Will NHL Predators’ Success Help Nashville’s MLS Bid?

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During the Stanley Cup playoffs, the hockey world took notice of Nashville’s support for the Nashville Predators.  When fans couldn’t get tickets to the game, they filled the streets of Lower Broadway, Walk of Fame Park and other locations downtown painting the town gold.  Yes, Nashville embraced hockey.  Watching and being a part of the Predators’ amazing journey this season, I wondered if what happened here could help Nashville’s quest for a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team.

Nashville is one of 12 cities on the list for four slots that the league plans to expand to take the league to 28 teams.  Nashville joins Sacramento, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, San Antonio, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, San Diego and Detroit.

I  would think that the city of Nashville only helped their cause with the success of the Predators’ and a sport which people probably never thought would take in the Music City.  One thing that helps Nashville is that there is no other professional sports teams that would compete with MLS in the bulk of the regular season.  They would compete with the Predators in the first 1/3 of the season and then the Titans in the last 1/3.  There is definitely a big gap where a team would get the support since the city does not have a Major League Baseball team.  In fact, six of the 12 on the list would not have competition with baseball.  They all have minor league teams but I don’t see that as real competition with professional soccer.

The United States national teams have done well with matches here.  The four games between 2006 and 2015 averaged 31,998 fans, which was something that attracted CONCACAF Gold Cup to have matches in Nashville this summer.  On July 8th, the United States will play Panama and Martinique will play Nicaragua.  Also, more than 40,000 filled Nissan Stadium in October for a match between Mexico and New Zealand.

Even Nashville Mayor Megan Barry expressed her thoughts about how the Predators’ success should help the city’s bid.

“I have to tell you if you were an MLS official and you watched any fan participation for the Predators, I can’t believe you wouldn’t think this is a place that would be supportive of a soccer team.”

Most soccer experts list Nashville as 7th on their list of the 12 cities.  One thing that might detract from Nashville is that the city is an unknown as far as a soccer fan base.  Sure, the Predators had incredible support but would that translate to support for an MLS franchise?  Unfortunately, I think cities with past professional soccer teams in the old NASL (St. Louis, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Detroit) seem to be sentimental favorites.  Personally, I think I would mix it up if I were MLS officials.  Maybe include two old favorites and two cities who have never had a team.

Nashville already has support from the local community to build a stadium for an MLS team.  That is always a huge hurdle for a city to strengthen their position for an expansion team.

Here is my personal (non-soccer expert) ranking of the list of cities.  The numbers indicate professional sports teams:

  1. Tampa Bay (3)
  2. Phoenix (4)
  3. San Diego (1)  – Remember the Chargers have moved to LA
  4. Nashville (2)
  5. St. Louis (2)
  6. Charlotte (2)
  7. Cincinnati (2)
  8. San Antonio (1)
  9. Raleigh (1)
  10. Indianapolis (2)
  11. Sacramento (1)
  12. Detroit (4)

The Predators’ success certainly helped Nashville’s chances but is it enough to put them in the top four?  Another factor in the process is Miami’s on/off bid for an MLS team.  Who knows how that situation will work out?  Miami could be the factor that bumps Nashville out.  Of course, both Miami and Tampa had MLS franchises but lost them.

The next two expansion teams are planned to join the league in 2020.  With the length of time between now and the next decision for the next two teams, you also wonder how long the Predators’ success this season will stay in the minds of those on the MLS expansion committee.  But, the Music City will have several opportunities to show their support for soccer on their own with the upcoming Gold Cup games and other friendlies being hosted at Nissan Stadium.

Honky Tonkin and Corner Kicks in the Music City?  It isn’t so far-fetched.

 

Obscure Sports Report

The Obscure Sports Report is a weekly report of obscure sports leagues in the United States.  An obscure sport/league is one that gets little or no attention from the media.  Here is this week’s report:

American 7s Football League (A7FL) – The 2017 Championship Bracket is set.  The Round 1 matchups will be:  New Jersey Paterson U vs. New Jersey Savage, Pennsylvania Immortalz vs. New Jersey BIC, New Jersey Chiefs vs. Baltimore Kings and Baltimore Gators vs. Pennsylvania Dynasty.  The games will be played on June 25th.

