That's Jeff Hunt of Ottawa's CFL bid. Putting aside his absurd assertion that USL-1 is the same calibre as MLS (yes USL-1 fans, it's absurd. The soccer is fine, but it isn't on par with a league that spends roughly four times as much money on salaries), it is the first time that someone from that side of the stadium debate in Ottawa has actually articulated the USL-1 idea. It's been hinted at before, but no one has ever come out and said it.
It sounds like the USL is on a par with the calibre of the MLS and if things don't work out in Kanata, it might be worth looking into. It certainly represents a way to test the waters of professional soccer in Ottawa at much less risk.
Clearly MLS is the best option for Canadian soccer. And it would work in Ottawa. It would work in any Canadian city. The country is ready to embrace the sport at the club level. But, if MLS isn't an option another USL-1 team is (literally) the next best thing.
Soccer fans in the capital need to keep the pressure on Hunt et al. to live up to this promise if they win the day on April 22.
The win-loss stat provided in the linked article is misleading because it fails to take into consideration the squad rotation that most MLS teams use when playing USL-1 teams. Essentially, they play the scrubs against a team that is geared up to prove something. When it's best on best, USL wins teams over MLS teams are rare. If you look at the U.S. Open Cup competition (the only competition where the two leagues have met over a long enough period to gauge anything) you'll find that in the semi-finals or later (when MLS starts to take it seriously) of that tournament the USL has not won a game against MLS competition since 1999.
Famously Montreal won the Canadian championship last year against a weak TFC team. However, it is worth pointing out that they did so without actually defeating Toronto and it was Vancouver's win over TFC on Canada Day (combined with Montreal's mastery of Vancouver in the tournament) that handed the championship to the Impact. And the 'Caps win over Toronto was a case of a goaltender standing on his head during a second half onslaught by Toronto. The point being that, yes, upsets happen, but that it's unlikely that it will be a trend. MLS pays roughly four times more salary than USL-1 does. Clearly it's a better league. There is no debate here -- other than by USL-1 partisans in Canada that are as much influenced by wanting to knock big, bad Toronto down a notch than by the cold logic of the situation.
This isn't to say that USL wouldn't be a good fit in Ottawa. In many ways it does make more sense. MLS would have a better chance of capturing the imagination of the city than a league that is clearly minor league.
Getting their balls in a row; The stadium battle could be shaping up to include a faceoff between competing soccer leagues (Chris Stevenson, Sun Media)
Lansdowne doesn’t need a stadium, mayor says; O'Brien suggests updating Civic Centre, dealing with football/soccer issue separately (Mohamed Adam, Ottawa Citizen)
New plan combines soccer, football (Randall Denley, Ottawa Citizen)
(Cross-posted to The 24th Minute).