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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

MLL Expansion/Relocation Part 2

Without too much delay, let's continue on our quest to make Major League Lacrosse a truly national professional sports league.

2012 - Back to Ten Teams

1. Seattle Sea Lions - Unlike 2011, this year's teams will be true expansion franchises despite the three dormant teams still out there. For the Emerald City, I chose something natural and native to serve as the nickname. This choice was inspired by the Seahawks and Sounders, both of which represent the area's natural beauty. Just like those teams, the Sea Lions will wear Emerald green trimmed with blue.
For the opening seasons, games will be played at the Starfire Sports Complex. As the fan base grows, the Sea Lions will consider joining the football and soccer teams at Qwest. Seattle was chosen for its strong and rapidly growing lacrosse scene. The passion of its fans, as demonstrated by the Sounders this season, booted Seattle up my list.
2. Dallas Generals - Perhaps no city in the entire country is as synonymous with sports as Dallas. With teams in every major league and a powerful lacrosse culture producing some large and talented players, Dallas would be a natural fit for the MLL. Taking advantage of what might be the most beautiful soccer stadium in the US, the would play their games at Pizza Hut Park. While some point to its Frisco location as the source of FC Dallas' low attendance, I think the stadium would provide the best atmosphere for professional lacrosse. Like soccer, lax is better in a more intimate atmosphere.
With a city with as much renown as Dallas a strong name is required. Breaking away from the western theme of many of its teams (Cowboys, Desperadoes, Rangers), I am going with "Generals." This name signifies strength and leadership, both of which are values that are widely associated with the state of Texas. Also, the name allows the incorporation of a star, the city's symbol as evidenced by its flag and many of its sports teams. In addition to sharing their stadium, the Generals will wear FC Dallas' colors of red, navy, and silver.

-League Alignment-

The addition of two solidly Western teams will cause a small alignment change. The 2012 Western Division will consist of: Seattle, Dallas, LA, Denver, and Chicago. The 2012 Eastern Division will be: Pittsburgh, Toronto, Washington, Long Island, and Boston. The playoff format is unchanged.

2013 - Familiar Faces

1. San Jose Dragons - Major League Lacrosse re-enters the Bay Area exactly where it left it. Although they were previously identified as San Francisco, the Dragons return to the league rightfully named for the city in which they play. Beginning with the 2008 season, the Dragons moved south to play at Spartan Stadium in San Jose. With no suitable venue in San Francisco, the Dragons re-emerge in San Jose - in the New Earthquakes Stadium. The new home of the MLS club is scheduled to open in 2012 and will be the key to the rebirth of the Dragons.
2. Rochester Rattlers - When the 2008 MLL champion Rattlers moved to Toronto last year many people cried foul. When the league said that Toronto was technically a new franchise and Rochester was merely suspended, many were confused. Blamed on the economy and stadium issues, the suspension made a little more sense.
As the world slowly gets back to normal, expect Rochester to return to the league. They will move back into their old home, Marina Auto Stadium. Their colors and logo will remain largely unchanged to ensure continuity from their last championship team. Unfortunately the team will have a new coaching staff and roster as the previous personnel moved to Toronto.
Despite being the smallest market in the league, Rochester will return because of its location near traditional hotbed areas. The superb soccer stadium is a worthy home and lends itself wonderfully to lacrosse. Despite losing all of its players last year, expect the reborn team to be a championship contender by 2015.

-League Alignment-

With a team added to each geographic area, there will be no alignment change. The 2013 Western Division will consist of: San Jose, Seattle, Dallas, LA, Denver, and Chicago. The 2013 Eastern Division will be: Rochester, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Washington, Long Island, and Boston. The playoff format is unchanged.

Continue to Part 3

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