American Hockey League (AHL) –  After an ugly 5-1 loss in Game Five, the Grand Rapids Griffins will attempt to clinch the Calder Cup at home in Game Six.  Griffins goalie Jared Coreau gave up five goals in the first period.  The third-year veteran will try to regroup this week against the Syracuse Crunch.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – Scores from last weekend:

  • Jacksonville 27, Atlanta 23
  • Raleigh 32, Nashville 20
  • San Diego 21, Seattle 20
  • Los Angeles 25, Seattle 20
  • San Francisco 27, San Jose 19
  • Madison 23, Minnesota 22
  • Montreal 16, Ottawa 13
  • Toronto 35, Philadelphia 28
  • DC 25, Toronto 17

Arena Football League (AFL) –  Philadelphia Soul Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh became the youngest in AFL history to pass for 30,00o yards in his career.  Raudabaugh now has 667 touchdowns and has a career record of 85-31.   The Soul defeated the Cleveland Gladiators, 59-49, to stay undefeated on the season at 8-0.

CAN-AM Indoor Football League (CAN AM) – The Vermont Bucks defeated the Rochester Kings, 61-41, to win the title.  Quarterback Steffen Colon threw for three touchdowns and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.  Cabrinni Goncalves ran for over 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.  The Bucks’ defense picked off the Kings several times in the rout and returned one for a touchdown.

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Vermont Bucks defeat the Rochester Kings, 61-41, for their first indoor title.

 

Champions Indoor Football League (CIFL) –  In the final weekend of the regular season, the Amarillo Venom demolished the Duke City Gladiators 70-41 and the Sioux City Bandits took care of the Bismarck Bucks 82-43.   In other games:  Omaha 43, Bloomington 30; Texas 63, Dodge city 59.

Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) – The Missouri Cyclones (4-0) remained unbeaten as they edged the Missouri Valley Pitbulls (2-2), 19-17.  Impact East Division leaders, Tri-City Outlaws (2-1) had no trouble with the Gateway Spartans (0-4), 54-0.  The Chattanooga Eagles (4-0) rolled past the Georgia Knights (0-3), 64-6.   The Huntsville Rockets (3-0) blasted the Nashville Storm (0-2), 63-6.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The Arizona Rattlers (11-4) knocked off the Cedar Rapids Titans (1-14) by a score of 56-24 in their final home game of the regular season in front of 13,251 fans.  With the win, the Rattlers extended their winning streak to seven games.  Arizona’s offense was led by RB Ketrich Harmon who ran for 73 yards on 12 attempts and scored three touchdowns. Quarterback Cody Sokol went five-for-nine with 43 yards and two touchdowns.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – Chesapeake Bayhawks attackman Josh Byrne was named the Cascade Rookie of the Week for Week 8. The Bayhawks fell to the Rattlers in overtime on Saturday night, 17-16.  Byrne, 23, scored seven goals for the Bayhawks in his first game as a professional, the most goals in a pro debut since at least 2010. The Hofstra product sparked a comeback for the Bayhawks after a 21-minute scoreless drought by scoring his first goal on the man advantage. Byrne also had a highlight-reel goal as he successfully scored a one-handed shot while falling to the turf off of an illegal check. Chesapeake selected Byrne with the No. 19 pick in the 2017 MLL Collegiate Draft.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – Yes, believe it or not there is a major league for this sport and I found the information on the season.  Scores from last weekend:  Boston Night Raiders defeated New York Titans 130-40, 190-70 and 201-90.  Austin Outlaws over Kansas City Stampede 190-20, 200-20, 220-60.  Los Angeles Guardians topped Phoenix Sol 180-80, 170-90, 150-50.

Major League Soccer (MLS) – Aaron Kovar scored in the third minute and Zach Mathers added a second-half penalty kick, leading the Seattle Sounders  to a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday.  Seattle jumped on top off a finish from Kovar that was set up by a pinpoint cross from left back Nouhou. Portland’s Augustine Williams would equalize with a headed finish in the 38th, but Mathers’ PK after a handball in the box in the 54th would prove to be the dagger, sending the Sounders through to the Open Cup quarterfinals.

