Monday, March 23, 2009

Expansion Thoughts

So last week, MLS announced teams' number 17 and 18 that will join MLS in the 2011 season. Those two teams are Portland and Vancouver, who ended up beating out St. Louis and Ottawa for those two spots. While both cities have current history with teams (Portland with the Timbers and Vancouver with the Whitecaps) that can date back in one form or another to the old NASL days, I'm disappointed in these two additions. While I'm happy that Seattle is in now, and in two years they'll have ready made rivals with Portland and Vancouver joining the league, it does little to make me really care about the expansion. To put it another way, I'm apathetic about it. Which is how I'm sure fans in Portland and Vancouver are going to feel about Kansas City.

It's disappointing for me as a fan because my hope was that St. Louis would be one of the two teams to get in this round. With Kansas City's current closest rival 8-9 hours away in either Colorado, Dallas, or Chicago, there's not an easy there and back trip for Wizards fans to take. Not only that, but each of those teams have their own teams that they are rivals with (RSL, Houston, and Columbus respectively). If St. Louis were in the league, KC would not only have a team that would be about 4 hours away, but they'd also have a team to potentially build some sort of rivalry with. Sure St. Louis has Chicago envy and would push for a rivalry with them, but just based on proximity they won't be able to ignore the team on the other side of the state. I'm sure both Portland and Vancouver will have great fan support, but it would have been nice to have gotten a team in the Midwest.

Beyond the want for St. Louis to have a team for rivalry purposes, it also would have been nice for geographic reasons. With Portland and Vancouver coming in, it'll give the West 10 teams and the East 8 teams. Don Garber has said in the past that the league plans to keep conferences, so that means that some team is going to need to move to the East to balance the two conferences. One would think this wouldn't affect the Wizards much, since they are already in the East. Instead I think it could greatly affect the Wizards based on the other rivals that could move. Right now, one of the Texas teams would be figured to be the team moving East. But why would MLS move either Dallas or Houston to the East and ruin their rivalry? Instead I see the league moving both Dallas and Houston to the East to keep their rivalry around, and in their place, KC will move back to the Western confernce, yet again ruining anything the team has developed with teams in the East. It's a frustrating double punch that the Wizards could possibly take with this round of expansion.


Anonymous said...

Not sure why moving Dallas would ruin their rivaly with Houston. They'd still play each other at least two times a season.

Unknown said...

Hey man - just wanted to say again how great it was to come down to KC last weekend. You guys were amazing hosts and it was by far the best away trip I've (and most other TFC fans I've talked to) ever been on. Thanks again for all of the hospitality (and the Hand of Justice) - and keep up the great work with this blog.

Unknown said...

And thanks for the scarf.

Mike said...

Anon, it's the preseption of it. With the two of them in different conferences you don't feel as close a rivalry as you do when you're in the same conference.

Ben, you're welcome, it was great to meet you.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I must say your blog is definitively my favorite. In years past I always checked the hillcrest blog but these last couple of months it feels too close to the Wizards staff people... meaning.... the game on Saturday was poor... you posted a great article with your opinion and thoughts (some that I agree and some I disagree) but it was nice to hear someone not try to make the game something it was not!
This post was also very interesting and you brought up good points. I too would of like to have seen St. Louis... but for the leuages sake it makes sense.

Portland.. I have the fortune of knowing a little about them and their town. The timbers have a great atmosphere in their games and a rivalry with Seattle is more profitable than KC-St Louis. Portland has the Blazers and that is it! they were dying for this.

Now Vancouver... this one really makes sense. Toronto FC is bringing in the big bucks... another Canadian team in the other coast $$$$$. Time will tell.

Again... great site keep it up and honest

szazzy said...

It's hard to pass up on the Vancouver and Portland fanbases. I would've liked St.Louis too for roadtrip reasons, but on the plus side, we can raid their market for academy players for the time being if we choose.