San Jose earthquakes fans got a slap in the face from the MLS this week when it was officially announced, though not unanticipated, that the team was being shipped to Houston. The league is keeping the Earthquakes name in San Jose reportedly, despite the small issue of missing a team and a stadium. San Jose fans are audibly gobsmacked at how it all came down, and the league comes away yet again with very little good PR out of the move.
Houston will likely embrace the new team wholeheartedly, and the move is in line with MLS strategy to market to Hispanic soccer fans in the US as its new base of fans. While this is a perfectly legitimate strategy, the Earthquakes move is really the first of it that concretely disadvantages existing fans, which arguably choosing Salt Lake City and Los Angeles as the previous two expansion cities. Like ice hockey, the sport seems to be moving south and west with the US population.
San Jose has, belatedly in the eyes of many fans, stepped up to get a replacement team and finally find ways to fund the dedicated stadium that was lacking.
Du Nord has tracked the whole saga in detail, and has great links for those wishing to delve further into the muck.