National Arena League (NAL) – The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (9-1) rallied in the second half to finish off the regular season with a win against the Georgia Firebirds Saturday night. The team hit the road and found a way to win as they defeated the Georgia Firebirds (2-7), 51-26.  The Steelhawks sit in second place behind the undefeated Jacksonville Sharks (11-0).

National Lacrosse League (NLL) – Lyle Thompson’s pass to brother Miles gave the Georgia Swarm a 15-14 win in overtime against the Saskatchewan Rush to clinch the National Lacrosse League Champion’s Cup at Sasktel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.   The win gives the Swarm their first title.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – Nine different players scored for USSSA on Monday night as the Pride dominated the Chicago Bandits (6-3) by a score of 11-1 in game two of the series at JoAnne Graf Field. The Pride won their fourth game in a row and improved to 4-1 on the year.  Chicago used a trio of singles in the first inning, including an RBI base hit up the middle by Sahvanna Jaquish, to jump out to an early 1-0 lead.

North American Soccer League (NASL) – Zach Steinberger of the Jacksonville Armada currently leads the league with six goals.  The Armada has 19 points and in second place in the Spring Season standings.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The league is currently on an international break but will resume the season on June 17.

Supreme Indoor Football (SIF) – This weekend the Cap City Bulls (1-5) from Austin, Texas will face the Cape Fear Heroes (4-2) in Fayetteville, North Carolina.    The winner will play the Triangle Torch (6-0) for the league title on June 24th.

United Soccer League (USL) –  The league hopes to have a team in Baltimore approved by the end of the year.  USL president Jake Edwards told The Baltimore Sun that the second-tier professional league hopes to have the city’s prospective ownership group finalized by August and the construction plan for a new venue in place by 2018, with the team’s launch targeted for the 2020 season.

Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) – The Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz will be in the playoffs for the first time in the team’s 7-year history.  The team finished 5-1 in the Mountain West Division.  They will face the South Oregon Lady Gades in the first round of the Division III playoffs.  Here some of the other matchups for the first round:

  • Maine Mayhem at New York Knockout
  • New England Nightmare at Connecticut Hawks
  • Atlanta Phoenix at Pittsburgh Passion
  • Cleveland Fusion at D.C. Divas
  • Kansas City Titans at Minnesota Vixens
  • San Diego Surge at Los Angeles Warriors
  • New York Sharks at Philadelphia Phantoms
  • Miami Fury at Tampa Bay Inferno
  • Everett Reign at Sin City Trojans

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) –Chelsea Gray scored 24 points, Nneka Ogwumike added 21 and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Dallas Wings 97-87 on Tuesday night.Gray and Ogwumike combined to make 10 of 11 shots in the first half for 24 points. They finished 15 of 18 from the field as the Sparks shot 57 percent. Candace Parker had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Los Angeles (6-3), which avenged a 96-90 loss at Dallas last Friday. Los Angeles raced out to a 23-6 lead as Dallas went scoreless for nearly five minutes in the first quarter. The Wings were just 4-of-17 shooting in the quarter. Dallas rookie Allisha Gray hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter to pull to 36-28 and Kayla Thornton made the Wings’ fifth 3 of the second to get within five points, but Seattle closed on an 8-0 run.  Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 28 points for Dallas (4-7), which has lost five of six.

 

Obscure Sports Report

American Hockey League (AHL) – The Calder Cup Finals are set and will start on Friday night when Grand Rapids hosts Syracuse in Game One.  both teams are in the finals for the second time in five years.  Grand Rapids defeated Syracuse in six games to win the title in 2013.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The current division leaders are:  Raleigh (South), Toronto (East), Minnesota (Midwest) and San Jose (West).  In games played last weekend, San Diego edged Los Angeles 24-23, Jacksonville topped Atlanta 23-20, Madison beat Chicago 21-20, Pittsburgh defeated Detroit 23-21, DC over New York 28-25 and Toronto blasted Philadelphia 31-18.  Dallas will face Madison this weekend on AUDL TV.

