Blast defender Bruce Savage has talked about retirement, but yesterday his attention was on playing for the U.S. National Team.
"We're asking for him and we hope he comes," said U.S. National Team interim coach John Kowalski, who continues to run things while new coach Bora Milutinovic becomes familiar with the team.
Savage, 30, is under contract to the Blast through May 30, but a clause in his contract allows him to leave to play for an outdoor team, as long as the Blast is not involved in the Major Soccer League playoffs.
"The timing of the whole thing is right for me," Savage said yesterday, after the Blast held its final team meeting. "We're not in the playoffs, we have a lot of time off and I really feel like I want to play. I'm not retired yet."
Savage said he anticipates talking about a new contract with the Blast, though he isn't certain.
"If the expansion happens, a team will only be able to protect about eight players," Savage said, referring to the possible addition of a team in Pittsburgh. "I don't know if I'd be one of them. But let's put it this way: If I was going to play another year in the MSL, Baltimore is where I'd want to be."
For now, he's eager to report to the national team's training camp in Colorado Springs, where practice begins April 21 for a May 5 game against Uruguay in Denver.
* EYES ON TEXAS: The Dallas Sidekicks franchise, which folded Monday, could be back in the MSL within the next three weeks.
"If it's going to happen, it will happen in that time," said MSL commissioner Earl Foreman. "I met with one group of prospective owners and I have another meeting scheduled with another group. I'm working with people who want to keep this franchise going. Dallas has a long-standing soccer tradition, it's a major market and I think it is a viable city for this league. I told our directors I'm guardedly optimistic."
On the subject of league expansion, MSL owners informally agreed that as soon as an official letter of credit arrived from a Pittsburgh bank, the franchise application by businessman Bernie Mullin would be accepted.
Foreman also updated owners on the Buffalo expansion situation, but added that although he believes it is moving forward, there is no news.
The addition of Pittsburgh would expand league membership to nine, if a team returns to Dallas.
* A MILLION PLUS: More than a million fans attended MSL games this season for the 12th consecutive year, with the league averaging 6,566 per game.
St. Louis, which started the season slowly, led in attendance with 7,722 per outing and hit an MSL-best 15,234 for last Friday's home finale. The Blast, which finished second in average attendance (7,431), also had its season-high crowd last Friday -- 11,445.
Rounding out the attendance figures: San Diego (7,231), Kansas City (7,103), Dallas (6,918), Wichita (6,309), Tacoma (5,482) and Cleveland (4,640).