman elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Neymar’s transfer to Paris-St. Germain doesn’t really make sense. It has become official, but La Liga has petitioned FIFA to look into a potential Financial Fair Play violation.

Highlight of the day

Petar Bockaj scores a free kick to help Osijek knock PSV Eindhoven out of the Europa League.


  1. the founder of Kingston Stockade is an interesting fella. Founded foursquare and another social startup, Dodgeball. He’s a pretty genuine soccer guy, too. While he and Silva have a pretty good argument — rules are rules — my guess is FIFA doesn’t mind giving the states a pass due to the sports arguably weak position relative to football in other countries.

    I personally would love to see pr/rel in this country. But yeah, I’m not holding my breath.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      In my opinion, this lawsuit, while hopeful at best, is not so much about instituting promotion relegation based on a decision from CAS as it is about displaying solidarity (pun intended).
      The lawsuit, is an attempt to strengthen the conviction of lower division sides to continue growing to continue investing and to continue building a base upon which an entire nation’s pyramid can stand. Dennis Crowley’s great argument on American Soccer, again and again, is to keep growing the underbelly as it is from this place the groundswell will become so strong either the pyramid will open or an entirely new pyramid will emerge.
      In effect he’s stating along with Silva to all the potential suitors of club building…. keep it up. We are here and we are getting stronger and we are not going away which is exactly what needs to happen.
      The USL and NASL DII shared status muddies the issue even further as now there is legitimate arguments to be made by those ‘big’ clubs that are not chosen to be part of the MLS club to find their own way to a top level DI status if that is what is meant to happen. US Soccer has tried to force this world game into an American Box and the box is getting smaller and smaller and shit is falling out the top more and more…. either the box will bust or a new box will be needed to fill with the shit.
      …If this continues, it won’t matter wether MLS is ultimately forced to give up its stranglehold on DI, the [pyramid in 15 – 20 years will be robust and will rise along side MLS and either MLS will stay doing its own thing or be forced to join.
      The staunch advocates against pro/rel typically come back to this notion of structure not being strong enough, meanwhile the structure underpinning all of US Soccer is growing every year.
      Hopefully, someday soon, Mike Piazza and Stuart Holden and Landon Donovan will begin building clubs here instead of overseas, while overseas players strangely are coming here to build clubs. Amazing.
      Anyway, this seems a logical direction for this entire narrative to play out. It is only a matter of time despite the protestations of let’d just keep it the way it is. Hopefully we get to see it. Either way, as the infrastructure under neath grows and the pressure mounts above, once again, it is my opinion in due time soccer in this nation will dwarf all other professional sports (and ‘they’ know this).

      • Interesting perspective. I agree that the lower divisions of the US Pyrmaid growing to the point where they can no longer be ignored. I suppose MLS’ strategy will be to try and absorb these clubs — like Cincy FC — before they get to that point. Perhaps MLS tries to beat the tipping point by creating it’s own 2nd tier within MLS. It’s going to be hard for MLS to give up it’s current structure. Contrary to Garber’s talk about losing money and investing stages, the League is making a lot of money and creating a lot more value. It’s going to be difficult to get it to change its structure. Next 20 years will be pretty fascinating.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Agreed Pete. It is very interesting in the next few years the USA likely will be the only country in the world with a closed pyramid… as the pressure is mounting more and more in Australia.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Most interesting is that MLS “insiders” former players, coaches, investors etc. are choosing to invest abroad instead of the US/Canada. Most damning evidence that the current structure is not sustainable.
        The projected growth – if you include the larger [much larger than MLS demo] who follow Liga MX and Euro – will very, very quickly outpace the traditional NFL & MLB dollars. This absolutely threatens the current ownership structure, which is made up of many NFL ownership groups. They truly do not want soccer in the U.S. to compete with their “main” project.
        In the end, PRO/REL will prevail. It’s just a matter if FIFA/CAS force USSF & MLS to implement the change, or – if the MLS ownership groups had any ambition – would implement a two or three tier structure themselves. In the short-term, the risk of relegation would be spread throughout 22 current D1 teams, and maybe 3-5 D2 teams, and there would not be much movement or prolonged stays in relegation purgatory. Most of the USL is made up of D1 affiliates anyhow. Maybe 15 teams in NASL & USL that are not affiliated with an MLS franchise.
        Critics make the argument out to be about the cost-adjusted risk of PRO/REL for the current MLS ownership group against NASL & USL ownership groups, but the real risk to these ownership groups is to their “core” portfolio holdings and entertainment market share of other sports and music entertainment – namely the NFL.