Arena Football League (AFL) – The Tampa Bay Storm has acquired former AFL Rookie of the Year, Greg Reid.  Reid played college football at Florida State and high school football with Lowndes in Valdosta, Georgia.  The Storm hopes he will make an immediate impact this weekend when they host the Baltimore Brigade.

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Greg Reid signs with Tampa Bay Storm

 

CAN-AM Indoor Football League (CAN AM) – Vermont Bucks kicker Carol Ojala has signed to play with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.   According to the Bucks’ website, they are scheduled to play the Penn Chargers this weekend in a game that is billed as “Win or Go Home” for the two teams.

Champions Indoor Football League (CIFL) –  The Sioux City Bandits (9-2) have wrapped up home field advantage for the playoffs after their 61-55 win over the Omaha Beef this past weekend.  Dodge City held onto their lead in the South Division by edging the Texas Revolution 49-46.

ECHL – Shawn St-Amant’s fifth goal of the playoffs led the Colorado Eagles to a 3-2 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays in the Kelly Cup finals.  The Eagles now lead the series 2-0.  Game three will be played on Sunday in Charleston, South Carolina.

Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) –  The defending league champs won a tough game on the road as the Oklahoma Thunder got past the Mississippi Road Warriors 14-8.  Ethan Sharpe tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Jaylind Brothers in the first quarter then Jerry Mathis had a fumble recovery for a touchdown late in the fourth for the Thunder.   Current division leaders:  Missouri Cyclones (Impact North), Oklahoma Thunder (Impact West), Tri-City Outlaws (Impact East), Starkville Steeldogs (Impact South), Nashville Storm (Xtreme North), Chattanooga Eagles (Xtreme West), River City Pythons (Xtreme East), Georgia Crush (Xtreme South).

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The Iowa Barnstomers (11-2) pushed their winning streak to nine straight wins after a 64-12 blowout win over the Green Bay Blizzard (2-12).  The Barnstormers will host the Spokane Empire on June 9th.  The Barnstormers will try to keep pace with the Sioux Falls Storm at the top of the United Conference.   The Arizona Rattlers (9-4) lead the Intense Conference after defeated the Nebraska Danger 43-33.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) –  Rochester Rattlers attackman Jeremy Boltus was named the Warrior Offensive Player of the Week.  Boltus scored the game-tying goal with just over two minutes left in regulation then got the game winner with 43 seconds left to defeat the Denver Outlaws 16-15.  Boltus finished the game with four goals.  It was the Outlaws’ first loss of the season.

Major League Soccer (MLS) – Toronto FC (29 points) and Sporting Kansas City (22 points) continue to lead their conferences.  Toronto blasted Columbus 5-0 in their last match.  Sporting Kansas City lost a 1-0 game to Colorado.

National Arena League (NAL) – The Jacksonville Sharks had no problems on the road at Corpus Christi with a 71-6 win over the Rage.  The Sharks won their ninth straight under a new coach, Siaha Burley, after Mark Stoute was dismissed last week.  The Shark’s pass rush was too much for the Rage as quarterback Jake Joblonski was under constant pressure the entire game.  The Shark’s defense recorded two safeties as they built a 51-6 lead at halftime.

National Lacrosse League (NLL) – Game One of the Champions Cup will be played this weekend as the Georgia Swarm will host the Saskatchewan Rush.  The Swarm are attempting to win their first title and dethrone the defending champions.

North American Soccer League (NASL) – Jacksonville Armada FC overtook North Carolina FC for second place in the Spring standings.  Jacksonville defeated North Carolina 2-1 and gained some ground on Miami FC which played to a draw with Puerto Rico FC 1-1.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) –  Here are the current standings:  North Carolina (15 points), Chicago (13), New Jersey (13), Seattle (12), Portland (12), Kansas City (11), Boston (8), Orlando (6), Houston (6), Washington (4).

Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) – The Central California War Angels (6-0) remained undefeated after beating the San Diego Surge, 34-12, two weeks ago.  After having a bye week, they will close out the regular season at the Los Angeles Warriors (5-2).    The Dallas Elite (5-0) blasted the Austin Outlaws (3-4) to remain unbeaten and will host the Arlington Impact (6-1) this weekend.  Also in Division 1, the Boston Renegades (6-0) kept their record perfect after edging the Chicago Force (6-1) 25-24.  The Renegades will host the Philadelphia Phantoms (4-3) this weekend.

