Last Week around the Leagues
by Fran Stuchbury
December 26, 2018 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
The Southern Professional Hockey League witnessed a fight between the goaltenders of the Peoria Rivermen and Quad City Storm. A frustrated Quad City Storm team fell 6-1 Saturday night against Peoria in a game that featured 199 penalty minutes, including eight game misconducts.
Check out the fight:
Major League Soccer announced it will adopt a new single-elimination playoff structure beginning in 2019. Starting next season, the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs will consist of a straight-bracket format that will further reward regular season performance with a greater homefield advantage. With an eye to expansion, the number of clubs qualifying for the playoffs will increase from 12 to 14.
The LA Galaxy announced today that the club has signed forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic to a new contract that will see the Swedish striker return to LA for the 2019 MLS season as a Designated Player. Ibrahimovic recorded one of the most successful MLS seasons ever in 2018, finishing the year with 22 goals and 10 assists in just 27 MLS Regular Season appearances, making him just the third player to record a 20-goal, 10-assist season in MLS history. The 32 combined goals and assists by Ibrahimovic also tied for the sixth most in league history. Ibrahimovic helped the Galaxy to a 9-2-4 record in matches in which he scored a goal.
Atlanta United announced it has agreed to a multiyear contract with Frank de Boer to become the club's next head coach. A legendary Dutch player and coach, de Boer began his managerial career at Ajax, where he won a club-record four consecutive Eredivisie titles.
United Soccer League Championship
A new era is officially set to begin at North Carolina Football Club. Dave Sarachan, former United States Men's National Team Manager, has been selected to lead North Carolina FC as the new head coach.
The USL Championship unveiled its 2019 regular-season schedule on Wednesday, with 36 teams set to play 612 games over 33 weeks in what amounts to the biggest year in the league's history. A late sanctioning by CONCACAF allowed the Ottawa Fury to remain a member of the league.
Hartford Athletic announced the first signings in Club history on Tuesday as Wojciech Wojcik, Jose Angulo, and Alex Dixon prepare to join the Club in Hartford for its inaugural USL Championship season in 2019, pending league and Federation approval.
Louisville City Football Club is delighted to announce the closing of the financing for its soccer specific stadium in Butchertown, which will be completed for the 2020 season. Syndicated by Fifth Third Bank, this $50 million financing paves the way for the 11,300-seat anchor in the 35-acre Butchertown Development District.
USL League One
The Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club announced announce 22 Holdings, LLC as the new majority owner of the Richmond Kickers Pro Team. 22 Holdings, LLC, a group of former Davidson College soccer teammates led by Rob Ukrop, is finalizing the terms of the deal which is scheduled to close by the end of 2018. The Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club will continue to hold a minority share in the team.
The Dallas Wings have hired two-time WNBA Champion Brian Agler to serve as the team's head coach, the organization announced. Agler joins the Wings with more victories than any other coach in U.S. women's professional basketball history.
The WNBA will tip off its 23rd season on Friday, May 24, and feature expanded coverage from ESPN's networks with nationally televised games including ABC and ESPN in addition to an extensive schedule on ESPN2. The ESPN networks' slate of 16 regular-season telecasts - which will include three games on ABC, two on ESPN, and 11 on ESPN2 - is up from 13 a year ago, when each of those telecasts was on ESPN2. In addition, the WNBA All-Star Game will be broadcast on ABC on Saturday, July 27 from Las Vegas.
Prior to all the league teams heading to Las Vegas for the G-League's annual showcase, Indiana Pacers assignee Alize Johnson contributed a slick, behind-the-back pass for a Fort Wayne Mad Ants' assist.
The XFL posted three goals the league hopes to meet for its inaugural season in February 2020.
- Total game time: 2.5 hours
- 15% of game is action (up from 4%)
- Less than 30 stoppages (down from 47)
The CFL released its 2019 schedule. The CFL returns to Atlantic Canada on Sunday, August 25. The Toronto Argonauts will host the Montreal Alouettes in the first CFL game out east since 2013.
International quarterback Drew Tate has retired from the Canadian Football League. Tate played 10 CFL seasons, spending time with Calgary, Ottawa and Saskatchewan.
The 34-year-old finishes his career with 5,008 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and just 16 interceptions, adding 24 rushing touchdowns along the way. He won a Grey Cup in 2014 as a backup with the Calgary Stampeders.
Tate was named the quarterbacks coach for the British Columbia Lions.
The National Arena League unveiled a new team called the New York Streets. It will play its home games in the Westchester County Arena and announced plans to also play at Madison Square Garden. Corey Galloway is the owner and Rick Marsilio is the head coach and assistant general manager.
Former Arena Football League Commissioner David Baker receives a five-year contract extension as President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Changes have been made to the NLL Playoffs format to accommodate expansion within the league. New for this season, eight of the eleven teams will now earn a playoff berth. Last season six teams made the playoffs.
It was a game of firsts as the San Diego Seals played their first game and earned their first win in franchise history as they took down the Colorado Mammoth, 17-12, on Saturday night at Colorado. Defenseman Garrett McIntosh scored the first goal in franchise history just over halfway through the first quarter.
The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball(ALPB) today announced it has adopted the extra-inning tiebreaker rule currently in effect in all affiliated professional baseball leagues.
Extra innings will begin with a runner on second base. The runner at second base will be the player in the batting order position previous to the leadoff batter of the inning (or a substitute for that player). By way of example, if the number five hitter in the batting order is due to lead off the 10th inning, the number four player in the batting order (or a pinch-runner for such player) shall begin the inning on second base.
Joel Skinner will manage the Rochester Red Wings for a second season in 2019, Minnesota Twins Director of Minor League Operations Jeremy Zoll has announced. Pitching Coach Stu Cliburn, Bullpen Coach Mike McCarthy and Athletic Trainer Chris Johnson all return while Javier Valentin will serve as Hitting Coach and Jacob Dean takes over as Strength and Conditioning Coach.
• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...
Major League Soccer Stories from December 26, 2018
- LA Galaxy Issue Statement on the Passing of Sigi Schmid - LA Galaxy
- Sounders FC Reacts to Passing of Former Head Coach Sigi Schmid - Seattle Sounders FC
- Last Week around the Leagues - OSC Original by Fran Stuchbury
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.