Milwaukee-Chicago Connection Only Makes Sense for Chicago Fire’s USL-PRO Partnership
Chicago Fire discuss where their USL partnership will be, but OTF’s Brian Battle asks, “What’s there to discuss?”
Chicago Fire needs to choose a USL-PRO partnership by 2015, and the list of potential locations remains an odd mix with one obvious choice.
The Chicago-Fire.com blog lists Cincinnati, Orange County, Tulsa, Charlotte, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Cleveland, as well as clubs in Colorado and Arizona, as potential lower-division partners. But why would you set up an affiliation at such distance from Toyota Park? More realistic options include Milwaukee, Des Moines, and St. Louis, with Milwaukee the clear stand-out on the list.
Why would the franchise even consider having their affiliate club more than a few hours away from Chicago? If you look at the smart MLS franchises, they keep their “farm” teams nearby (doing so can only help in your local influence), or engage with an affiliate in a region that is a prime secondary market.
Existing USL-MLS Relationships
- LA Galaxy II — LA Galaxy (0 Miles)
- Dayton Dutch Lions — Columbus Crew (71 miles)
- Harrisburg City Islanders — Philadelphia Union (117 miles)
- Richmond Kickers — D.C. United (119 miles)
- Oklahoma City Energy — Sporting KC (349 miles)
- Rochester Rhinos — New England Revolution (421 miles)
- Sacramento Republic FC — Portland Timbers & San Jose Earthquakes (579 miles, 120 miles)
- Wilmington Hammerheads — Toronto FC (862 miles)
- *Orlando City SC — Sporting KC (1,237 miles)
- Pittsburgh Riverhounds — Houston Dynamo (1,338 miles)
- Charleston Battery — Vancouver Whitecaps (3,072 miles)
*Will terminate with Orlando City’s 2015 entry into MLS.
If an MLS franchisee winds up owning a USL side (or develops a meaningful affiliation with one) why would he not want to keep it within a reasonable radius of the mother club?
In addition to being an hour and a half away from Chicago, and easily accessible by rail (which means it’s arguably easier to get to than Toyota Park in some transportation cases), Milwaukee is a clear secondary market for Chicago Fire (HTIOT made a similar point in November).
Oh, btw, here’s how the voting worked out on Chicago Fire’s website…
So, in the face of obviousness, what do you think the “Front Office” decision will be? Clearly there are fiscal stakes here as well, but on location alone, the option is clear.
The question remains, though: which F.O. do we expect to weigh in on this decision? Will it be the “new” front office that makes sound player personnel swaps, budget decisions and PR moves, or the “old” front office relic that staunchly apposes popular sentiment like Sector Latino’s sovereignty and kit design decisions?
We’ll find out soon enough.
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