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) –  Jewell Loyd (Seattle), Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles) and Elena Delle Donne (Washington) are all averaging 21 point per game to lead the league.  The Minnesota Lynx are the lone undefeated team at 6-0.  The Lynx dominated the San Antonio Stars 80-66 for their sixth win.

United Soccer League (USL) –  Omaha, Nebraska could be getting a USL team as Omaha Storm Chasers owner Gary Green has tentatively agreed to lead an ownership group to bring a team to Omaha in 2019.

Obscure Sports Report

American Flag Football League (AFFL) – This is a new start-up league which plans to hold a pilot game next month in San Jose to feature its new 7-on-7 style of flag football.  The league is looking for eight league-owned teams to start playing in 2018.  Former NFL Quarterback Michael Vick is expected to play in the pilot game.  The league will be unique in the ways it attempts to use technology during the game.

American Hockey League (AHL) – Both the Eastern and Western Conference finals are tied at 1-1.  In the East, the Providence Bruins evened the series with the Syracuse Crunch with a 2-1 win in overtime.  The San Jose Barracuda tied up their series on Sunday with a 4-2 win over Grand Rapids.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The leading goal scorers after Week 8 are:

  1. Jay Froude (Dallas) 33
  2. Caleb Denecour (Austin) 32
  3. Jeremy Langdon (Jacksonville) 31
  4. Jackson Stearns (San Jose) 30
  5. Anthony Davis (Detroit) 28

Arena Football League (AFL) – The Tampa Bay Storm defeated the Washington Valor 53-47 on Saturday in Tampa.  Storm WR Joe Hills led the team with 123 yards and three touchdowns including the game winning score with three seconds remaining.  With the win, the Storm (5-1) keeps pace with the undefeated Philadelphia Soul (6-0).  The Soul defeated the Cleveland Gladiators 64-46 as WR Darius Reynolds had seven catches for 85 yards and three touchdowns.

CAN-AM Indoor Football League (CAN AM) – The East Division championship which was originally scheduled to be played between the Vermont Bucks and Boston Blaze has been changed to the Bucks playing the Central Penn Chargers.  The change is reported to be due to the merger with the American Arena League.

Champions Indoor Football League (CIFL) –  Tucker Milliken was successful on a 28-yard field goal as time expired to give the Omaha Beef at 42-39 won over the West Michigan Ironmen.  The Beef trailed 39-32 late in the fourth quarter when Skyler Scott scored on a 5-yard touchdown run.  On the next possession, Omaha defensive back Paul Robinson picked off a pass and returned it to the Ironman 6-yard line to set up Milliken’s game winning field goal.  The Beef will host the Sioux City Bandits this weekend.

ECHL – The Colorado Eagles and Manchester-South Carolina winner will meet in the Kelly Cup final.  Manchester forced a seventh game with a decisive 5-1 win over South Carolina on Monday.

Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) – The nation’s largest semi-pro football league kicked off the 2017 season as the defending champion Oklahoma Thunder defeated the Mississippi Road Warriors 14-8.   In a shocker, the Chattanooga Eagles used a ball control offense along with stingy defense to upset the Georgia Crush 8-6.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The Iowa Barnstormers (10-2) extended its winning streak to eight straight after a 50-47 win over the Wichita Falls Nighthawks (9-3).  Kicker Kenton Chun connected on an 18-yard field goal to give the Barnstormers the lead.  The Nighthawks missed a chance to tie the game on their possession as they missed a field goal try when time expired.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – Chazz Woodson scored the game-winning goal five minutes into the overtime period as he led the Florida Launch to a 9-8 win over the Rochester Rattlers on Saturday.   The Launch got their second win of the season while the Rattlers dropped to 2-3.  The Denver Outlaws remain atop of the MLL with a 4-0 record.

