NFL owner eyes MLS franchise
Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said Friday they are part of a group trying to buy the Columbus Crew to keep the Major League Soccer team in the city.
The group, which includes Columbus-area investors, said in a statement it is moving forward to acquire the team, which appeared headed to Austin, Texas, after this season. A new stadium in downtown Columbus is part of the plan, although no details were provided.
The agreement also provides that Austin, where the city council had approved plans for a new, privately owned 20,000seat stadium, will get an expansion team no later than 2021.
“MLS is committed to keeping Crew SC in Columbus should we continue to make progress on these critical components and agree to key terms with the investor group,” the league said in a statement.
Anthony Precourt, a San Francisco-based investor who owns the Crew, has courted Austin for a potential move, contending that the team was no longer financially viable in Columbus without bigger crowds and a new stadium.
In Columbus, the announcement touched off wild celebrations among Crew fans, who had been working to save the team since Precourt made his plans public last year.
Carlos Vela scored two goals and had two assists, helping Los Angeles FC beat the visiting Houston Dynamo 4-2 to clinch a top-two seed in the Western Conference. Los Angeles (168-8), which became the fifth expansion club to clinch a playoff spot last week, is tied with the 1998 Chicago Fire for the most points by an expansion team with 56.
Vela tied it at 1 on a penalty kick in the 44th minute. He was tripped up by goalkeeper Tyler Deric, who got a hand on the penalty kick but couldn’t stop it. Vela scored his 13th goal of the season in the 78th for a 4-1 lead. Europe: Deprived of a seat inside the stadium through no fault of their own, a small band of loyal England supporters watched the game from a hilltop overlooking the virtually empty ground.
There wasn’t much to see. England and Croatia played to a 0-0 draw in the UEFA Nations League, a lackluster match that took place in front of no fans as the Croats completed a stadium ban imposed in 2015 when a swastika was painted on their field ahead of a game.
While this was Croatia’s fifth behind-closed-doors international, it was a first for England.
This was a repeat of the World Cup semifinal won by Croatia in July.
Romelu Lukaku scored twice in Belgium’s 2-1 win over Switzerland in Group 2 of League A.
French authorities are investigating claims of matchfixing surrounding a Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Red Star Belgrade. L’Equipe newspaper reported that a Red Star official is suspected of betting $5.8 million on Red Star losing by five goals. PSG won 6-1. Salah hurt: Mohamed Salah scored a record-breaking goal direct from a corner in African Cup of Nations qualifying then left late in Egypt’s 4-1 win over Swaziland in African qualifying with a leg injury. The best news for Liverpool fans is that Salah’s injury doesn’t look serious according to Egypt assistant coach Hany Ramzy. “I think it is only a muscle strain but he will undergo medical scans to determine the length of the injury” Ramzy told Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram. Brazil wins: Gabriel Jesus and Alex Sandro scored as Brazil defeated host Saudi Arabia 2-0 in a friendly.
Belgium's Romelu Lukaku (right) scores past Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer in an UEFA Nations League match.