When you hear talk of Major League Soccer the first word that comes to mind is probably either “failure” or “huh?” The American league, known for hemorrhaging money, is mostly considered a punchline. In the last few years, however, soccer has -- quietly -- gained a foothold in a few U.S. cities, and Phoenix could be next. Last March, commissioner Don Garber hinted at plans for an MLS expansion and suggested Phoenix as a possible destination.
This year’s Red Bull Reto del Sol may be a test case. The annual friendly will pit the powerhouse New York Red Bulls against Pumas UNAM, the reigning champions of the Mexican Primera División. The Red Bulls already proved themselves on the international level when they won last July’s Emirates Cup. Thursday’s game may prove especially challenging, however, because New York sent star striker Thierry Henry out on a two month loan.