Major League Soccer (MLS) – The Chicago Fire was named the MLS Team-of-the-week after three straight wins including shutouts against the Colorado Rapids (3-0) and D.C. United (1-0).   The Fire has climbed within five points of Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference.   Sporting Kansas City continues to lead the Western Conference by three points.

National Arena League (NAL) – The Columbus Lions attacked and destroyed the Dayton/Atlanta Wolfpack 77-0 before a record crowd of 6,425 on Military Appreciation Night.  The onslaught started in the 2nd quarter, as the Lions offense got on track, and the vaunted “Black Shirt” defense systematically attacked the Pack offense series after series, creating turnovers, sacks, and locking down any attempts to advance the football passed midfield. The offense got on track as well with 4 TD passes by Darren Daniel, two to standout Tristan Purifoy, and two more to Greg Hollinger, who suited up in place of Durron Neal who is attending a CFL tryout. Joe Marshall added a 1 yd. TD plunge to make the score 39-0 at halftime.

North American Soccer League (NASL) – Miami FC defeated Indy Eleven 3-2 to maintain the top spot in the standings while the Jacksonville Armada FC lost a key game to North Carolina FC 3-1.   The league plays a spring and fall season.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – Barcelona has approved a developmental plan to add a team to the league.  It will be the first European club to have a team in an American league.

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Minnesota Lynx (3-0) and Los Angeles Sparks (2-0) are the only undefeated teams in the league.  Sylvia Fowles led the Lynx with 27 points and Maya Moore added 21 in an 89-87 win over the Dallas Wings.  Elena Delle Donne scored 27 points to lead the Sparks to a 99-89 win over the Washington Mystics.

United Soccer League (USL) – The Tampa Bay Rowdies cruised into the next round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 3-0 win over the Jacksonville Armada U23s at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida.   The U.S. Open Cup is a tournament featuring teams from all levels of the American soccer system regardless of league.  The Rowdies will play either Miami FC or the South Florida Surf in the next round on May 31st.

United States Hockey League (USHL) – Chicago Steel defeated the Sioux City in overtime to capture their first Clark Cup championship in team history.  Tyler Gratton scored the game winner 11:30 into overtime.

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Obscure Sports Report

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The unthinkable has finally happened.   The Dallas Roughnecks lost their first game in franchise history.  The Roughnecks, who were the defending AUDL champions and winners of 23 straight games, lost to the Jacksonville Cannons 24-22.  The Cannons appear to be on the rise in the South Division.  The Roughnecks didn’t rebound very well on Sunday, losing to the Raleigh Flyers 32-25.

National Lacrosse League (NLL) – The Georgia Swarm defeated the Toronto Rock 11-8 in the first game of the Eastern Division final.  In the Western Division semifinal, the Saskatchewan Rush had no trouble with the Colorado Mammoths in a 19-8 victory.  Georgia and Saskatchewan will try to wrap it up this weekend at home.

CBA
The Fort Wayne Flite celebrate another CBA title.

 

Central Basketball Association (CBA) – The Fort Wayne Flite held off the Indianapolis Blaze to repeat as league champions.  Trailing by three points, 93-90, with seven seconds remaining Indianapolis failed to tie the game with a wide-open three-point attempt, and then on the ensuing possession, down 95-92, missed another three-point shot at the buzzer, allowing Fort Wayne to win a second consecutive championship title.  Greg Foster led the Flite with 23 points followed by Mikel Brigham with 16 and Corey Wickware with 15.

Arena Football League (AFL) –  The Philadelphia Soul remains on top of the five-team lead at 5-0, followed by Tampa Bay (4-1), Washington (1-3), Cleveland (1-4) and Baltimore (1-4).

National Arena League (NAL) –  The Jacksonville Sharks had a bye week after demolishing the Corpus Christi Rage 71-6.  This weekend they will host the Monterrey Steel (4-2).  The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks stayed within a game of the Sharks winning two weeks ago against the Dayton Wolfpack 68-6.  The Steelhawks will play at High Country this weekend.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – Scores from last weekend:  Salt Lake 38, Colorado 37; Arizona 49, Spokane 35; Iowa 56, Cedar Rapids 54; Sioux Falls 44, Green Bay 24.

