The Major Soccer League postponed its play-or-fold decision for another 10 days last night, but it did so with new optimism.
"In a nutshell, St. Louis is in and there will be an MSL," said Cleveland Crunch owner George Hoffman. "St. Louis has assured us it can come up with the money. We are putting it on hold for 10 days while they straighten out their letter of credit."
Hoffman also said an ownership group from Montreal has approached the league about playing this fall.
MSL commissioner Earl Foreman would say only that the league is still pursuing a new ownership group in St. Louis and the Mexican All-Star plan proposed by San Diego owner Oscar Anciera Jr., who is to have a written proposal to present at the owners' next meeting.
Foreman added there were new developments in St. Louis yesterday afternoon but would not discuss them.
"I appreciate George's optimism," Foreman said. "But he's not as accurate as I would hope."
Foreman said there have been discussions with a group in Montreal "about the possibility of some number of games for this season." But Foreman said it is not a top priority, though talks will continue.
"As far as St. Louis goes, I'll only repeat that there was a substantial, positive change there [yesterday] and I'm optimistic that it may be the catalyst to pull that franchise together."
The owners have been asked to submit their playing dates for the coming season, so a schedule can be worked out "that will conclude our season and playoffs before they conflict with any other league," Foreman said.
The league is looking at a 40-game card, with 22 home games and 18 away.
Blast owner Ed Hale, who joined yesterday's conference call, is out of the country and was not available for comment. However, Hale has said several times, "Give me six teams and the Blast will play."
If Hoffman's optimism is justified, the MSL, struggling for survival with five teams, could wind up playing with as many as eight.