August 11, 2016
Trophies, Tennessee and transfers
By Brian Trusdell
Soccer News Net Contributor
Trying to fill the trophy case
Victories by New England and Dallas over Chicago and Los Angeles, respectively, in the Lamar Hunt/ U.S. Open Cup semifinals this week give both teams another chance to fill two of the barest trophy cases in all of MLS, even including all the expansion teams since the original 10 and the folded teams.
The September final sets up a clash that guarantees one of them will double their silverware haul in one night.
Dallas and New England have only one of the three major titles each in their 20-plus years in MLS (MLS Cup, MLS Supporters' Shield, domestic cup – U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship). Dallas won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – a tournament that bears its former owner's name – in 1997 while New England won the same crown in 2007.
Among the original 10, that's fewer than Columbus (four), D.C. (11), New York Red Bulls (two), Houston/San Jose (three), Los Angeles (eight) and Kansas City (six). It's equal to Colorado (one).
Among expansion teams, it's also fewer than Chicago (six), Montreal (three), Toronto (five) and Seattle (five).
Even Portland (which came into the league 2011), Salt Lake (2005), San Jose II (2008) and Vancouver (2011) have as many titles as Dallas and New England.
Only Philadelphia (2010), NYC (2015) and Orlando (2015) are without titles. Even folded teams Miami and Tampa Bay each won a Supporters' Shield.
Soccer come lately?
A little more than a month after Nashville was awarded a USL franchise, a few of the city's muckety mucks have decided it's time to start aiming for MLS.
The Tennesseean newspaper is reporting that a 22-strong Nashville MLS Organizing Committee, led by Bill Hagerty, the former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, is seeking an MLS club in the 25-28 round of league expansion.
Of course the 21st team has yet to join, and No. 24 – Miami doesn't have a stadium, name or official imprimatur to join MLS.
Haggerty, which the Tennesseean identifies as a possible Republican candidate for governor in 2018, says the group includes top executives from HCA, Bridgestone Americas, Nissan North America and Ryman Hospitality Properties, the NFL's Tennessee Titans and the NHL's Nashville Predators.
Nashville's bid would join the likes of Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio and Cincinnati. Tennessee has some soccer history: the old Memphis Rogues of the NASL and the Memphis Americans of the MISL.
But while not appearing to have soccer cred on its face, Nashville has hosted four U.S. national team games since 2006, all at the Titans' Nissan Stadium and have attracted larger crowds each time: 26,141 against Morcco in 2006; 27,959 against Trinidad in 2009; 29,059 against Paraguay in 2011; and 44,835 against Guatemala for a friendly last year.
When speaking to MLS execs earlier this summer though, the Tennessean said Haggerty mentioned the words “millennials” and “immigrants” – which probably got him more attention.
Country, Kid or career?
Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer has acknowledged reports that Greek first division club Olympiacos has inquired about a transfer this summer, but he also has said “it wasn't the right time” for him to move. Yet.
The 26-year-old English native came to the United States in 2009 to play for Tyler Junior College and then South Florida before his days with Orlando in the USL and KC.
As a native Briton, he has made no secret of one day playing in the English Premier League, but he also has several motivations to remain.
Among them are: he says he is months away from naturalization, which would allow him to play for the U.S. national team; he has scored 46 goals in four-plus seasons in MLS, clearly found a home in KC and said he enjoys thriving in a clearly growing league; and then there's the fact that his wife – U.S. national team forward Sydney Leroux – is expecting the couple's first child.
“I'm not really sure about my future, but I love it in Kansas City,” Dwyer told ESPN radio. “And I'm really enjoying myself.”
With 15 goals in 22 games this season, including seven goals in his last three matches, Sebastian Giovinco is enjoying the form he saw in his first MLS season that earned the MVP Award.
It's also earned him his second player of the week honor with his second three-goal game in in three weeks.
Giovinco, who was selected POTW three times in seven weeks last season including consecutively twice, spotted Toronto FC to a three-goal lead last week against New England before leading it to a 4-1 win.
It's moved him into the scoring lead in MLS, two ahead of NYC FC's David Villa, and seen Toronto climb into second place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind NYC FC with a game in hand.