No matter what else happens with the Dynamo this season - and based on their games, 1-28-1 isn't totally out of the question - it will be a good year.
I know, until ground is broken, I shouldn't say anything. And yes, this was the year we learned officially that building a stadium doesn't mean profitability. Unless one assumes Don Garber was...how can one put this delicately...telling a larger truth about teams making money in soccer-specific stadiums. MLS stadiae tend to be smaller, and the tickets generally cheaper, than mainstream colisea, though. I think people who have seen soccer-specific stadiums as the end-all and be-all - people like me, in other words - might have been overstating the case.
So fine, an SSS doesn't make a team megaprofitable. It does mean the difference between existence and relocation, as San Jose fans have discovered once already. Perhaps Quakes fans could be forgiven for enjoying the anxiety Dynamo fans had to face over this issue, but I also think even San Jose fans would agree it's better to have a team, however mediocre, for years to come, than to have a winning team taken away.
(I mean, at least the Mutiny had the decency to have one of the worst years in MLS history before folding. What the '01 Fusion and '05 Quakes did was downright inconsiderate, if you ask me. Always leave them wanting less.)
So the Houston Dynamo will soon be on solid ground with a long, bright future.
Hopefully San Jose and DC United are next. Then what?
I suppose at some point I will finally lose my patience with the insanely popular Sounders and the maybe-popular-again-one-day Revolution playing on painted carpets, but the existence of those teams doesn't depend on moving out of their dad's house.
The Revs probably should, at this point. The Krafts will probably pay close attention to if, when and how quickly Kansas City becomes a success in Hogwarts (or whatever they end up calling the place...Missouri Valley Business Naming Rights Here Stadium, I imagine). Lamar Hunt and his control of Arrowhead Stadium, after all, were pretty much the big selling points of the Kansas City Wiz being established in the first place. The Wizards have survived the loss of both (and Miklos Molnar, too!). If the Wizards become the biggest thing in Kansas City since selling ax handles at inflated prices to naive gold prospectors, I can't help but think that Kraftwerk would be strongly tempted to go a similar route, or sell to someone who would.
The Sounders - well, they'd have to drive away fans at a Revolution-esque clip in order to consider changes on that scale, so enjoy the Jones Soda.
And then there's Chivas USA. This is usually the point where I go into full "delendo Chivas USA est" mode - and they should be delendoed, too, the sooner MLS scrubs all traces of their existence from their history, the happier I'll be - but they might have an even more improbable future. Come with me now on a journey through time and space.
Turns out MLS owners aren't just building MLS stadiums. Yes, I know, for the most part "Los Angeles NFL stadium" is the perpetual motion machine of sports architecture.
But combine that story with this one, and a picture forms. Phil Anschutz and Stan Kroenke conspire to take the Rams away from St. Louis.
There's more. Dad left baby in car while he went to strip club. Man admits hoax calls, including rape by whale. Sorry, I was reading the links on the side of that last link while looking for where I saw this next bit. What the hell kind of Sodom on the River is St. Louis these days, anyway?
Anyway, per this link from Dave Krieger of the Mercury News - the St. Louis media establishment was too frightening for me - if Stan Kroenke wants the Rams, he's going to have to do something with his other two teams, the Nuggets and the Avalanche.
To rub salt in the wound of soccerphiles, Krieger's counterexample of the NFL's rules against cross-ownership reads like this:
You'd think it would be hard to miss 35,000 people in neon green, but Krieger managed it. The Glazers adventures with Manchester United aren't even mentioned.
There might simply be an unspoken "besides soccer" going on with the NFL. An optimist might be forgiven for hoping, though, that this means Kroenke will hand over or sell the Rapids to someone who doesn't stink at running a soccer team.
That's not all. I realize wacky news items in Football Manager games are a comedy cone of silence, but swear to God, in one game the Galaxy were proud to announce they were building their own stadium - a 35,000 all-seater (no kidding?) called "Los Angeles Stadium."
An NFL stadium would seat more than that, of course...but not that much more. Luxury and corporate boxes, plus the hopes of keeping ticket prices nice and high, plus the fact that even in downtown Los Angeles there are only so many things you can tear down before someone complains - this won't be a Jerry Jones Maracanã.
So, we have Anschutz Entertainment building an NFL stadium, along with Phil's very good friend Stan Kroenke, who will very soon own an NFL team. Kroenke does the obvious, and moves said team to said stadium. What are the repercussions?
If people notice the Wizards making a go of the post-Lamar Hunt era, well, they've certainly noticed the Sounders making a pile of money in an NFL stadium. Assuming the Galaxy fan base grows to what it could be, Phil and Tim might be strongly tempted to move the Galaxy to groundshare with their NFL team, especially if fellow MLS owner Stan also makes money on the deal.
Meanwhile, bereft of Stan Kroenke's leadership, the Rapids somehow manage to soldier on, but they are so distracted by their sense of loss and emptiness they only manage to win two trophies a year in front of a packed stadium.
St. Louis turns to ACSTL for its sports needs, and Steve Ralston becomes the most famous man in Missouri. What do you mean, baseball? The Browns left YEARS ago, stupid!
And Chivas USA becomes the primary tenant in the Home Depot Center.
...nah. It'll never happen. "Los Angeles Rams"? Ridiculous.
You know what? You've read this far, you clearly don't have a problem with me being self-indulgent...so why don't I just have dessert while I'm here.
What's this? Oh, a heartfelt apology from the guy who lifted my bit from a couple of years ago. Well, okay, that's really very nice of him, actually. I think I'll read the whole post and see what....
....you know...call me Mr. Liney Readbetween...but I'm not entirely sure that apology was REALLY heartfelt.
I'd make fun of him having two shots at "copyright," and bungling both...I mean, big surprise, it's not a word he's familiar with...but I'm too sad to make jokes right now.
....besides, if I do make a joke, I'd have to worry about it being stolen....