MLS Grand Poobah Don "Don't Call Me Cheetah" Garber told reporters at halftime of the All Star Game last night that an agreement has been reached BRINGING BRIAN MCBRIDE BACK TO THE US:
"It got resolved (Thursday)," Garber said of the ongoing talks to land McBride in MLS. "We'll announce something (today). Brian McBride will be in our league.
"It's taken us awhile to come up with a resolution that's fair," Garber said. "But that resolution is complete."
Some publications are pointing out that Donny the G did not use the word "Chicago" anywhere in his statement, but we have to assume that's the deal since Mrs. McB has apparently put her foot down regarding the Windy City, and a lovelier little foot you won't find much of anywhere.
What IS interesting is that, as the Commish said "It happened today". It certainly looks a lot like the league brass, all of whom were there in Toronto, finally got involved and did a little leaning.
As Garber said earlier, they didn't want to get involved and they hoped the teams could work it out between them, but in the end the league does still have tremendous power it can bring to bear if it wants to.
The new kinder, gentler MLS tries not to stomp around issuing mandates on team personnel issues - except if you're Columbus of course - but it can if it wants to, and I'm guessing someone finally pulled Mo aside and explained this to him.
In other league news the MLS Board of Governors - some people tend to forget that Garber is an employee, albeit one who makes well over a million bucks a year, and the BoG is who he answers to - formally approved the previously announced plan to expand the league to 18 teams by 2011.
All indications are that this number will be the cap for the foreseeable future, which ratchets up the pressure on the various groups who are now vying for only two spots, which is very likely the point from the league's point of view.
Canadian media reports are of course slathered from from to top to bottom with THIS MEANS WE'RE GETTING ANOTHER TEAM!!! MAYBE TWO TEAMS!!! YAY US!!!! baloney, but the key element, which no one is talking about, is TUCKED NEATLY AWAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WIRE PIECE:
League officials agreed Thursday to work with Toronto FC owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., as well as potential expansion candidates, to develop national commercial revenue streams to support expansion into Canada.
Ah yes, money.
While all of Canada sees this as some kind of national validation (although why being allowed to have a second team in the United States of Americas Div, 1 soccer league means that Canada has arrived eludes me) Major League Soccer wants to see the green.
"National commercial revenue stream" is of course another word for "Bigtime sponsorships".
Before MLS agrees to bring in another team from north of the border, they're asking them to bring in a big pile of cash. Expansion fees are nice but the league wants some steady income as well.
I have no idea what the prospects are or who the likely candidates may be, but "well, Budweiser sells beer in Canda too" isn't going to wash any more. It appears MLS is telling them that if they want in, then they'll need to raise the ante.
One other note from the festivities comes courtesy of our good friend Ives Galarcep, who had this yesterday:
One interesting rumor someone here passed along surrounds Toronto FC forward and John Carver doghouse resident Jeff Cunningham. Apparently Toronto FC has two connected locker rooms with one side for senior team members and another side for reserve team players. Apparently Cunningham has been moved to the reserve team locker room.
This comes on the heels of the trashing he gave Cunningham in his post-game comments to the press.
I know that I knock Carver around a bit, so this may just sound like more of the same. So mote it be.
But Carver is throwing a public hissy fit here, pointing his finger at Jeffo and handing him all of the blame for not beating Montreal.
I cannot recall a professional coach behaving this way, in any sport, ever. I'm sure there are examples, but this is simply disgraceful. Get mad, throw things, kick some chairs, cut the guy, whatever.
But you don't publicly humiliate a man in this fashion. It's an outrage and John Carver is proving himself to be a classless, petty, vindictive jerk.