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After Championship, USL Will Negotiate Future Course

"Fans want to see the best and it's the two best teams that this league has to offer," USL president Tim Holt said of the all-Canadian championship series between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Montreal Impact. "We look at ourselves as a North American league. More people from the outside look at it as two Canadian teams in the final -- we look at it as marquee teams." In the intense first leg of the championship series, former Whitecap Eddie Sebrango scored the gamewinner in the last minute of regulation for a 3-2 Impact win.

Deflecting concern that the USL's Team Owners Association has threatened to start its own league next season, Holt highlighted the history of the two finalists. "I think it's exciting to have two such accomplished teams, with such history in the final," said Holt, during halftime of the first-leg of the two-game aggregate-goal championship series. "The Whitecaps go all the way back to the NASL days, and Montreal back to the early '90s with the APSL, and it's the first time they've met in a final. So beyond being Canadian teams, they're two of the marquee teams in our league for the better part of two decades."

The Whitecaps and Impact also happen to be two of the most powerful members of the Team Owners Association, a group made up of eight USL teams that has bristled at the recent sale of the USL by former owner Nike to an outside party. These teams want more say in how the league is run. Little time, however, exists for discussion between the Team Owners Association and the new league owners as the USL-1 typically has its season schedule in place by the Nov. 20 league meetings. Discussions will at least have to wait until after the championship series. "We're not here to talk about anything but the championship," Holt said. "There will be plenty of time for everyone to analyze that stuff after the weekend. Right now, we have too much respect for the two teams, all the players, coaches and the fans than to talk about anything other than competition."


Read the whole story at Vancouver Sun »

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