MLS Expansion: Why Raleigh Deserves Consideration as MLS Moves Southeast

The North Carolina Triangle has long been considered a viable candidate for a Major League Soccer franchise.  Yet as Orlando City, New York City FC and David Beckham's Miami franchise kick off the next generation of the United States premier soccer league, Raleigh's prospects seem to be dimmed by the growing soccer fever encompassing all of the nation's biggest cities. However, the Triangle's athletic scene, long dominated by collegiate football and basketball, is diversifying almost as quickly as the metropolitan population is booming. The NHL's Carolina Hurricanes draw relatively well in one of hockey's smallest markets; the International League's Durham Bulls are re-establishing their identity as the model franchise of minor league baseball; the North American Soccer League's (NASL) Carolina RailHawks are coming off an undefeated 2013 home schedule and repeatedly proving their ability to contend with upper-level competition. If critics find it easy to describe the riskiness of MLS expansion into the Raleigh area, it may be even easier to explain why such riskiness could very well lead to a success of Portland Timbers-esque caliber. As the league approaches an inevitable explosion of expansion, the Raleigh area's dedication and passion for soccer should not be overshadowed.   The Current State of MLS Expansion Atlanta has jumped suddenly to ...
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MLS Expansion: 4-Hour Thunderstorm Delay Raises Questions About Southeast US

In NASL action last night, the Carolina Railhawks defeated the Minnesota Stars 1-0 to pull within eight points of the league lead.That wouldn't be notable news in the national soccer scene, except for one rather interesting twist—the game finished at 12:58 a.m. FINAL: #RailHawks win 1-0 in a game that literally started yesterday.— SWakeSports (@SWakeSports) July 22, 2012 Why so late?Thunderstorms.Four hours of them.Lightning was first spotted just moments into the second half—with precisely 47:24 on the clock—and the game officially entered a rain delay at 8:17 p.m. local time.The 3,158 announced fans were cleared from the stands, the stadium loudspeakers began an endless run of weather-related songs and the storms began.And continued. And continued.At 11:51 p.m. local time, the two teams at last returned to the field for another round of warmups.At 12:23 a.m. local time, the game finally resumed play after a league-record four hours and six minutes of rain delay.And 43 minutes of regulation and three minutes of stoppage time later, the Railhawks walked off the WakeMed Soccer Park Field for the final time, having battled through a six-hour-long match to earn a 1-0 victory... ...On a goal in the 10th minute.Railhawks' coach Colin Clarke was, understandably, a bit irritated: Colin Clarke in postgame ...
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