MLS Offseason Notebook: Orlando picks up Bendik, more

IMAGE, MLSSoccer.com

by RYAN BRISTER

The movement of players across Major League Soccer slowed to a trickle over the weekend, but some significant deals were made off the field.

Orlando acquires goalkeeper Joe Bendik: Joe Bendik has gone from Toronto to Orlando in a trade that sent a fourth-round SuperDraft pick in the other direction. Bendik had spent the past three seasons in goal for TFC, with diminishing playing time in each. He split the 2015 season with Chris Konopka, and produced just one clean sheet in 13 games. Orlando parted ways with Tally Hall after the season, leaving them in need of a new starting keeper.

DC United moves to broadcast: After spending 20 seasons on Comcast Sports Net, DC United has signed a new television contract with the local ABC affiliate. The move will make United easier to watch in the DC market, but CSN’s range extended throughout Maryland, Virginia, and parts of Pennsylvania. It’s unclear whether DC will be shown in nearby markets such as Richmond, VA.

Galaxy, Earthquakes to play preseason game in Las Vegas: The upcoming preseason schedule is taking shape, and of note is a game in Las Vegas between the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes. Las Vegas has hosted MLS preseason matches in the past, and made a bid to join the league in the most recent round of expansion. It is one of the largest markets in the U.S. without pro soccer, but that may change in the near future.

San Antonio emerges on the expansion front: While rumors have the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions leaving for Las Vegas, the city will have soccer in their absence. Toyota Field has been leased to the San Antonio Spurs, who will be fielding a team in the USL for 2016. The Spurs provide the sort of funding previously seen as an obstacle for San Antonio’s MLS ambitions, and have made clear that MLS is their long-term goal. As part of their lease on the stadium, the Spurs would owe the city and county money should they fail to acquire an MLS expansion franchise within a decade.