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Columnist
It's time MLS expansion took a look at St. Louis
By Orrin Schwarz | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 5/12/2010 2:49 PM | Updated: 5/12/2010 2:50 PM

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It's been a busy week in the soccer world. Let's review the news.

News: Major League Soccer announces it will expand in Montreal, the league's 19th team, for the 2012 season.

Thoughts: Montreal's addition sets up another nice regional rivalry with Toronto.

Philadelphia's addition this year makes for a nice rivalry with D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls, even New England.

In the Pacific Northwest, Seattle next year will be joined by Portland and Vancouver.

In Los Angeles, the Galaxy and Chivas battle for bragging rights.

And the Fire has ... nobody. That's just one reason the league should make St. Louis a priority to get the league's 20th team.

By adding St. Louis, said Fire forward Brian McBride, "You then would have an immediate rivalry with Chicago, Columbus, St. Louis. It allows fans to drive 4-6 hours and go to games. -

"There's nothing more obvious to create a rivalry than location," said McBride, who played at St. Louis University. "Growing up, the Cubs-Cardinals, Blackhawks-Blues. When I went to school down there we had a blast with guys from St. Louis and the few of us from Chicago having that rivalry."

Don't tell me about Dallas and the Brimstone Cup. Columbus is OK, but something is missing. Kansas City is struggling to build an identity. The Midwest seems in danger of becoming flyover country in this league.

St. Louis is the most best viable option, and it's as strong a soccer city as you'll find in this country. It's realistic, but it needs some deep pockets.

"Gosh, I would love for St. Louis to get a team," McBride added. "It really is a great soccer town. ... You already have a fan base that has a great understanding of the game and a passion for it. I'd love to see them get a team, I really would."

News: MLS commissioner Don Garber says he wants the league's 20th team to be in New York.

Thoughts: WHAT?!?!?!

"Our attention is very focused on a 20th team as we speak. We'd like that team to be in New York City representing a second team in the tri-state area," Garber told the AP. "The Red Bulls are very supportive of that and believe that rivalry will help grow the popularity of the sport in the New York metropolitan area. So we're going to work hard and try to get something done perhaps as early as 2013."

Apparently the commish even has owners in mind for this second New York team, the Wilpon family, owners of baseball's N.Y. Mets.

Uh, Don, how about you sell out that brand-spanking-new stadium the Red Bulls play in before you put a second team in New York? The Red Bulls are averaging 17,952 in their 25,000-seat palace.

News: U.S. coach Bob Bradley announces his provisional 30-man roster for the World Cup.

Thoughts: It's pretty much the roster everyone expected, with the possible exception of forward Charlie Davies. But perhaps it was time for a reality check. After suffering serious injuries in last summer's auto accident that killed a friend of his, Davies faced longer odds of making the team than the U.S. does of winning the tournament.

It would have been an inspirational story, but Davies simply isn't ready.

Bradley must pare the roster to 23 players by the end of the month. Players report to camp at Princeton, N.J., on Saturday, with sendoff matches on May 25 against Czech Republic and May 29 against Turkey.

News: Manchester United will hold an open training sessionat Toyota Park this summer while on a tour that includes being the opponent for the MLS All-Stars.

Thoughts: OK, it would be more fun to see Wayne Rooney and Co. play an actual game, but training is better than nothing, and Chicago fans will get a chance to see AC Milan play here May 30, not to mention Paris St.-Germain, Legia Warsaw and Red Star Belgrade next week.

Those games - and of course the Fire and Red Stars regular-season games - will be a nice way to get out of the house before and after spending most of June and the early part of July inside watching the World Cup.

oschwarz@dailyherald.com