By: BoriQa | December 5th, 2008

The USL-1 farewells to the Seattle Sounders, who moved to the lesser (but better marketable) MLS; and the Atlanta Silverbacks, who are taking a time out in 2009.

At the same time the USL welcomes two new teams to the 1st division in 2009, the expansion team Austin Aztex; and the USL-2 Champions Cleveland City Stars, who got promoted to the 1st division.

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The two 1st division Canadian teams, the Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps, are both reconsidering their bids to join the MLS, and are questioning the ridiculous MLS $40,000,000 USD franchise fee. They both should be back in 2009. Just 3 years ago the Toronto FC paid a $10,000,000 USD franchise fee to join the MLS, still ridiculous.

The overated MLS might be considered by some to be the United States’ “1st Division”, but recent history in the CONCACAF Champions League proves otherwise.

The USL must do a better marketing job, nobody argues that. They need a face lift–not on the field–as the league has done an outstanding job of growing quality on the field. But, they need to retool from a marketing standpoint.

With the addition of the Aztex and the City Stars, and the deletion of the Sounders and the Silverbacks, the TRUE 1st division! maintains a total of 11 teams for 2009, including the returning teams: Puerto Rico Islanders, Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact, Rochester Rhinos, Charleston Battery, Minnesota Thunder, Carolina Railhawks, Miami FC Blues and the Portland Timbers. Another team, the Tampa Bay Rowdies are scheduled to join the 1st division in 2010.

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