Kick Off: Massive day for Orlando City FC as franchise's MLS, stadium hopes hinge on county vote
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today...
1. VOTE YES
MLS president Mark Abbott was in Orlando on Monday visiting the Orange County Commissioners, who will vote on Tuesday’s key stadium proposal. While there, he spoke to the Orlando Sentinel and revealed that should the vote go the way Orlando City SC hope, “The league will move quickly to finalize an expansion agreement.” Abbott was also keen to praise the way Orlando City have been operating: “I think they’re a model team and we’re looking forward to having them in MLS.” The Sentinel also took a look at what the vote will come down to in the final hours.
2. THE BLAME GAME
It’s been a rough few weeks for the Seattle Sounders, now winless in six games, with head coach Sigi Schmid shouldering much of the blame after Saturday's latest defeat. However, Sounders majority owner Joe Roth doesn’t agree with Schmid’s assessment: “This guy is the winningest coach in MLS history, I don’t think he’s at fault here,” he told SI.com. Meanwhile, could Seattle star signing Clint Dempsey be pursuing a January loan back to the Premier League ahead of next summer’s World Cup?
3. HOPING FOR HELP
After Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls, the Houston Dynamo are no longer in control of their own playoff destiny. It leaves them rooting for other teams and that’s not something that sits well with Houston defender Bobby Boswell: “It sucks, It hurts … but the only thing I can say is we still have a fighting chance.” They’re not the only ones, though. Here’s the breakdown of all the playoff and Supporters' Shield scenarios for teams heading into the final week of the season.
4. NESTA IS DONE … BUT NOT JUST YET
Alessandro Nesta has called time on his career and, after picking up a knock in Saturday’s victory over the Philadelphia Union, is unlikely to suit up against Toronto FC this weekend. Yet Nesta is hoping his teammates can take care of business so that his final appearance will be in the playoffs. Speaking to Goal.com, the Italian veteran was also quick to praise the commitment of his fellow countrymen on the team: “We come here with an important mentality, not to live a nice experience, but to win.”
5. GOING GREEN
It’s been a good few days for Diego Fagundez. Not only did he score the winner against Columbus, which puts his team in a strong position to secure a playoff space, but on Monday he received his permanent US residency. That is great news not only for Fagundez but also for the Revolution, as he now counts as a domestic player on the roster, freeing up another international spot. So what if Fagundez wants to become a citizen? Well, that’s where things get interesting.
6. NEW YORK GO DEEP
The Red Bulls lead the way in the race for the Supporters' Shield, but what has been the secret to the New York's success this season? "This is the deepest team I’ve ever been on in my career,” midfielder Dax McCarty said. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Luis Robles praised the acquisitions made by the front office in helping to build the squad. There is also definitely more of a team atmosphere this year, which the players and coach detail in this video.
7. AWARDS SEASON
As the season draws to a close, it’s almost time for awards season. While candidates for each category won't be announced until Nov. 21, we now know when each winner will be revealed. With that in mind, our editors have a go at predicting who will win Coach of the Year.
8. "WE'RE ALL INTERIM MANAGERS"
This offseason is likely to see a number of coaching changes, with at least two positions up for grabs and possibly more depending what happens next weekend. NBC’s ProSoccerTalk looks at some of the potential movers and shakers. FC Dallas are one of the two clubs definitely looking for a new boss, and here’s a look at some of the possible candidates for the job.
9. DC SUCCEED OFF THE FIELD
Orlando City’s stadium may be almost a reality, but there is still a long way to go in D.C. Critics of the proposal have recently laid out three priorities they want the city to address before going forward with the project. The progress surrounding a new stadium along with the Open Cup success have been two bright spots in what has otherwise been a historically bad season for D.C. United. Still, according to a report by Business of Soccer, the club did have some success off the field.
10. EASTERN DREAMS
While we wait on news from Orlando, Bradenton and the IMG Academy received approval to become an East Coast spring training hub for a number of Eastern Conference teams as well as a selection of clubs from around the world, such as Malmö FF from Sweden.
11. CANADA U-17
After a 2-2 draw against Austria in their opening game, the Canadian Under-17 national team can all but guarantee their progress to the next round with a win against Iran today. A key part of that success could be down to Toronto FC Academy member Jordan Hamilton.
12. STILL IN CHARGE
Bob Bradley will remain in charge of the Egyptian national side for their second World Cup playoff match against Ghana. While the odds are against Bradley’s team, the US coach remained defiant: “As long as we can still qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, we will keep fighting.” Bradley also gave an in-depth interview to The Associated Press with the same message. “It’s going to be difficult, but we still have 90 more minutes.”
13. MEXICO SQUAD
New Mexico boss Miguel Herrera has just one game to assess Mexico before their crucial playoff against New Zealand. Kyle McCarthy assesses the players Herrera has selected for his first squad. It’s a team that draws deeply from what the Club América boss already knows.
14. HOWARD ON THE MIC
Tim Howard is nowhere near thinking about retirement yet, but it seems the versatile US goalkeeper is already considering his options for the day he does hang up his gloves. We’ll get a first taste of what that could be like this coming weekend as Howard is set to co-commentate on NBC’s coverage of Chelsea vs. Manchester City. Howard and Arlo White together in the booth, what more could you ask for?
15. THE HEX
Monday saw the release of the final episode of the Hex, a vivid series from the folks at KICKTV chronicling the USMNT as they progressed through the final round of CONCACAF qualifying. If you missed any or all of the series, don’t worry. You can catch it all here and relive some of the memories from the past year.