[TEAM OWNERS ASSOCIATION]The battle between United Soccer Leagues and an owners group seeking sanctioning of a new Division II men's outdoor professional league heated up Friday when the Team Owners Association announced that the Tampa Bay Rowdies, a 2010 USL-1 expansion team, and USL-2 team Crystal Palace Baltimore have joined the new league.
The addition of Tampa Bay and Baltimore brings the new league to nine teams, joining the Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina Railhawks, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, St. Louis Soccer United and Vancouver Whitecaps.
A name for the new league will be announced next week.
"Tampa and Baltimore joining our efforts is a testament to our game plan, our current ownership strength and our promise for the future" said Joey Saputo, Chairman of the Board of Governors and President of the Montreal Impact."
USL said it willvigorously defend its legal interests against the TOA for what it called "tortuous interference in contractual relationships with its team owners."
"Both the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Crystal Palace Baltimore have contractual commitments to USL to play in the 2010 USL First Division season," USL said in a statement. "USL will pursue all actions to protect its interests and those of the USL-1 teams from any breach of contract caused by Tampa and Baltimore."