      • MLS is allocated essentially 4 positions in CONCACAF competitions based on their “Division 1” status (Supporter Shield winner, MLS champs, the other Conference champ plus the Open Cup Winner (essentially an MLS club)). I think MLS can be as exclusive as they want, but if they want the aforementioned benefits that come with being a first division, then something has to change. As a previous poster said, they can’t have a “stranglehold” on the first division title indefinitely.

      • The thing everyone misses on this is that the US isn’t like other counties. Our sports leagues make the most money already and that’s not changing any time soon. MLS looks at American sports leagues and sees how much the make and compares that to the rest of the world in soccer and says that American model is going to make as much or more than the world model and there’s not risk of relegation.
        Now I’m not saying I prefer this, I’m just saying follow the money to see what is going to happen. Maybe in 20 years the lower leagues will be able to compete with MLS and the narrative will be forced to change, but with the history of American soccer leagues I’m not holding my breath.

      • Jim Presti says:

        @Wayne. Don’t forget the Canadian Championship – similar to our Open Cup. The only non-MLS team that is even remotely competitive it Edmonton. So really MLS basically gets 5 berths.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        An interesting article… I don’t really share the opinion but found it intriguing: http://deadspin.com/is-mls-a-ponzi-scheme-1797509617

      • It’s not a Lawsuit. It’s a motion to get the CAS to arbitrate this issue between the parties filing the motion, and the USSF.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Thank you for clarifying. I’m not a lawyer and use legalese interchangeably which is lazy.

  2. MLS and US Soccer are no different than big pharmaceuticals and the FDA. All about getting kickbacks, while the other pushes their product.

    I don’t care about how much owners paid in franchise fees. Anyone who thinks every cent of that money was put back into the league or teams is drinking the Kool aid. If those owners who don’t want a open pyramid want out, then sell. Owners like Kraft and Sugarman are sitting back watching their stock grow, while serving shit sandwiches and expecting us to say “thank you very much for dinner sir.”

    • I always thought that there was an unholy alliance between the two of them. Thinking of the standard line coming from US Soccer implying that soccer would be one of the top sports in America, it’s amazing that they didn’t use some foresight in the formation of our pro leagues (or the pyramid structure). Strong leadership at US Soccer would’ve eliminated some of the mess we’re in. I get that MLS was formed in compliance with the FIFA mandate that we have a div 1 league up and running in return for being awarded the ’94 WC. But it seems that the federation gave the reins to MLS and never took them back. And it has to be added that MLS did a fantastic job of raising soccer to the level that it currently has. But now the landscape has changed (especially new ownership at the D2 and D3 levels) and some changes should be made. One thing that really bugs me is the fact that MLS always shuts down this conversation.

  3. Great story in SI about the historian of the Bethlehem Steel FC. Good reference here for the fascinating story about how he got involved, and the always interesting story of the Steel team.

  4. John P. O'Donnell Jr says:

    You guys are dreaming. In twenty years if, maybe, um this that and the other thing. In twenty years the league will be bigger than it is now and successful for over forty years. Facing the ground swell of minor league soccer. Minor league baseball is quite popular and MLB doesn’t have to worry.

    Solidarity and training compensation payments will probably be what they come to an agreement on as MLS wants to start benefiting from their academy’s. The easy way to shut the door is with the next television contract have networks create an out clause in the contract if pro/rel is implemented. By that time, most D2 teams would be facing humongous risk if they go up.

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