Welcome to Ottawa Mr. Garber, May I offer you Some Earmuffs? UPDATE: AMWAY to Sponsor SJ

Even as we speak - metaphorically - Commissioner Garber. accompanied by Major League Soccer President Mark Abbott, is sitting down in a rented room someplace in Ottawa (hopefully someone brought Danish) with the local movers and shakers to get the word on the elusive Eugene Melnyk MLS bid.

From the very beginning of the process, this has been the one bid that everyone has blown off. Only the seriously deranged collection of boobs who serve as "sportswriters" in Canada, and who think that ALL MLS expansion should occur North of the Border, even give The Ottawa bid the time of day.

It's a minuscule market in a barely accessible city. It's too close to Toronto and thus dosn't contribute much to a Canadian national footprint. There's not much they can offer commercially either, and anyway, Melnyk is an opportunist who never gave a damn about MLS until he woke up one morning and saw all those people packing BMO and decided he wanted to get him some of that.

On and on. This is the bid only a mother could love, and Mrs. Melnyk probably likes Vancouver better.

Yet, somehow, this bid keeps hanging around, as the expected nine cities turned into seven bids turned into six turned into five and, depending where St. Louis stands with their Rich Guy Recruitment Drive, may now really only amount to four viable bids.

Has Ottawa worked their way into the running somehow? Is there really a chance that they can edge past Miami (substandard building with plastic grass) Vancouver (60,000 seater with plastic grass) and Portland (Beau Breedlove) and grab a spot?

Boy, you sure do ask a lot of questions.

The answer is simple: I doubt it.

The reason is simple too: not only do they not have an existing stadium they can try and claim, with a straight face, is "perfect for MLS" like the others are doing, they have pretty much nothing at all.

Now in point of fact the city fathers seem to be leaning towards building some kind of a stadium. Unfortunately, it may be built for the CFL.

Not being much of a CFL fan - what the hell is a "Rouge" anyway? - I somehow missed the news that the Ottawa Rough Riders ceased to exist at some point, and thus of course also missed the fact that a group of uber-rich Ottawanians have gotten "conditional" approval to start it up again.

The condition? Ah, you're way ahead of me. It's of course a stadium. The CFL group is offering to kick in C$120 million for a huge redevelopment project in Landsdowne Park. In return they want the city to pony up for a major overhaul of venerable Frank Clair stadium, for a future home of the RR's.

The CFL says it wants a stadium deal in place by March.

Melnyk, on the other hand, has proposed a C$100 million soccer stadium in Kanaka, and he'd be pleased if the federal and provincial governments would cough up the money for it.

He says he'd share it with the CFL group. The CFL group has told him to go fly a kite, which is Melnyk's response to any offers to play in Frank Clair.

And of course MLS needs to make an expansion decision by March.

Just about the only thing everyone agrees about is that one of the two projects will indeed happen, but that there is no chance that both of them will.

And there it sits. Handicapping the race is difficult but the Rough Riders have a track record and MLS is much more speculative. On the other hand, nobody thought Melnyk could pull off an NHL team either, and yet there it is.

Where all this leaves us, heaven only knows. I guarantee that Donny the G will have offer up lots of happy talk about the wonderful bid proposal and the positive attitudes of government and the excitement that's building in Ottawa and blah, blah, blah.

What he'll really say to Mark on the plane home tonight is something else altogether. But for a bid that was supposed to be DOA, it's still hanging around when most of the rest are history.

The big news out of Seattle yesterday was their acquisition of Patrick Ianni from Houston for a conditional draft pick.

Lost in the shuffle was the Seattle's quiet jettisoning of Nik Besagno.

We all recall when RSL Coach John Ellinger used the first pick in the 2005 draft on a 16 year old Bradenton Brat who, we were told, was the next Freddy Adu.

Compounding the utter waste of the first pick in the draft is that it was an unusually fruitful year. Immediately after Besagno, the players taken were named Guzan, Barrett, O'Rourke, Ihelmu, Moor, Freeman and Parkhurst, any one of whom would look good in an RSL jersey right about now.

The only question is whether this was the worst #1 pick in league history, which would seem like a slam dunk except that Tahj Jakins and Steve Shak are there blocking the lane.

Still, Besagno has been making well over $100,000 a year ever since, and that's not a bad bankroll for a kid who just turned 20 years old.

Speaking of the draft, thanks to a tip from Buzz Carrick I checked with my super-secret inside MLS sources - well OK, I sent an email to someone nice that I met once - and there was indeed some extra player acquisition action after the end of the Superdraft.

Specifically, on Tuesday following the formal draft, every team was given two extra discoveries which they could use on undrafted players. As with all discovery bids, if two teams claimed the same player, the team with the lesser 2008 record got first dibs.

Most teams have never mentioned this, and the league itself never made an announcement. I'm sure there's a legitimate reason why they don't let us know these things as a matter of course, but I'll be darned if I can figure out what it is.

In an announcement that will launch a thousand jokes, the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer announced today that they have reached agreement with OFT-INDICTED, NEVER CONVICTED SOCIETAL PARIAH AMWAY as their shirt sponsor.

I have it on good authority that there is no truth to the rumor that before every match Double Diamond Distributor Frank Yallop will set up a whiteboard on the sideline and start drawing circles.