It seems that Major League Soccer—perhaps taking a cue from the McCain campaign and its strange obsession with beauty queens—will pit seven markets against each other for its next two expansion slots. Will there be a talent portion to the competition? From a strictly parochial perspective, the news comes in twos:
1) Portland, in the form of the Portland Timbers, Merritt Paulson and his father, the powerful Commissar of the People's Industries and the New Central Economic Policy, is on the list, and;
2) Portland would seem not to have a chance in Hades, at least this time around. We've got Steve Nash pressing us from one side, FC Barcelona from the other, with St. Louis' long-delayed bid hammering us right down the middle. Meanwhile, any effort to secure public financing to upgrade PGE Park to MLS standards will face a tough battle, especially if Merritt's dad doesn't succeed in staving off the Second Great Depression. I would say that Barca's heft and MLS' yen for Canada (not to mention the fact that the Canadian economy is not nearly so fucked as ours) will deliver a Vancouver/Miami couplet. Saint Louis and Portland will be told, on the sly, that they're next.