Shall we begin the countdown to the 2009 MLS season? First kick happens on Thursday, March 19th when Red Bull New York travels across the country to take on the expansion Seattle Sounders FC. That gives MLS fans just under two months to get ready for the 2009 season.
Speaking of Seattle, the club has just received some great news with regards to season ticket sales. Toronto FC had been the reigning kings of expansion team season ticket sales, selling over 14,000 for their inaugural season. Seattle has obliterated that number, having sold 18,600 season tickets to date.
Even if the club doesn't sell a single ticket for the rest of the season, their attendance will be better than 11 of 14 teams from last season. The Pacific Northwest loves their soccer and the Sounders should be thriving for years to come.
What's more, the Sounders are getting to use their local NFL stadium rent-free. Red Bull New York has a terrible lease at the Meadowlands, but Seattle gets to use Qwest Field without giving the Seahawks a dime.
All this, plus a $20 million shirt sponsorship deal with Microsoft (the club will wear the Xbox 360 logo) means that the team should be flush with cash and quickly become a contender. Exciting times for MLS.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have Red Bull New York. Originally slated to move into Red Bull Park at some point in the 2009 season, the team will now have to wait until 2010 to enjoy their new digs, thanks to some unfortunate construction delays.
It's fitting that the club with perhaps the most tumultuous history in MLS is forced to endure yet another road block, but unfortunate. The club in the largest media market in MLS will remain in a stadium that doesn't come close to meeting their needs as a franchise. One of the league's flagship franchises should be occupying a soccer-specific stadium.
Don Garber and co. need to do whatever they can to ensure that the stadium is ready no later than 2010. Another delay could be very costly to the club.
After the doom and gloom from New York, it's only fair to report some happier news...
Canadian fan-favorite Dwayne De Rosario has just signed a four-year contract extension with his hometown club, Toronto FC. De Rosario has long been one of the league's most exciting players, and Toronto FC hopes that he will be the cornerstone of the franchise for years to come.
Landon Donovan continues to make his case for a permanent move to Bayern Munich. In a midseason friendly against Mainz, Donovan scored a second-half brace in a 5-0 victory. The LA Galaxy star came on as a 60th-minute substitute and wasted little time, scoring 10 minutes later. Donovan would go on to add his second goal in the 90th minute.
Donovan is expected to make his competitive debut for Bayern in their German Cup match on Tuesday. His form in the midseason friendlies will have made it quite difficult for Jurgen Klinsmann to leave him on the bench.
It seems as if the Donovan that first moved to Germany several years ago has completely disappeared.
Real Salt Lake striker Robbie Findley is eyeing a move abroad. He is spending time in Denmark training with Brøndby IF. The club expects him to make an appearance or two in training matches this weekend with an eye on a possible permanent move to Denmark.
Keep your eyes open for a massive MLS preview due out in the next couple of weeks. There will be team by team analysis, predictions and more!