Arena Pro Football (APF) –  It doesn’t appear that any of the teams played this past weekend.   The leagues website is horrible and really needs some attention.   Here is the schedule for the upcoming weekend:  River City Raiders (3-2) at Richmond Rough Riders (4-0), Florida Tarpons (4-0) at Birmingham Outlawz (0-5).  Note:  Florida should actually have a loss since they were beaten by Richmond two weeks ago.

Champions Indoor Football League (CIFL) –  The Duke City Gladiators (4-5) lost to the Dodge City Law (8-2) on Saturday, 65-62, in the closing seconds.    The win keeps the Law on top of the South Division and a bye week this weekend.

CAN-AM Indoor Football League – The Vermont Bucks (6-1) and Rochester Kings (5-0) lead their divisions.  Vermont beat the Boston Blaze 41-30 two weeks ago and, according to the league’s website, will play the Blaze again on June 3rd.   Rochester defeated Boston this weekend, 66-30, and will host the Capital City Reapers on Saturday.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – Seattle Reign FC forward Nahomi Kawasumi was named the league’s player of the week for Week 5 after scoring a goal and earning an NWSL-record four assists in Seattle’s 6-2 win over the Washington Spirit.

Major League Soccer (MLS) – Toronto FC leads the Eastern Conference with 25 points while the Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City tied at the top of the Western Conference with 19 points.

North American Soccer League (NASL) – Miami FC leads the Spring Season standings with 14 points.  Miami edged Indy 3-2 last weekend.  They will play the San Francisco Deltas this weekend in the U.S. Open Cup.

United Soccer League (USL) –  Here are the current power rankings:  1. San Antonio FC, 2. Charleston Battery, 3. Real Monarchs SLC, 4. Tampa Bay Rowdies, 5. Louisville City FC, 6. Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 7. Rio Grand Valley FC, 8. Tulsa Roughnecks FC, 9. Swope Park Rangers, 10. Orlando City B.

Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) –  The #2 ranked Chicago Force rolled past the Minnesota Vixen 53-0 to improve to 5-0.  Chicago built a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and exploded for a 39-0 lead at halftime.  Mary Choules had nine tackles for the Force and was named the Game Day Defensive Most Valuable Player.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obscure Sports Report

atlantaunited

Atlanta’s Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team won their first game on Sunday when they blasted Minnesota 6-1 in a snow flurry in front of over 35,000 fans.  Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez scored a rare hat-trick while Miguel Almiron scored twice and Jacob Peterson scored once.  Atlanta dropped a 2-1 home opener to the New York Red Bulls a week ago in front of 55,000 fans.

The New England Black Wolves (5-6) became the first team in the Eastern Division to defeat the Georgia Swarm (7-3) on Sunday in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).   Shawn Evans and Kyle Buchanan each had three goals and four assists in a 13-8 win.  It was the fourth hat trick of the season for Evans.

Tony Spredeman of the United States is at the top of the World Foosball Player rankings.   He is first in Open Combined and Open Singles rankings.  He is also second in Open Doubles.   Spredeman is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has won several World Championships.

The Baltimore Blast are looking at elimination from the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) playoffs.  They were upset by the Harrisburg Heat 5-4 on Saturday in Baltimore.  The Milwaukee Wave edged the Kansas City Comets 3-2 when Marcio Leite scored the series winner 2:26 into overtime of the mini-game to win their series 2 games to 1 and advance to the MASL semifinals.   Sonora blasted Baja 17-3 in game two on Saturday to complete their sweep of the Southwest Division final.  In the Pacific Division, the San Diego Sockers beat Ontario 9-4 in the first game of their series, Ontario evened the series with an 8-4 win to force a mini-game.  The Sockers scored nine seconds into the tie-breaker and held on to advance to the league semifinals.

The Boston Pride finished the regular season in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) with the best record at 16-1.  New York finished second at 8-7-3, Buffalo Beauts third (6-10-1) and the Connecticut Whale (5-12-1).  All four teams qualify for the Isobel Cup Playoffs which begins on Thursday and Friday.   Winners will advance to the final on Sunday, March 19th.

