Ahead of the MLS Cup Final, Don Garber held his annual state of the league conference call with MLS journalists. He was thrilled with the expected turnout for MLS Cup, so much so that he said the Home Depot Center is possibly adding seating even though that has yet to actually be confirmed. He also mentioned that Houston was bringing 1,500 away supporters, when earlier this week a number was announced that was half that figure.
That all goes to speak to a hard working Galaxy front office which has been inundated with phone calls for pretty much 72 hours straight. We can expect that the atmosphere at Home Depot Center will be electric. The issue, one might assume, is a sudden spike in casual interest and people with silly money; with the Galaxy core supporters also wanting in.
Talking about the league specifically, Garber was high on that fact that there are 23 designated players in league, up from 13 last year. The Galaxy have had four during the course of the year, and were able to be one of the one in those additional ten.
MLS continues to make the 20th team project a priority; expansion is still a focus. "New York Cosmos not a front runner, there was never a front runner," said Garber. He is in discussions with an ownership in Florida, Las Vegas, Detroit. The consensus on the Florida group seems to be that it'd be Orland, Florida; which makes sense for a lot of reasons. Orlando City SC plays in USL Pro Division, and plays their home cames at the Citrus Bowl. The Citrus Bowl still hosts two Bowl Games in the winter, but the UCF Football team has moved out meaning the Orlando club would not be in a Houston Dynamo situation. They'd have the stadium all to their selves.
Orlando City SC later confirmed they were the group that met with Don Garber today.
Yes, we did meet with Commissioner Garber today. We are the Florida group he mentioned in the State of the League address.
11/10/11 12:48 PM
I'll even go so far to say that I hope Orlando gets the 20th MLS team. Do you agree? Who's your favorite for MLS-20?
On the new stadiums, Don Garber said, "We're ahead of schedule in Houston and a bit behind schedule in Montréal but we're confident we'll be able to play half the season". Looks like Montreal is going to be in either a Vancouver Whitecaps situation or a Sporting Kansas City situation.
Don Garber said that MLS will be going to a 34 game unbalanced schedule. This means that we're going to see more regional games and fewer cross country. MLS has been playing a double round robin for the last two years, but now will revert to unbalanced to alleviate travel concerns. "Typical European club travels 5,000 miles, Vancouver Whitecaps traveled 60,000". Whitecaps traveled more than Man United who went to the final of the European Champions League. Garber also mentioned the Playoff format is being reconsidered (once again).
Garber was high on David Beckham's return, but also realistic. "I hope to have him back. I don’t know if I expect to see him back. David has delivered on all aspects". Certainly MLS will make a push to retain his services, but Beckham is going to have silly money thrown at him from several of the top soccer leagues. Not silly like Cristiano Ronaldo, but silly for a 36 year old midfielder.
The only black mark on the call was DC United. "I remain concerned and I am continually frustrated" by DC United's lease situation. DC United has the most expensive lease in MLS for outdated facility. "If that means they can’t get one in DC they have to move to another facility in the region, then I’ll support them". Garber even gave a shout out to the raccoon that lives in DC United's locker rooms.
Starting XI (3-4-3):
Jamison Olave, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant
Landon Donovan, Brek Shea, Brad Davis, David Beckham
Chris Wondolowski, Dwayne De Rosario, Thierry Henry