Major League Soccer has made building a new stadium in or near New York City for the 20th MLS team one of its top priorities. League Commissioner Don Garber was the lead speaker at a press conference tonight regarding the possibility of stadium construction in the Flushing Meadows area of Queens, NY. Garber touted the over 3,000 jobs (including 2,100 union constuction jobs) that the stadium project would bring to the City, while also preserving the open space surrounding the stadium and renovating the existing soccer fields.
All that sounds great. Building such a stadium (currently designed at a 25,000 seat capacity, with the opportunity to add 10,000 more in the future) sure sounds like a noble venture. As a neutral fan of the league, or as an outside observer, you might find yourself supporting the addition of a second team in metropolitan New York. And that's fine.
But as a D.C. United fan, you have every right to be effing pissed.
United remains to be one of the final two clubs in MLS without a soccer specific stadium to play its games, and the organization has been hemorrhaging money for that very reason. With the high rents at RFK Stadium and no control over other various potential revenue streams such as concession sales and parking, United is at a severe financial disadvantage when compared to other teams in the league.
So then you would expect Garber to be taking a trip down to D.C. tomorrow for a similar press conference devoting his undying support to helping one of the founding members of the league secure its own stadium, rather than face the risks of moving to another city or disbanding completely. Right?
No, that hasn't been the case so far. So far, a new stadium in D.C. for United has been way way down Garber's priority list. At MLS Cup last year, Garber told us that the league had full-time employees dedicated to adding a second team in New York. Considering that the league has reportedly financed the plans for the Queens stadium, we can probably assume that the NY2 Dept. at MLS HQ has a decent sized budget.
And yet when it comes to United's pursuit for a stadium in the District, the league has instead taken a hands-off approach. It's no wonder that the stadium in Queens may actually be closer to reality than United's hopes for a stadium at Buzzard Point.
If you click through to the MLS To Queens website, it isn't hard to figure out that the site is owned and operated directly by the league. I'd appreciate it if someone can forward me a link to the corresponding website that MLS is running in support of keeping United in D.C.
Oh wait, there isn't one? Be pissed, United fans. Be pissed.
Garber brought our hatred to an even higher level tonight with the quote "You can't be a dominant soccer league without having a dominant soccer team in the largest city in the world."
Perhaps this is just a throwaway line that shouldn't be taken too seriously. But at its worst, this almost sounds like an admission that MLS has given the New York Red Bulls every possible advantage in its pursuit for a championship. (Spoiler alert: It doesn't work.)
Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do about it. For as long as MLS has been throwing its support into the NY2 cause without any regard for the other clubs in the league, we United fans have been voicing our displeasure.
Well I'm done with that.
From now on, we will voice our displeasure in a different way. We will send a message via the only means left at our disposal. We will voice our displeasure through silence.
Tonight, I'm making a decree that Black And Red United will not devote a single word of coverage to the stadium effort in Queens or the associated MLS expansion in that city. Page views be damned. We believe that the league is absolutely wrong to dedicate so much of its resources towards NY2 while leaving United to fight its stadium battles without any apparent assistance. And we're sick of talking about it.
Until the day that United kicks off its first match against the second New York team, you won't be reading about that team here. (Okay, maybe until the expansion draft prior to that season). Unless United's new stadium opens up first, you'll have to go somewhere else to read about them. Unless of course you decide to follow our path and just boycott NY2 completely.