I've been reading BigSoccer too much, because I was quite concerned that the focus on Vancouver meant that MLS wasn't going to announce an 18th team in the near future.
I should read press releases all the way through before I panic. Here's the release, by the way.
I'm starting to think we've lost this particular battle, particularly if MLS is intent on expanding to windswept, frozen, snowbound outposts in the very hinterlands of habitable earth, warmed neither by the sun or by the glow of civilization. ITTET, FieldTurf is cheaper. Well, it's also cheaper in good economic times. But if you're waiting for people to make decisions that cost them money, you'll be waiting on that bus for a while. (Even Drew Carey's drunken Seattle Sounders marching band. It was originally going to be a full symphony orchestra. True story.*)
Basically, if you've been mad about Seattle playing in Qwest For Fire Stadium, well, copy and paste those complaints, because you'll have another reason to be upset. Including holding important games there. I wouldn't be at all surprised if BC Place hosted an MLS Cup before BMO Field. (Presumably Vancouver fans won't demand US qualifiers...unless they're more clever than we thought....)
Oh, speaking of the US national team. Yes, several of our more northerly states continue to hold out against the federal government, and that goddam pansy Obama won't send a few divisions of Marines to avenge 1812. A century of humiliation is ENOUGH.
Maybe that's a topic for my other blog, letsconquerandenslavecanada.com. The point is, Vancouver cannot be relied on to prioritize US national team development. This goes against the stated mission of MLS from back in 1993 or whatever.
But, it does not go against the Three Laws of MLS Robotics. Which are, to recap:
1. Make money
2. See #1
The MLS Board of Governors sees Vancouver as a more profitable expansion site than every city in America. Might be a little tough to swallow, but it's their money.
Oh, I don't believe there's a ceiling on the number of potential MLS teams, FIFA or no FIFA. So I don't believe that Vancouver is costing Your Town a team, just a team that will kick off in 2011. However, if you are ticked off at MLS fielding teams that deprive Your Town, there's at least one redundant team in Los Angeles that I think makes a much peachier target than a business that just bet somewhere in the neighborhood of forty million donuts that they can get twenty thousand customers every two weeks.
In any case, congratulations to Vancouver. Now, what will they call themselves?
Let's have a contest here, to help pick a name.
1. In a nod to the soccer tradition of the city, Vancouver 86ers. Mascot:
2. For the traditionalists, BCFC. Mascot:
3. Vancouver Athletics, because if Philadelphia can't use it, someone's got to.
4. Vancouver Barcelona. For the sheer awesomeness of it.
5. We need another Eurosnob name. I got it. Vancouventus.