The DMV Warriors, based out of Woodlawn, Maryland, leads the American Basketball Association (ABA) power rankings with a record of 18-0.   The Jacksonville Giants (20-2), Orlando Waves (17-2), Austin Bats (15-1) and Mobile Bay Tornados (14-1) finish out the top five.   The league was founded in 1999 as a nationwide semi-pro basketball league.  The Jacksonville Giants are the defending league champions.

The Wichita Falls Nighthawks defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans this weekend, 42-23, to remain undefeated in the Indoor Football League (IFL).  Quarterback Charles McCullum finished the game completing 20 of 30 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns.  The Nighthawks will have the week off before they face the six-time defending United Bowl Champions, Sioux Falls Storm.

In the second week of playoffs in the Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League, the stakes were huge as teams battled to advance to the quarterfinals.  Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Wesley So (St. Louis) and Fabiano Caruana (Montreal) were all in tight battles by lesser-known opponents.  Hikaru Nakamura (Miami) had one of the worst chess days of his life, scoring 1.5/4 and losing in a do-or-die final round.   In this week’s quarterfinal round:  Norway Gnomes vs. Gorky Stormbringers, Montclair Sopranos vs. Miami Champions, Marseille Migraines vs. Stockholm Snowballs and Webster Windmills vs. St. Louis Arch Bishops.

Have a sport you’d like me to write about next week?  Leave me a comment and I will post it next Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obscure Sports News

masl

Here are some sports stories you probably won’t see on SportsCenter….

The Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) regular season is winding down and gearing up for the playoffs.  The defending champions – Baltimore Blast – have clinched the Eastern Division title and will face the Harrisburg Heat in the division final.  The Kansas City Comets have won the Central Division and will play the Milwaukee Wave.  Soles de Sonora has won the Southwest Division and will play Atletico Baja.  The Pacific Division will feature the San Diego Sockers who will play either the Ontario Fury or Tacoma Stars in the playoffs.  Eight teams make the playoffs with the two top teams of each division qualifying for the postseason.  The playoff series will consist of a 2-game series for each round.  If the series is tied, a mini-game at the end of game 2 will be played.

The surprising Georgia Swarm still leads the National Lacrosse League (NLL) with a record of 7-1.  They lead the league with goals scored with 119 goals.  Forward Lyle Thompson leads the team with 25 goals.   The season concludes on the last weekend in April.

The New York Riveters will host the No. 3 seed in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) one-game semifinal on March 17th.  The Buffalo Beauts and Connecticut Whale are currently tied for third place in the league.  The Boston Pride will play the fourth place finisher in the other semifinal matchup.  The Isobel Cup final will be played on Sunday, March 19th in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The 2017 season of Major League Soccer (MLS) will kick-off this weekend at the Portland Timbers will host Minnesota United FC on Friday.  Minnesota and Atlanta are the two new expansion teams this season.  The defending MLS Cup champions, Seattle Sounders, will began their title defense at Houston on Saturday.

The Indoor Football League (IFL) kicked off their season with the addition of the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles and the Arizona Rattlers who defected from the sinking Arena Football League (AFL).   Former AFL-Alum, Iowa Barnstormers, spoiled the Rattlers’ debut in the new league with a 51-47 win.

Speaking of the Arena Football League, they are still planning to play this season with five teams.   Their season kicks off on April 7th as the league’s two new teams – Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor meet in D.C.   The league still plans to expand but no news at this time where they plan to place new teams.

The Montreal ChessBrahs (6-1), St. Louis Arch Bishops (6-1), Marseille Migraines (5-2) and Delhi Dynamite (5-2) lead their respective divisions in the PRO Chess League.  Wesley So lost his first game since his loss to Magnus Carlsen last summer.  In one of the best games of the week, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov overmatched So’s queen with a rook and minor pieces in the endgame.  So’s defeat, however, had little impact on the match as both teams (St. Louis and San Jose) still secured playoff berths.

Minor league hockey playoffs will be starting soon.  The top teams are Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (American Hockey League), Toledo (ECHL), Macon (Southern Professional Hockey League) and Danville (Federal Hockey League).  Of course, there are other junior leagues also getting ready for the postseason as well.