North American Soccer League owners are expected to vote today to give the cities of Washington, Rochester and Houston additional time to revive their terminated soccer franchises.
Although Rochester was the only city whose representatives showed up at the league meeting in Chicago yesterday to make a presentation requesting readmission to the NASL, the remaining 21 team owners are expected to give all three cities at least one more week to find funding. The franchises were terminated yesterday after a week's extension that ended yesterday.
The second extension would keep alive the longshot hopes of Diplomat President Steve Danzansky to keep professional soccer alive in Washington.
Danzansky said yesterday he still has only about 60 percent of the financing necessary to purchase a franchise. If the extension is voted, Danzansky will try to convince Madison Square Garden Corp., former owners of the Dips, not to sell any of the team's players until he has a chance to complete the deal he has been working on for the past month. h
Danzansky did not to go to Chicago yesterday. The reason, he said, was because he was not close enough to fully finance a franchise to make a presentation.
"We just didn't have it put together," said Danzansky.
The decision to vote on an extension came after Danzansky phoned Phil Woosnam last night to tell him that yet another prospective buyer had "come out of the woodwork" late yesterday. Danzansky asked Woosnam to try to arrange another extension. The commissioner will apparently do that this morning.
Unless this last-ditch try is successful, the league whose failures have been the norm and successes the exception has lost one of its successful franchises -- fifth in attendance and right behind the Cosmos in image.
The demise began when the Garden decided to get out of the soccer business after $6 million in losses during two years of ownership here. What irks those who have tried to save soccer for the city during the last month is that Garden officials waited so long to make their decision public. That left Danzansky and others virtually no time to put together a group to save the team.