MLS eyeing Vancouver

SUN WIRE SERVICES

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

NEW YORK -- Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber says Vancouver is a potential market for expansion but wants more information on renovations to B.C. Place Stadium. And he reiterated the league's longstanding desire for teams to have soccer-specific stadiums.

Garber issued his statement in the wake of news Friday that B.C. Place is getting a facelift that includes a retractable roof.

Once the renovations are completed, the Vancouver Whitecaps -- who want to join Toronto FC as a second Canadian entry in MLS -- will begin playing games in the stadium pending plans for a 20,000-seat venue on the Vancouver waterfront.

"We believe Vancouver is a potential market for a future Major League Soccer expansion team," Garber said. "There is no doubt the market for professional soccer exists in Vancouver, as we saw last November when nearly 50,000 fans attended the exhibition match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Whitecaps.

"We look forward to learning more about the proposed renovations so that we may determine whether B.C. Place can serve as an interim venue for an MLS team pending the construction of a soccer-specific stadium. We look forward to continuing our discussions with the Whitecaps regarding the opportunity to award a Major League Soccer expansion team to Vancouver in the future."

MLS will have 16 teams by 2010 with the addition of Seattle next year and Philadelphia the following season.

SPAIN OMITS GONZALEZ

MADRID, Spain -- Spain coach Luis Aragones omitted Raul Gonzalez from his squad for the European Championship, ignoring pressure to recall the national team's career leading scorer.

Raul, who has scored 44 goals in 102 international matches, hasn't played for Spain since a 3-2 qualifying loss at Northern Ireland in September 2006.

However, many believed the Real Madrid captain deserved a recall after scoring 18 goals this season to help his team to a record 31st Spanish league title, his sixth in 14 seasons at the club.


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