Queens Hosts Ecuador-Greece Friendly, MLS Next?

Queens Hosts Ecuador-Greece Friendly, MLS Next?

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 8, 2011
  • Greece, MLS Expansion, New York Expansion, Queens


Citi Field wasn't bad but it looks like a step in the right direction for New York's expansion hopes in MLS. (Getty Images)

Most soccer fans in the US had their attentions on Detroit last night (who have MLS ambitions of their own) but the one place Major League Soccer would like to expand to next had a little international game of their own last night. Citi Field hosted it’s first international soccer match last night between Greece and Ecuador to nearly 40,000 fans.

The game ended 1-1 but that isn’t the story. The story is still the potential MLS expansion team in New York, possibly playing in Queens. Don’t take this in the manner that I’m saying a MLS team will play at Citi Field here either. No, that will not happen. As you see, Citi Field is great but not for soccer. MLS has seen and done enough sharing with baseball teams in the past that we know it isn’t a great idea.

This won’t be the last international friendly at Citi Field though. The New York Times is reporting that baseball’s Mets are hoping to get another big summer friendly on the books here this year. Mets executive vice president Dave Howard said a match between a “very well-known” European club and a comparable Central America club. I hope he misspoke as a Central America club doesn’t sound nearly as good as a South America or Mexican side. But we’ll see.

Still the talk with this game centers around MLS in New York. On Wednesday the Times released this bit of information from MLS about their expansion hopes in New York:

The developments come at a time when Major League Soccer is moving to expand to New York City, with Flushing the likely destination for the league’s second team in the area. The Red Bulls, the area’s only M.L.S. team, play their home games at the 25,000-seat, $200 million Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

“We remain focused on securing a 20th team for Major League Soccer in New York,” the M.L.S. spokesman Dan Courtemanche said via e-mail. “We do not have a set time frame on when we will add a 20th team. Our goal is to have a second team in N.Y. at the earliest opportunity. The N.Y. market is a priority, but it may take a couple of years before we have the team and stadium finalized.”

Mets ownership, led by Fred Wilpon, has discussed the possibility of owning a club with the M.L.S. commissioner, Don Garber, over the last few years. Howard said the sides had talked again “recently.”

But an M.L.S. club operated by Wilpon may be unlikely given his financial issues the last few months, and Garber has said that there were other ownership groups interested, including a group that has bought the rights to the Cosmos name and is aggressively seeking a team in M.L.S.

One obstacle is the lack of a soccer stadium in Queens as teams across M.L.S. have moved away from all-purpose stadiums.

“The New York market is a priority, but it may take a couple of years before we have the team and stadium finalized,” Courtemanche said.

Of course its a long way to go here for this expansion hope for New York. I think getting a stadium in Queens is in the right direction. But they better act fast, places like Detroit are trying to get hot on their tail here (more on that in a bit).

  • Discostu

    Really, Citifield great?  It’s cavernous and houses the mets, thats about as far from great as you can get.

    • The couple Mets games I’ve attended I found it to be nice. Its miles better than Shea was IMO, but hey, I’m no New Yorker either.